Some are convinced that Christians should not only avoid celebrating Halloween, but Christmas and Easter as well -- that these holidays were not established in the New Testament, that they are pagan in origin, and that they are really the celebration of demons and the devil. The reason most Christians celebrate any one of these holidays, then, is out of ignorance. To recommend to the average Christian the cessation of Easter, however, would be blasphemous, since it is the holiest of Christian holidays. (Although Christians ought to celebrate the resurrection of Christ every day of the year.) Christmas is more convincing since the commercialization of this holiday has degraded it anyway, however, the majority of Christians will not abandon the birthday of Jesus. Halloween could probably be forgotten by most if it were not for children. Some argue that if you open your door to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, you are inviting into your home the demons and evil spirits associated with the event. If this is so, then these unclean entities could enter any other time of the year anytime the door is opened to anyone else. The ultimate protection against demons and evil spirits is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, along with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Against this and the all-powerful name of Jesus, there is no opportunity for the indwelling of unclean spirits in your home. This is not an excuse for abandoning your senses for the sake of the spirit of the seasons, but the foundation of your senses for knowing good and evil and guiding your conscience to thank God for the former and to avoid the latter. Consider these other Bible passages in light of our modern holiday celebrations...
Exodus 23:13, "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips."
Leviticus 19:26, "Do not practice divination or sorcery."
Deuteronomy 7:25-26, "The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God. Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction."
Deuteronomy 12:2-7, "Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you."
Deuteronomy 18:9-13, "When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 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, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God."
Deuteronomy 12:29-31, "The LORD your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land, and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, "How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same." You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods."
2 Kings 17:29-41, "Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places. The men from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the men from Cuthah made Nergal, and the men from Hamath made Ashima; the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. They worshiped the LORD , but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. 33 They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the LORD nor adhere to the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands that the LORD gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: "Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did."
1 Chronicles 16:25-26, "For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens."
Psalm 96:4-5, "For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens."
Psalm 97:7-9, "All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols -- worship him, all you gods! Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, O LORD. For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods."
Jeremiah 10:2-5, "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good."
Ezekiel 13:17-23, "Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own? You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live.' Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds. I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.' "
Hosea 3:1, "The LORD said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.' "
1 Corinthians 10:18-33, "Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he? "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake -- the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God -- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." [Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 32:38, Ezekiel 37:27] "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." [Isaiah 52:11, Ezekiel 20:34, 41] "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." [2 Samuel 7:14] Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."
Galations 4:8-11, "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God -- or rather are known by God -- how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you."
Ephesians 5:8-21, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." [Isaiah 60:1] Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
Ephesians 6:10-18, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
Colossians 3:13-17, "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."
Colossians 2:20-23, "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."
1 Peter 4:1-5, "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do -- living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead."
Revelation 22:14-15, "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
Some of the scriptures are fairly straight forward (1 Peter4:1-5 would obviously target Mardi Gras, for example), others apply more towards non-Christian practices, such as sacrificing children (Deuteronomy 12:29-31), while most would require judgment and discernment regarding the observance of popular holidays. Many of the Old Testament scriptures about paganism dealt with outright idol worship, while the holidays of today of which many Christians celebrate have all but lost their pagan meaning. Does this still make it acceptable or permissable? Some argue that the pagan and demonic affiliations are still present, just more hidden and subtle. Others claim that if the honor is given to God, then it doesn't matter. Referring back to 1 Corinthians chapter eight and Romans chapter fourteen, it then becomes a matter of conscience. Let the celebrating believer understand what it is that they celebrate and why, rather than do so simply out of tradition, popularity, and ignorance (or avoid it altogether out of fear). Christmas and Easter blur the significance of their Christian and pagan influences to a point where it is difficult to separate the two. Halloween, on the other hand, is more conspicuously pagan and demonic. This has raised objection to any Christian taking part in any aspect of the holiday. What should believers do on Halloween since it is so widely celebrated and taken from door to door? Here are some rational and practical suggestions:
- Pray for what to do and how to do it. Pray for evangelism. Pray for those who celebrate the demonic aspects of this season, that they may come to know and fear God.
- Attend a harvest festival devoid of outright Halloween festivities and costumes. Many churches host such fall or harvest festivals and provide "alternative" activities for children.
- Hand out Christian tracts or small printings of New Testament gospels to trick-or-treaters (preferrably with some candy, unless you want your yard littered with your own tracts).
- If children participate in trick-or-treating, their parents could also hand out Christian literature or publications to those who open the door to them. Costumes should probably not be demonic in appearance, rather biblical charicatures instead. (Most Christian parents who object to taking their children trick-or-treating more than likely do so out of concern for the begging aspects rather than for any pagan affiliation.)
- Turn out all the lights and hide in the basement on October 31. The least you could do is pray for your neighbors every time the doorbell rings.
"Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people -- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat."
(1 Corinthians 5:8-11)
Reference sources for this page come from a wide variety of websites from all over the Internet, especially those about Christmas. One particulary helpful site regarding Christmas is How Stuff Works (http://www.howstuffworks.com/christmas.htm). Information about Halloween was gleaned from such websites as ReligiousTolerance.Org (http://www.religioustolerance.org/hallo_ev.htm) and The Witches' Voice (http://www.witchvox.com/holidays/xsamhain.html). Articles from Christianity Today were referenced for various Catholic holidays (http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/features/holidays.html).