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Let's Examine Halloween

Let's Examine Halloween

"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil." (1Thess. 5:21-22)

Because the observance of Halloween is upon us again, let us take a moment to place it under our spiritual microscope for a careful examination.  If it passes our examination as something good, then let us hold fast to it.  However, if it is a form of evil, then let us abstain from it.

The origin of Halloween is traced to a time before the birth of Christ in the druid culture of Western Europe.  The druids were a pagan people who celebrated the festival of Samhain (meaning summer's end) beginning on October 31, which corresponds to the last day of the Celtic year.  The druids believed that the god of the dead overpowered their sun god at the end of summer, so they sought to appease this god by observing a festival.  They offered sacrifices in great bonfires (lit. bone-fires) around which they would dance.  The druid priests went from house to house demanding subjects for these bonfire sacrifices as they promised prosperity to those who gave and cursed those who refused.  During this time, the druids believed that the barrier between the living and the dead was opened so that evil spirits, fairies, witches, and goblins could escape and harass them.  They also believed that the spirits of the dead returned to their former homes to visit the living at this time.  To ward off the evil spirits, the druid people would disguise themselves in costumes and masks.

Centuries later, the observance of Samhain continued among the druid descendants.  Samhain was prominent enough that the Catholic church sought to eliminate it by overshadowing it with a new holiday.  Therefore, Pope Gregory IV ordained the Catholic holiday of "All Saints' Day" or "All Hallows' Day" on November 1 in A.D. 837.  This made October 31 into "All Hallows' Eve," which we now know as "Halloween."  The intention of the Pope was to replace Samhain and its pagan traditions, but this effort failed.  Samhain became Halloween and continued to evolve through the Middle Ages with an increase of witchcraft and the worship of Satan.  Today, this day is still celebrated by Celtic pagans, Satanists, and wiccans.

The modern observation of Halloween pays homage to these ancient origins.  Images of ghosts, witches, goblins and monsters adorn houses, schools, stores, and businesses throughout our nation.  Children wear masks and costumes while they unknowingly imitate the trickery of evil spirits as believed by the druids.  They mimic the druid practice of going from house to house declaring "trick-or-treat."  Even the jack-o-lantern originates from the candle-lit skull that served as a signal to mark those homes that supported the druids' religion.

Certainly, most people who observe Halloween today are unaware of the details of its history, and they simply consider Halloween as a time for fun.  Children enjoy an opportunity to dress up in costumes and to get candy.  However, it would be dishonest to say that we are unaware of the evil that is attached to this celebration.  Witchcraft, evil spirits, ghosts, demons, murderers, and many other wicked persons are exalted on this day.  In particular, the glorification of vampires is a current fad that is especially disturbing.  These characters that drink blood and commit murder have been made into heroes in many books, television programs, and movies aimed at young people.  This is happening year-round, but it becomes magnified for Halloween.  All of this may seem like fun because the world portrays it that way, but our careful examination reveals that it is simply a celebration of evil.

If we want to know God's mind on the issue of witches, spiritists, and sorcerers, then let us consider His words to Israel Deuteronomy 18:10-12:

"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.  For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you."

It is evident that such things are not good in the eyes of God.  Why then should we consider a day that celebrates such things to be a good thing?

After examining Halloween as directed in 1Thessalonians 5:21-22, we cannot rightly say that it is a good thing.  Therefore, we may not hold fast to Halloween, but rather we must abstain from it.  If you disagree, then do your own examination.  If you can find honest, godly reasons for observing Halloween, then do so.  Otherwise, "do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them" (Eph. 5:11).

Stacey E. Durham




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