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What Does the Bible Say about Halloween?

October 31, 2018
What does the Bible say about Halloween
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Should Christians celebrate Halloween? For that matter, what does the Bible say about Halloween?

These questions, and this topic in general, can be a very controversial subject.

My goal is to help shed some light on this subject from an unbiased place, and to give you the facts about the true meaning of Halloween, what it represents, and as Christians, if we should be celebrate Halloween in the first place.       

I was actually blissfully unaware that it even was a controversial topic until I was about 23. At this time, I was living abroad in Spain and had become friends with my youth pastors at the church I was attending. I was helping them brainstorm fun fall activates that we could do for our small group when I excitedly shouted out, “and we could dress up and celebrate Halloween!”.

Needless to say, I was appalled when my excitement was met with, “Oh nooooo! We can’t celebrate Halloween”.

Whaaaaaat? Whyyyyyy? I couldn’t believe my ears. I felt crushed. No dressing up? No pumpkins? No candy corn, pumpkin squares or hot apple cider?

You see, I had no idea the origins of Halloween. Autumn was (and still is) my favorite time of year. I love everything to do with it. The fall foliage, layering up with scarves, going pumpkin picking, drinking pumpkin spice lattes, and yes, celebrating one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.

Regardless of this, Halloween does have some questionable pagan roots. So throughout this post my goal is to help you understand the origins of Halloween, what the Bible says about Halloween, and ultimately if we as Christians should or should not celebrate it.

Contents:

Where Does the Word “Halloween” Come From?

What Country Did Halloween Originate?

What is the origin of Halloween

History of Halloween and Christianity

Meaning of Halloween in the Bible

Bible Verses about Halloween

Should Christian Celebrate Halloween?

Is it a Sin to Celebrate Halloween?

Christian View on Halloween for Children

Halloween Bible Study

Christian Halloween Tracts

What Does the Bible Say about Halloween?

Where Does the Word “Halloween” Come From?

The word “Halloween” is actually derived from Christian origin dating back to around 1745. The literal translation of Halloween is “the evening before All Hallows Day” or “All Saint’s Day”, which is a Christian festival celebrated on November 1.

 

What Country Did Halloween Originate?

Halloween originated in Celtic-speaking countries in England, Ireland, and Northern France.

 

What is the Origin of Halloween

Halloween as we know it today is actually a blend of Christian and pagan roots. Does this shock you? In fact, virtually every holy day, or holiday, was at some point pagan – including Christmas and Easter…awkward right?

Coming Soon: The History Behind Christmas and Easter

But let’s not get distracted, this post is on the origins of Halloween. Halloween (although it wasn’t called that back then) is most commonly linked to the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, which is Old Irish for “summer’s end” which occurred on November 1.

They believed that on this day the souls of the dead and other spirits could easily come into this world and when they did, they needed to be appeased. Offerings of food and drink were left for the spirits, and commonly candles would be lit and prayers were offered to the souls of the dead. Other festivities and rituals would also be done like divination rituals, fortune telling, and apple bobbing.

The festival evolved into people going from house-to-house in costume or disguised as a spirit (or a soul) reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. It was also believed that the disguise protected you from the spirits.

In Scotland, children went house-to-house with painted or blackened faces threatening to do mischief if they weren’t welcomed. This could be one theory for the origin of children going “trick or treating”.

These pranksters also used hallowed out turnips with carved out faces (we now use pumpkins) as lanterns. These lanterns were said to either represent the spirits themselves or were used as protection against the spirits.

From history it is very clear that Halloween did in fact originate from a Celtic pagan holiday. However, let’s keep learning shall we?

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History of Halloween and Christianity

As discussed above, Halloween is the day before All Hallows Day or All Saint’s Day, which is a Christian festival.

So you may be wondering, where does the Christian aspect of this come into play?

Well, as Christian missionaries began to evangelize to the Celtic people, they decided that instead of obliterating the Celtic people’s customs and belief, they would use it.

Pope Gregory IV officially replaced Samhain with All Hallows Day; a day to celebrated the saints and pray for recently departed souls who have yet to reach heaven.

Traditions for All Hallows Day included ringing the church bells for the souls in purgatory, dressing up in black and parading the streets encouraging Christians to remember the dead souls.

“Souling” was also common during this time, which included baking and sharing soul cakes, which are small round cakes made to commemorate the dead.

