The Bible and Culture

The Bible and Culture


Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

posted by Ben Witherington

halloween.jpg

Ghosts and Goblins, tricks and treats, houses of horror and costumed heroes and villains.  Should Christians have anything to do with such practices, or is it just harmless fun?  Believe it or not, Christians are about equally divided on this issue.  Perhaps a little history is in order to help us decide this matter.

In the first place, the term Halloween is in fact a modified form of All Hallow’s Eve, that is the day in the Christian calendar before All Saints Day. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the British celebration of Guy Fawkes Day (i.e. a celebration of the attempt to blow up Parliament) or the modern or more ancient practices of Bonfire Night, which may or may not derive from the ancient Celtic celebration of Harvest Night or Samhain. 

The Wikipedia article on the subject suggests the following conclusions—-

Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating
it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating “imaginary
spooks” and handing out candy. Halloween celebrations are common among Roman Catholic parochial schools throughout North America and in Ireland. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church sees Halloween as having a Christian connection. Father Gabriele Amorth, a Vatican-appointed exorcist
in Rome, has said, “[I]f English and American children like to dress up
as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem.
If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.”[1]
Most Christians hold the view that the tradition is far from being
“satanic” in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the
spiritual lives of children: being taught about death and mortality,
and the ways of the Celtic ancestors actually being a valuable life
lesson and a part of many of their parishioners’ heritage.
Other Christians feel concerned about Halloween, and reject the holiday
because they believe it trivializes (and celebrates) “the occult” and
what they perceive as evil. A response among some fundamentalists in recent years has been the use of Hell houses or themed pamphlets (such as those of Jack T. Chick) which attempt to make use of Halloween as an opportunity for evangelism. Some consider Halloween to be completely incompatible with the Christian faith due to its origin as a pagan “Festival of the Dead.” In more recent years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has organized a “Saint Fest” on the holiday.
Many contemporary Protestant churches view Halloween as a fun event for
children, holding events in their churches where children and their
parents can dress up, play games, and get candy. Jehovah’s Witnesses do
not celebrate Halloween for they believe anything that originated from
a pagan holiday should not be celebrated by true Christians.”

It is not a surprise that the bringing of the practice of celebrating Halloween in America is credited to the Irish Catholics, since they in particular had a robust celebration of the saints— for example St. Patrick’s Day.  The practice of celebrating All Hallow’s Eve is especially associated historically with the Catholic tradition for another reason as well.   

In Catholic tradition  (cf. the various Orthodox Church traditions) there are the spirits of some dead persons in purgatory and some in limbo. It is understandable that the notion that there are spirits out there who are neither in heaven or hell, but in an unresolved state, perhaps in Sheol or the land of the dead would eventually be connected with All Hallow’s Eve, the day those spirits wander the earth longing for the resolution of their eternal fate. 

All Saint’s Day by contrast celebrates the saints who in fact have made it to heaven and obtained the beatific vision.  In neither case does the celebration of these days have anything to do with the occult, or with the glorification of evil, Satan, demons, or the like.  If one wants to read a creative interpretation of All Hallow’s Eve by a conservative Protestant writer, Charles Williams novel  All Hallow’s Eve is the ghost story for you.

It is of course true that most persons, including most American Christians by now do not celebrate All Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Day as a holy day, but rather merely as a holiday, a day for children to dress up and go trick or treating. The earlier Christian celebration is either forgotten, ignored, or its meaning neglected.  

Conservative Protestants might well object to the practice of Halloween on the grounds that it offers up a theology of the afterlife they do not agree with (i.e. they do not believe in purgatory or limbo), but it would be well if they evaluated the practice on the proper historical grounds, and not make the mistake of thinking the practice originally had purely pagan much less demonic origins, which is not in fact true.  Some churches today in fact have used the occasion to teach children about the saints in heaven and how they got there, especially focusing on the martyrs and the book of Revelation.

There are however other reasons for Christians to pause before simply indulging the cultural celebration of Halloween, not the least of which is that the message children actually get out of the practice is that if they dress up in costume someone will give them sweets and treats that are in fact generally of no nutritional value, if they are not positively bad for their health and dental hygiene.  

