Thoughts on Halloween

I must admit over the years, my Halloween-pendulum has covered a wide swath. I’ve never liked the holiday, but for the sake of the kids, I’ve let them celebrate.

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In the early days, I enjoyed making costumes for my toddlers and taking them to friends and family to gather candy and treats. Then somewhere along the way, there was a move away from celebrating anything “scary” and churches sponsored fall festivals where kids were encouraged to dress up as a favorite book or movie character.

Our family even went through a season where we didn’t do any of those things, but chose Halloween as a time to celebrate the harvest and do something for others. Each of our four children chose something to make, and we put together harvest baskets to deliver to some of the special senior adults in our life.

As I drove through my neighborhood this morning on my way to work, I was overwhelmed. Graveyards with skeletons emerging from the ground, inflatables of giant spiders and a dragon as tall as the house with fire in his belly dotted my neighborhood.

As parents, we sometimes find ourselves between a rock and hard place. Where is the line between living in the world, but not being of the world? When it comes to things like secular, and what some might even consider pagan celebrations, how are we as Christ-followers to respond?

Here is what I found on the origins of Halloween: 

Originally called Samhain, Halloween was first practiced by Druids who were both necromancers (practice of communicating with the dead) and occultists. They believed that Samhain marked the end of the harvest, ushering in the winter season. This time was also considered a transitional season for the dead. October 31 was when “a bridge to the world of the dead was opened” and “the veil to the spirit world” was thin enough that rituals could summon the dead to return. This day also saw humans sacrificed to Satan.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III of the Roman Catholic Church attempted a more acceptable spin by dedicating the holiday to honor saints and martyrs. All Saints’ Day was the day following All Hollow’s Eve and incorporated some of the traditions of the original Druid celebration.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but perhaps understanding the origin and metamorphosis of the celebration will give you educated ground upon which to stand in making the decision regarding your family.

As you consider these thoughts, here are a couple of scriptures. Spend some time in prayer as you ponder God’s desire for your family.  

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8

“Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33