It is suggested that souling could also be the origin of trick or treating. Poor people and often children would go door to door on Halloween collecting soul cakes in exchange for praying for the dead. While souling, Christians would carry a hallowed-out jack-o’-lantern which represented the souls of the dead.

Some Christians also lit “soul lights” on Halloween, which were candles burning in every room to help guide the souls back to their earthly home.

Naturally over the course of history, the rituals of how we celebrate Halloween has changed vastly.

Regardless, the purpose of the holiday still remains as a day to honor the dead. So that leads us to the next question, is Halloween unbiblical?

Meaning of Halloween in the Bible

The reason why Christians are so unsure of whether they should or should not celebrate Halloween, and its questionable pagan history, is because the Bible doesn’t give us specific guidance on whether we should celebrate it or not.

Although Halloween is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, the Bible’s viewpoints on witchcraft, sorcery, or calling upon the spirits of the dead is pretty darn clear.

Bible Verses about Halloween

Men and women among you who act as mediums or who consult the spirits of the dead must be put to death by stoning. They are guilty of a capital offense”.

Leviticus 21:27

And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call for the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

“The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.”

Deuteronomy 18:14

 

“They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.”

2 Kings 17:17

“I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells.”

Micah 5:12

 

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Now this is the tough question, should Christians celebrate Halloween?

My response? Well, I’m not going to answer that question, but not for the reasons you think. I am here to give you as much information as possible, and then I want you to do some soul searching and spend some quiet time with God to determine the answer for yourself.

This concept actually goes WAY beyond the simple question of “should Christians celebrate Halloween” and really applies for ANYTHING in your walk with God. We shouldn’t look to other humans (even our pastor) to tell us how we should live our life.

Don’t get me wrong, pastors can be heavily anointed and an incredible resource that God gives us for spiritual growth, but ultimately, we should look to God and only God for wisdom.

1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Humans can be easily deceived, but true wisdom comes from above.

What does the Bible say about Halloween? Wisdom comes from above

I am also a firm believer that God speaks to us differently depending on our personal strongholds and where you are at in life. An example of this is a story from a fellow Christ-lover that represents a beautiful way of explaining this concept.

I have a friend who felt God was telling her to stop watching horror movies. She said she was obsessed with them on an unhealthy level and she felt strongly that she should stop.

Does that mean everyone should stop watching horror movies? Maybe, maybe not.

For me, I don’t even like horror movies. It has nothing to do with my faith in God, I just don’t like them. I don’t feel in any way God telling me to stop watching horror movies, and on occasion I might watch one if someone else wants to. 

What this tells me is God meets you where you’re at depending on the strongholds that are controlling your life. If horror movies are an obsession for you and it’s taking you away from your devotion to God, then I would listen to that still small voice telling you that you should give them up.

That’s why it’s so important to truly listen to God and how He is speaking to you.

 

Read more: How to Hear God’s Voice

 

You see, Christians so easily get confused with the real meaning of what it is to be a Christian. Ultimately we are called to love God and to love others (Mark 12:30-31). Don’t get carried away like the Pharisees did caring more about the rules of God, then about God Himself.

What God truly cares about is your heart.

What does the Bible say about Halloween? God cares about your heart

So ask yourself, how’s your heart? Like David asked in Psalm 139:23-24 ask God, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

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Is it a Sin to Celebrate Halloween?

Because I know you came here looking for answers, I am going to give you some more information and ask you some questions to help you determine for yourself if it’s a sin to celebrate Halloween.

 

Reasons why you should not celebrate Halloween:

  • Halloween originated as a pagan holiday
  • Halloween originally included festivities and rituals like divination rituals and fortune telling which we know from the Bible God despises
  • Halloween is a time when people are more focused on Satan and the dead than on God

Reasons why you should celebrate Halloween:

  • The Christian version of Halloween came from a celebration of the saints and prayer for recently departed souls
  • Modern day Halloween has nothing to do with witchcraft and sorcery
  • Halloween doesn’t focus on Satan or evil but is a harmless holiday focused on dressing up, trick-or-treating, and eating candy

 

Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Am I using Halloween as a day to celebrate Satan or the dead?
  • Am I involved in witchcraft, sorcery, omens, casting spells, and divination?
  • Does this holiday bring me closer to God or further away?
  • Why is celebrating Halloween so important to me?
  • Why would giving up Halloween be hard for me?
  • What type of resistance is tugging at my heart to not give Halloween up?
  • Do I simply like the fun of dressing up, or is it something more?
  • Do I like Halloween because of the community aspect of tradition, family, and friends, or is there something more?
  • How does celebrating Halloween influence my own life and the life of my children?