But lest I be accused of being the Grinch that stole Halloween, may I just quietly suggest that Halloween could be used as a time that children could bear witness to their faith— dressing up in costumes representing the heroes of faith, chronicled in texts like Hebrews 11.  In so doing, they could use the occasion of a holiday, to remember once more a holy day– the celebration of all the saints who have gone  into the living presence of God who one day will return with Christ to reign on earth, as that great hymn “For All the Saints” reminds us.
 



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Bill

posted October 13, 2009 at 10:56 pm


We had a “heroes of the faith” type of focus once. My son but his head through a hole in the middle of a foil covered piece of cardboard, added some red makeup, and went as the head of John the Baptist on a platter. I was impressed.



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Luke

posted October 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm


Bill,
That’s about the funniest thing I’ve heard in my life!!



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Danny Haszard

posted October 13, 2009 at 11:48 pm


Orwellian Jehovah’s Witnesses & Halloween.
A Phobic World View
The first step that the Watch Tower takes in their indoctrination of their followers is to develop the concept of the “universal war” that all people are inevitably caught up in, namely, that Satan has declared war on Jehovah, and we are automatically on one side or the other; there are no fence-sitters. If you are not doing all that the organization asks, you are on the side of the devil. Everything outside of the Watch Tower is controlled by the devil, and all persons who are not Witnesses are misled by the devil and are bad or dangerous to associate with.
An unbalanced fear of the supernatural is encouraged. Witness children are told to avoid “worldly” magazines, movies, TV shows, music, etc. Any information critical of the Watch Tower is automatically evil and dangerous. Most doctors are evil for wanting to administer blood transfusions. Children have nightmares about mom or dad having to refuse a blood transfusion. Everything is made to appear as part of a large conspiracy to destroy Jehovah’s Witnesses. Satan is feared totally out of proportion to the role as represented in the Bible
Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t do Christmas.
I was born raised a Jehovah’s Witness and of course we did not do holidays.
The real reason is the Watchtower leaders want us to be ‘different’ for the sake of being different.Jehovah’s Witnesses are not ‘happier’ and are just as dysfunctional as families who do holidays.
Jesus was not born on Dec 25th,but he also did not have his second coming in the month of October 1914,which is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.
Santa Claus is a fairy tale and so is Watchtower 1914 dogma.

Danny Haszard born 1957 as a 3rd generation Jehovah’s Witness
http://www.dannyhaszard.com/
http://jehovahwitness.vox.com/
WHY-Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t do Christmas
I was born Jehovah’s Witness 1957 3rd generation.Yes,we didn’t celebrate Christmas.
The reason JW’s don’t do Christmas is because their Watchtower leaders say so,the holiday has pagan aspects to it and by rejecting it the Watchtower appears “pure”.
This “demand for purity” is one of the 8 marks of a cult.Now the Watchtower can use this purity diversion to distract from their own immoral practices.

Danny Haszard http://www.dannyhaszard.com/
————
Orwellian Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Jesus was not born on Dec 25th,but he also did not have his second coming in the month of October 1914,which is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.
Santa Claus is a fairy tale and so is Watchtower Society.
————
Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t do Christmas.
I was born raised a Jehovah’s Witness and of course we did not do holidays.
The real reason is the Watchtower leaders want us to be ‘different’ for the sake of being different.Jehovah’s Witnesses are not ‘happier’ and are just as dysfunctional as families who do holidays.
Jesus was not born on Dec 25th,but he also did not have his second coming in the month of October 1914,which is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.
Santa Claus is a fairy tale and so is Watchtower 1914 dogma.

Danny Haszard born 1957 as a 3rd generation Jehovah’s Witness



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Your Name

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:14 am


O Pleeeeeeeease! Actually many of the kids do dress up bearing witness to their faith – in GI Joe, Bratz Dolls, Freddy Kruger, or any of the many scary political figures.
This is not the holiday or the holy day of yesteryear. It is now a excuse to exercise the much more ancient, Jungian need to wear costumes and carry on. If you want to see the holiday taken to the wild extreme, check out Fantasy Fest in Key West! It would make a saint croak like a frog and roll over in the sarcophagus like a gyroscope.
It is time to put to rest this whole Old Time religion discussion about Halloween (we don’t even spell it right – “Hallowe’en”) and let it continue to shape and form itself as an autumnal Mardi Gras – which ain’t what it used to be either – but that is for 4 months from now.
Next we’ll get an essay on proper Chanukah ceremonies – and wait until the Christmas (w)Rap! Well, at least no one can assault Valentines Day – wait — what ? Oh rats! OK, Groundhogs Day – you can’t raise a fuss about that one (and it is a partner to May Day, Midsummer’s Night, and – wait for it — All Saints’ Day and hallowe’en)



