What Does The Bible Say About Christians & Halloween?
The bible speaks clearly on the subject of Christians celebrating Halloween. That is to say, the bible says nothing either against or in favor on the celebration of “Halloween” because the word “Halloween” is not mentioned in the Bible. However, this does not mean that the Bible is silent on the concept or topic that surrounds the celebration of pagan festivals or holidays. Just because the Bible does not mention the word “Halloween” by name, does not mean that we can not discern from the Word of God on how we should handle this holiday in regards to its celebration. Remember, the Bible never says the word “Trinity” by name but we believe the concept of the Trinity by Scripture. So do not create a genetic fallacy with the holiday of Halloween and reject it because it is not mentioned by name.
To understand what the Bible says about Christians celebrating Halloween, we must first understand the origins of Halloween. We must than compare those origins to the Word of God and see how they square against the Word of God. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to ancient Ireland and Scotland to around the time of Christ. The Celts, the founders of Halloween, celebrated the end of summer on October 31st. In the Celts culture, this was notable because it was when animal herders would move their animals into barns and pens and prepare to ride out the winter. For the Celt farmers, this was also the time of the crop harvests. This annual change of the season and lifestyle was marked by a festival called Samhain which is pronounced 'sow-ane' and means the end of summer. The Celts also believed that they needed to satisfy the Ghosts and Spirits of nature by dressing in masks and costumes during the festival. By doing so, this ensured that they would have a blessing over the herd or crop next year.
As time progressed, around the 5th century, as the Catholic Church developed and moved into the area, instead of adding an additional day to celebrate, it took over the Samhain celebration. November 1st became known as "All Hallows Eve" where all the saints of the Catholic Church were honored. It should be noted the reason the Catholic Church took over Samhain and renamed it was to challenge the pagan notion of ghosts and evil spirits.
A later custom developed by the Catholic Church was where people would go door-to-door on November 2, requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. This arose out of the pagan religious belief that the dead are still in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell and that the prayers of the living could influence the outcome. On a side note, this is where the unbiblical teaching of purgatory originates in the Catholic Church. This may have been the precursor to what is known today as, “Trick-or-Treat.”
The actual word “Halloween” is derived from the term "All Hallows Eve" which occurred on October 31 which is the end of summer in Northwestern Europe. The words "All Saints Day” or "All Hallows Day" was the next Day, November. 1st which makes Halloween the eve of All Saints Day.
One of the more favorite and modern traditions of Halloween is the Jack-O-Lantern. The ideal about the Jack-O-Lantern apparently comes from an old Irish folklore about a man named Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, preventing the devil from coming down. The devil then made a deal with Jack not to allow Jack into hell after Jack died if only Jack would remove the cross from the tree. After Jack died, he could not go to hell, and he could not go to heaven. He was forced to wander around the earth with a single candle to light his way, to keep the candle burning longer it was placed in a turnip. As the Irish populated America starting back in the 1800's, they adopted the pumpkin instead of the turnip to fit the agriculture differences of America.
When the history and the origins of Halloween are understood we are then able to compare them to what the Bible says about the origins of such festivals and celebrations. The Bible states the following about what is at the principal root of Halloween, paganism, adornment of evil and witchcraft;
- Exodus 22:18- "You shall not let a witch live."
- Deut. 18:10-12- "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or Spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LOR2
- 2 Kings 21:6-"And he made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger."
- Matthew 6:13 - "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:22- “reject everything that is evil.”
- Proverbs 16: 17 – “Good people stay away from evil. By watching what they do, they protect their lives.”
- Ephesians 5:7-12 -“Don't participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”
- Romans 12:9 -“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”
- Romans 13:12- “Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the Armour of Light.”
- 1 Corinthians 10:21- “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and of the table of demons.”
- Ephesians 5:11 - “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.”
- 1 Timothy 4:1 –2 -“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the Faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies and hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”
As it can be seen by the bible verses above it is clear that the Word of God is decidedly against participation in practices like witchcraft, the adoring of evil rituals, and paganism. When Halloween is, compared with the Word of God against its origins it can be seen that there is no room for participation in such a holiday.
We must remember as Christians where and what are battle is with. As stated in Ephesians 6: 12 ~ “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
In conclusion, whether a Christian celebrates Halloween or decides not to remember this. This is not a salvific issue, we must offer grace to those on both sides of the fence. We must allow God to work in the hearts of those who decide to celebrate and in the hearts of those who do not to be able show compassion and love towards their brothers in sisters helping them understand the truth in the Word of God.