Christians and Halloween

Justin Johnson

The closest thing to trick-or-treating in the Bible is found in 1 Sam 28:8-14. King Saul disguises himself and goes to a strange woman’s house at night to beg a witch for a treat. The woman expects he is there to trick her. Saul gets the free treat. What Saul did was wrong, what the woman did was wrong. I’d be wrong to say this verse is about Halloween.

Everyone knows Halloween is not in the Bible, but not everyone knows that Halloween is a Christian holiday, like Christmas, Valentines, and Easter.

Judaism doesn’t observe it. Islam teaches to avoid those who do. It is a nuisance for Hindus who observe Diwali at the same time. The only countries that observe the day are declared Christian.

Pagans proudly proclaim it as their own, and rightly so, since everyone knows Halloween began a long time ago in lands far far away by Celtic Pagan religions, but there are very few practicing Pagans still in existence trying to maintain the original Celtic rituals.

Still, some of their traditions have survived. Do these sound familiar? The Pagans would bob for apples and make bonfires as a means of divination, give treats to the “souls of the dead” who came to their doors that night, and would light carved pumpkins to keep away the evil spirits who were stuck between worlds.

Christianizing Halloween

If there is so much obvious pagan tradition in Halloween, why do I say it is Christian? Because it is. Christians named it, Christians preserved it, and Christians perpetuate it today.

[I use the term ‘Christian’ in the historical, cultural sense of the word, and not the Biblical, Christ-redeemed sense of the word. There is no Halloween in the future kingdom of Christ, and no room to fellowship with devils in this dispensation of grace (1 Cor 10:20).]

Who does not know that the historical church sought to redeem the pagan religions by Christianizing their harvest, winter, and spring holy days?

Halloween, all Hallow’s Eve, or Hallowmas, is the name given to the evening of a Roman Catholic holy day of obligation where Catholics are taught to pray to and for the dead. The ancestral Catholics assumed the original pagan day, Christianized it, and gave it the name we all know.

Throughout history legends and traditions were added by the Christian keepers of the day. I am not the first one to see the Roman Catholic connection to Dracula, originally a Catholic crusader, who receives eternal life by drinking blood.

The Protestants who separated from Roman Catholicism and its days, declare October 31st Reformation Day and insist that Halloween is still useful for making a public mockery of the devil. (This must be why the the pagan world liked it, too.)

The majority of our country claims to be Christian, and yet Halloween is the largest consumer driven holiday second only to Christmas. Why is this? From whence comes the religious fervor and love for this day? The answer is obvious.

Christians do not dare say it is Biblical (a tactic that has failed for Christmas), and many speak against teaching children to beg strangers for candy and the devilish parts of the day, but in the end the majority silently acquiesces to the culture in the name of redeeming it, even though the majority of the culture claims to be Christian.

Halloween persists because Christians let it, through tradition, participation, and religious observance.

What Should We Do?

Every year during the holidays the conversation renews, “how should a Christian respond to the cultural holidays?”

There are only two ways for Christians to respond to the course of the world:

  1. Evangelize it – which means standing against it while convincing others verbally and visually of the better way to live by God, in Christ, and from the Bible. This is the only way God accepts.
  2. Compromise with it – this means the Christian becomes indistinguishable from the world except in some small particulars which no one notices much. The Christian hopes that by compromise the world will think Christianity is fun, friendly, and acceptable to them.

For too long Christians have opted to compromise with wrong doctrine and pagan days.

We live in a nation of self-proclaimed Christians, and yet our culture is anything but. We need to be separate and evangelize men to save them from sin, the world, and the devil.

Instead of redeeming the cultural day, it is time for Christians to redeem the time wasted on October 31st sacrificed to Halloween.

A Disclaimer

There are a hundred things more important than Halloween. To me Halloween is of no consequence except the continuation of another worldly error and distraction from Bible believing Pauline Christianity, but for millions it is a cherished cultural tradition.

It is certain that those who had nothing to say about the far more important doctrinal issues of salvation, right division, and the Bible written about on this blog will feel the need to respond now, because they see this particular article as bigoted, hateful, and mean spirited instead of in the spirit of Eph 4:15; 1 Tim 4:12; 1 Cor 10:20; and Gal 4:8-9.

For those with ears to hear, my hope is that this might open your eyes that Halloween is not perpetuated by the minority of pagans and Satanists; the religious Muslims and Jews; or the faceless people of “the world”.

Halloween is a holiday not ordained by Christ, and is perpetuated by a compromising and duplicitous culture that denies the Devil’s existence, but calls itself Christian.

The majority of problems with Halloween for the church can be solved if Christians would stop participating and start preaching.

If this all sounds hard and you still think a handful of sugar helps the medicine go down, at least buy your own bag of treats instead of begging from others and tricking them into believing you are redeeming the culture.

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Published: October 31, 2015
Last Modified: August 31, 2018
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