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Arlen

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:18 am


I’ve always thought this came under the “meat consecrated to idols” category, meaning there’s nothing in itself wrong or unChristian about celebrating Halloween, but that having been said, there are some Christians who shouldn’t do it. And those who do should be sensitive to those among them who should not.
For myself, I think I fall in the “those who shouldn’t” category, mainly due to my past, but I don’t think that fact makes me better or “more Christian” than those who do, and have no problem with any who do, unless they try to drag me along with them. If you’re looking for a modern times analogue, consider alcoholism: the fact an alcoholic shouldn’t drink doesn’t impact the question of whether anyone else should be allowed to.



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Danny Haszard

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:56 am


Orwellian Jehovah’s Witnesses & Halloween.
A Phobic World View
The first step that the Watch Tower takes in their indoctrination of their followers is to develop the concept of the “universal war” that all people are inevitably caught up in, namely, that Satan has declared war on Jehovah, and we are automatically on one side or the other; there are no fence-sitters. If you are not doing all that the organization asks, you are on the side of the devil. Everything outside of the Watch Tower is controlled by the devil, and all persons who are not Witnesses are misled by the devil and are bad or dangerous to associate with.
An unbalanced fear of the supernatural is encouraged. Witness children are told to avoid “worldly” magazines, movies, TV shows, music, etc. Any information critical of the Watch Tower is automatically evil and dangerous. Most doctors are evil for wanting to administer blood transfusions. Children have nightmares about mom or dad having to refuse a blood transfusion. Everything is made to appear as part of a large conspiracy to destroy Jehovah’s Witnesses. Satan is feared totally out of proportion to the role as represented in the Bible



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David

posted October 14, 2009 at 2:03 am


Halloween is celebrated on what is the anniversary date of the flood mentioned in Genesis. Before the flood, fallen angels (demons) came to earth, materialized human bodies to enjoy having sex with women. They had a hybrid offspring referred to in the Bible as Nefilim or Giants. The flood was brought to rid the earth of this unnatural hybrid race with superior strength and evil inclinations. So really, it shouldn’t be surprising the emphasis on demons, witches and dead coming out of the graves. It’s the day the demons commemorate the loss of their children destroyed by God. True Christians have nothing to do with it.



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Danny Haszard

posted October 14, 2009 at 5:15 am


Jehovah’s Witnesses reject all holidays even benign Mother’s day,exception being the Lord’s evening meal also called the Last Supper or Good Friday.
Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t do Christmas.
I was born raised a Jehovah’s Witness and of course we did not do holidays.
The real reason is the Watchtower leaders want us to be ‘different’ for the sake of being different.Jehovah’s Witnesses are not ‘happier’ and are just as dysfunctional as families who do holidays.
Jesus was not born on Dec 25th,but he also did not have his second coming in the month of October 1914,which is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.
Santa Claus is a fairy tale and so is Watchtower 1914 dogma.

Danny Haszard born 1957 as a 3rd generation Jehovah’s Witness



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Ben Witherington

posted October 14, 2009 at 6:27 am


David:
We have no idea what the date of the Noachic flood was. There is no way to calculate it either from the Bible or other evidence for that ancient flood. So what you are saying makes no sense at all.
Blessings anyway,
Ben W.



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jennyfe

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:41 am


I’m a christian and I celebrate halloween each year. In my side, I don’t know how to do and how to wear on Halloween. I have no time and my budget is limited. I prefer upload my own picture and send it out to friends and family with a message as a greeting on Halloween at Happy Halloween 2009



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John Nelson

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:42 am


I rather like the idea of having children dress up as heroes of their faith, if their parents have a particular interest in inculcating that faith in their children. In general, faith is a good thing.
On the other hand, ignorance and hypocrisy are bad things. For a Christian to denounce a holiday celebration because it is simply not Christian in focus, or worse, not Christian in origin is nothing if not both hypocritical and/or ignorant. If all “non-Christian” holidays are bad, why don’t we hear a great cry every Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, etc.? And if it is the holiday’s origins that matter, virtually every Major Christian holiday has it’s origins in a far older Pagan celebration.