Speaking of which, let’s move on to Halloween and children. 🙂

 

Christian View on Halloween for Children

Many families are worried about how celebrating Halloween will affect their children. Every parent of faith wants to raise up their children to love God and resist the devil, and it’s a very valid concern that Halloween can deter from that goal.

This may lead you to the conclusion that you shouldn’t allow your children to celebrate Halloween.

However, not allowing children to celebrate Halloween because of its pagan roots also has the potential to backfire. Will your child grow up resenting Christianity and God because of all of the rules and the things you can’t do? When you’re young you don’t understand that your parents are trying to protect you, you just know you can’t partake in a seemingly fun and harmless holiday, and you begin to rebel against that.

On the flip side, some kids who grow up not celebrating Halloween understand and respect the reasons behind it without rebelling against their faith.

So which do you choose?

Some parents are concerned with how they can let their children be involved in Halloween without compromising their Christian beliefs.

Friends of mine who are devout Christ-followers have opted to celebrate Halloween, but make it extremely clear that it’s just a “fun day”. They keep the focus on wearing fun costumes like Superman and Princess Elsa, trick-or-treating, eating candy, and harmless fall activities like apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, and corn mazes. They make it clear that it is not meant in any way to celebrate the devil, death, or the dead.

But, let us not forget what it’s like to be a child.

Is your little girl scared of the fake spiders and chopped off heads used everywhere as Halloween decorations?

Is your son obsessed with vampires, zombies, and witches?

How will you respond when they ask why you celebrate Halloween differently than their friends at school?

Thanks to an amazing resource by a fellow blogger, you can respond to them with the gospel!

 

Halloween Bible Study

I am so excited about this Halloween bible study and how it can influence the difficult subject of how to approach Halloween as a Christian.

The Halloween bible study is called A Sweet Opportunity: Seeing the Gospel in Halloween. For only $7 this Halloween bible study is designed to help show your kids how the gospel relates to trick-or-treating, costumes, darkness, fear, evil, and death.

There are discussion questions that will help your children work through their own ideas of Halloween and to think deeper about what it all means.

There are also encouraging bible verses to remind your children that God is still in control and that Jesus has already conquered darkness, fear, evil, and death.

Click the link here to learn more on how to apply bible study into this year’s Halloween!

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Christian Halloween Tracts

Many people are tempted to not participate in Halloween at all after discovering Halloween’s pagan roots. Interestingly, after Pastors Merlin and Theresa Buhl stopped participating in Halloween for many years, they were challenged by another pastor to use this holiday as a day of redemption. (read more about their story here)

They asked themselves what would Jesus do? Would Jesus turn off the house lights and go into the basement avoiding the holiday altogether?

They decided He would not. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus calls us to be the light of the world, even during Halloween. They decided that in addition to handing out candy, they would hand out a tract sharing how children can know Jesus as their Savior.

The cool part is there are so many different tracts you can buy that are just as fun as candy! Kids love comic books, cartoons, riddles, jokes, etc. and now a lot of tract publishers incorporate these fun concepts into their gospel presentations.

Furthermore, many say these tracts are well received, even by people who are usually offended by the Gospel. So that’s pretty cool. 🙂

If you’re interested in purchasing some tracts this Halloween, check this link for some of my favs!

Christian Halloween Tracts

If you made it to the very end of this post then first of all, thank you for reading. I hope this post has helped you understand what the Bible says about Halloween and has given you clarity on if you, as a Christian, should celebrate Halloween. 

I would love to know your thoughts as well! Leave a comment below sharing if you celebrate Halloween as a Christian. 

Click here to join!

Read More

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10 Countries that Celebrate Halloween besides America

The 10 Best Places to Visit in the Fall

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TIFFANY NICOLE

Tiffany created Lavender Vines as a place to share her love for Jesus and adventures from around the world. She has a slight obsession with salted caramel lattes, Japanese kimonos, and an ongoing love affair with NYC and Paris.

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