Of all the pagan customs that find their way into the religious community, Halloween on October 31st is the most unusual. Just stop and think about: grotesque masks and costumes, door to door treks for “treats” or tricks and parties whose theme is not only “devilish” but the decorations include coffins, skulls, witches, black cats, and other elements associated with witchcraft!

Where did Halloween come from? Why is there all the emphasis on evil and death? Please allow me to present the facts concerning Halloween and the reasons why God-fearing people would be wise not to indulge in this obsession.

  • Facts – according to “The World Book Encyclopedia (transcriber’s notes: probably from around the late 1970s or early 1980s)”
    1. The Celtic Festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts lived more than 2,000 years ago in what is now Great Britain, Ireland, and northern France. Their new year began on November 1. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening. (When the dead souls returned to visit their earthly homes, and found no food or shelter, then they were to cast spells on the current occupants.)

      On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their hearth fires. The Druids built a huge new year’s bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and possibly human sacrifices. Then each family relit their hearth fire from the new year’s fire. During the celebration, people sometimes wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.

    2. The Romans conquered the Celts in 43 AD, and ruled what is now Great Britain for about 400 years. During this period two Roman autumn festivals were combined with the Celtic festival of Samhain. One of them, called Feralia, was held in late October to honor the dead. The other festival honored Pomona, the the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Apples probably became associated with Halloween because of this festival.
    3. All Saints Day. May of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800s, the church established All Saints Day on November 1. The people made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day. The church later began to honor the dead on November 1.

      Today, November 1 is spent praying and honoring all dead saints. All Saints Day is followed by All Souls Day on November 2, in which prayers are said for the forgotten souls in purgatory. Purgatory is defined as “an intermediate state or condition in the afterlife where, according to Roman Catholic doctrine, the souls of the faithful departed suffer for time, in order to be purified for entrance into heaven; a place of exile or of banishment; a state of temporary misery.” This is from Webster’s Dictionary. Prayers and monetary offerings are given for the release of souls in this state of limbo.

    4. Summary. Departed souls, spirits, death, even Druid customs held that ghosts, spirits, fairies, elves, and witches came out of the forest to hurt people on this night… get the picture? The fear and superstitions which sponsored the celebration by these ancients have now turned into “fun”. But the customs are virtually unchanged from their pagan origins.

      So what? What difference does it make? It makes no difference unless you care about what the Bible clearly teaches concerning the adoption of pagan customs into worship of God. Then it makes a big difference.

  • Reasons Why Christians Should Not Participate in Halloween
    1. Scriptures teach against it. The word sorcery means magic, witchcraft, drugs, and those who practice it.
      1. Ephesians 5:7-11 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
      2. Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you in judgement; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers… and fear not me, saith the Lord of Hosts.
      3. Revelation 21:7-8 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
      4. Isaiah 47:9 But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.
      5. Exodus 22:18 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
      6. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

      Furthermore, if we as Christian parents simply disregard the unchristian aspects of such practices as mere fantasy or superstition, and then encourage our children to participate in them, we run the risk of communicating the message that the spiritual battle waged by the “rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:10)” is not to be taken seriously.

    2. Safety The possibility of a child being struck by an automobile, kidnapped, poisoned, or otherwise seriously injured is greater on Halloween than on any other night of the year.
  • Some creative alternatives
    1. Emphasize the Holy Spirit instead of the unholy spirit.
    2. Give out tracts and witness that night
    3. Pray that the forces of evil will be bound and noneffective

    This information was researched and organized by Ralph Martin, while he was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Terrytown, Louisiana back in the early 1980s. Sadly, the church is now non-denominational and no longer Baptist.

    The information is not all-encompassing nor very detailed, but I hope it gives some parents a few things to think about. I believe that was the intent when Pastor Martin gave this out to us in 1982.