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Dwiddle-Dumb

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:51 am


“3rd Generation Witness” . . . could this be compared with, say, Judas, who was a 200+ generation Israelite/Jew? Just trying to figure out how this gives you ANY credibility, sir?



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Ben Witherington

posted October 14, 2009 at 9:23 am


Well Dwiddle Dumb I hardly know how to respond since your comment is totally incoherent. If you object to the long history of Christians celebrating special holy days or honoring the saints that is one thing. But it has nothing to do with Judas’s paternity or ancestry!!!
Blessings,
Ben W.



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No JW Trolls please

posted October 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm


Dwiddle-Dump is a Jehovah’s Witnesses troll trying to muddy up the posts shoot the messengers
Interesting that JW demand a listening ear when they intrude on our private doorsteps but don’t always want to extend the same to dissidents in a public forum.



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jestrfyl

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm


In the interest of fair disclosure, I am the “your name” of Oct 14, 1:14 am.
David (2:03 am),
That is quite a dose of mythology – certainly non-scriptural. It reads somewhere between a graphic novel and a sci fi / horror movie pitch.
It seems as if the JW’s don’t like to have fun. Is that doctrinal or simply their disposition? So leave them to their dour sour selves.



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Margaret

posted October 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm


Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate no manmade holidays. This was a manmade holiday from the beginning, and then they brought the occult into it.



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Dwiddle-Dumb

posted October 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm


So, Mr. Danny Haszard . . . credentials? “3rd Generation, etc”. Do you consider those as impressive as those of Judas . . . 200+ generation Israelite/Jew and former footstep follower of Jesus? Just trying to get a little “Source” here . . .



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Jay Marroquin

posted October 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm


I found your article interesting and along the lines of things I generally tell people. I am a Roman Catholic living in the United States, and our celebration of Hallowe’en is, well, still a religious one.
You will find a lot of what is associated with the holiday such as carved pumpkins and “trick-or-treating,” and the like, but a religious connection and virtue is connected to each of the things.
Yearly there is a parade of saints on this night where Catholic children dress up as their favorite saint, explaining their stories of the saint’s faithfulness, etc. This is often connected with Mass since sundown marks the Eve of All Hallows, or begins All Hallows Eve.
While you repeated the common misconceptions about limbo and purgatory (and frankly, when I tell people they had just rather cling to their misconceptions just like people do with that of other faiths), and our dressing up as the “dead” or spooky things has nothing to do with what you wrote, it is true that people just don’t care to educate themselves on their religious meanings. Too many want the fun and secularize what is otherwise a very holy day to me, my family, and our Catholic community.
As you note, like our St. Patrick’s Day (which has become an excuse for getting drunk), St. Valentine’s Day (an excuse for making money on cards and chocolates), and Christmas (an excuse to go commercially crazy), Halloween has become a time where people take simple things with simple meanings and bring out the evil instead.
Like you, instead of getting too preachy to others, all I can say is that if you want to know why Catholics do what they do on Hallowe’en, go to the source. If one wants to know what an orange tastes like, one cannot learn it from an apple tree, a lemon tree, or a vine of grapes, one must go to the source of oranges. Same things here.
Thanks again, however, for your article. I hope it does get people to re-think what they are doing (and have already done) to our holy day.
JM



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Hecate Demetersdatter

posted October 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm


As a witch, please, allow me to suggest: stay home and feel persecuted. It’s what you xians do best, anyway.



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Joe Rawls

posted October 14, 2009 at 6:46 pm


The Roman Catholics ditched limbo around the time of Vatican II



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Dan

posted October 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm


I’ve been a Catholic all my life and I attended Catholic Schools from 4th grade until high school graduation.
We never celebrated Halloween as a religious holiday. There wasn’t anything holy about it. Instead, in elementary school (and our senior year in high school) we dressed up and had parties like many in public schools do.
The holy day is All Saints Day on November 1st. This is considered a “Holy Day of Obligation” by the Catholic Church and attendance at mass is required (just like with Sundays). Thus, officially, Catholic Christians still regard All Saints Day as holy (obviously not all Catholics fulfill this obligation just like not all Catholic attend mass every Sunday).
As for purgatory and limbo:
Purgatory is officially reconginzed by the Catholic Church:
“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2N.HTM
The feast day for souls in purgatory is November 2nd which is called All Souls Day. Of course, All Saints Day celebrates souls in heaven who by definition are saints.
Limbo is not officially recognized by the Catholic Church. It was proposed by some Church scholars to reconcile the fates of innocent newborns who die before baptism and thus still bear the mark of Original Sin. The current position on this problem is that the Church doesn’t know what happens but they trust in God’s mercy (I believe that is the same position for the fates of good and moral non-Christians).
Anyway, to sum up, most Catholics view Halloween as a secular holiday. The religious holidays during this time are All Saints Day (which is a holy day of obligation) and All Souls Day (which is not a holy day of obligation).



