As we near the end of October it is time for that annual question that is always of great concern to Christian parents, “What about Halloween?” What can we do, and what ought not to be done?
Samhain was an ancient Celtic New Year’s Festival. This season involved both human and animal sacrifices offered to the Lord of the Dead (Saman). This ritual also involved worship to the Sun god. Originally it was celebrated on November 1st. Around the 8th century it came to be called the eve of All Hallows Day, or “All Saints Day.” Now, it is observed on October 31st.
The association with witches, ghosts, and death can be traced back to the ancient pagan holiday. After a large feast was offered to the dead, the villagers would don masks and costumes imitating the departed dead. They would form a procession at the edge of town. Then, they would supposedly lead the “ghosts” away. The Celtics would pour oil or wine on the ground as their sacrifice. This would insure them many rewards for those gifts in the year to come. However, if they neglected to make such an offering, the wrath of those gods would haunt them in the coming year! It is from this that we get our expression, “trick-or-treat.”
Now, the question arises, “Is it wrong to observe Halloween because it is rooted in mythology/paganism?” Will you also stop calling “Thursday” by its name since it is rooted in worship to a false god? Originally, it was called “Thor’s Day.” Every day of our week derived its name from mythology, along with the names of our months of the year. Most folks know that Easter and Christmas customs were derived from pagan festivals, as well. New Testament Christians do not observe such holidays as “religious holy days.” Is it wrong to eat candy from a basket, hunt eggs, enjoy a hayride, make and eat pumpkin pie (oh, I hope not), and give and exchange gifts? We must observe the conscience of others (1 Cor. 8). In the city of Ephesus many practiced exorcism and witchcraft, yet Luke records, “And not a few of them that practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed” (Acts 19:19-20).
If you allow your son to dress up as an astronaut, or allow your daughter to dress up as a clown or princess and accept candy from family and trusted friends, let us be careful to do nothing at this time of the year, nor any other, that would tend to glorify Satan and his realm (1 Cor. 10:20-ff). Always remember the “golden rule” when it comes to tricks that are played, especially if you should come to our house!