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Daniel Castellanos

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:36 pm


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Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived
2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new
year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold
winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new
year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31,
they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing
trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the
Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile
natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and
animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of
animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their
hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during
the coming winter.
By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that
they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration
of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the
passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of
Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of
“bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV
designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the
pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The
celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’
Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was
celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and
devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.
The American tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England.
During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes”
in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged
by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice,
which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in
their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.
“A god, goddess, or other being regarded as divine.”
DID YOU KNOW?
HALLOWEEN IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THE YEAR FOR SATAN WORSHIPPERS
*** The Facts Behind Halloween—Ancient Night of Terror ***
It is the last night of October. By the light of the moon, a small group of costumed figures move from house to house
stating their demands with dire threats. Guarding some doorsteps are grimacing pumpkin heads glowing with burning
candles—made from human fat. Other doors drip with human blood. It is the night of Samhain, Celtic lord of the dead.
Perhaps in no other holiday does Satan so obviously honor himself and honor his war dead. The writer J. Garnier suggests
that celebrations of suffering and death can be traced back to the ancient destruction of all of the Devil’s human followers,
as well as the giant bully sons of fallen angels, at the time of the Flood. Cultures the world over have festivals for the dead,
“held worldwide on or almost the exact day on which, according to the Bible, the Flood took place: the seventeenth day of
the second month—the month nearly corresponding with our November.”—The Worship of the Dead, by J. Garnier.
The Druids were no exception. On October 31, Samhain was said to release the spirits of the dead to mingle with the living.
Druids roamed the streets with lanterns, and on coming to a house, they demanded money as an offering for Satan.
Halloween is a major satanic ritual day. “It’s a religious holiday for Satan and the Demons, with satanists performing
sacrifices and witches quietly celebrating with prayer circles or meals for the dead,” according to a USA Today article. It
quoted Washington witch Bryan Jordan as saying, “[Christians] don’t realize it, but they’re celebrating our holiday with us.
. . . We like it.”
Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible and high priest of the Church of Satan states, “Satanists consider Halloween the
most important day of the year. Satanic, occult and witchcraft powers are at their highest potency level…Satan and his
powers are at their best that night.”
Traditional Halloween activities continue Samhain’s spirit of celebration in the face of frightening thoughts of death and the
supernatural. These include: scary movies, haunted houses, ghost stories and Ouija boards to contact the demons and the
spirit realm. Greeting cards, decorations, and candy are also a big part of Halloween. The holiday is second only to
Christmas in the amount of money stores make off of it.
MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION:
1) Read Matthew 22:37 and you decide: Would a worshiper of Jehovah have ANY part in a celebration that is
designed to honor Satan the Devil?
2) Read Ecclesiastes 9:5,10 and you decide: Would a holiday that honors “spirits of the dead” as if they were
not dead but ghosts be something that makes Jehovah happy or makes Jehovah mad?
1) Read Deuteronomy 18:10-13 and you decide: What are the reasons that you do not want anything to do
with Halloween?



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Carlos Hernandez

posted October 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm


A very well-written and research article.
It should be noted that Halloween is mainly an American phenomenon.
The customs of Jack-o-lanterns, dressing up as ghosts, etc., have been given a “Catholic” meaning to them from the Irish Catholics whose practices influenced the secular celebration.
While not all Catholics celebrate Halloween, especially outside of the United States, many Catholics who do hold to the Irish customs of pumpkins and ghost stories hold a very “Catholic” view to the evening’s festivities. In this sense, to some Catholics who celebrate the holiday from this perspective, the eve and its celebration is a holy one.
This should not be viewed, however, as a universal celebration of the Church, nor even as an official celebration in the United States. It does, however, explain why October 31 can be viewed and observed differently by two Catholics.



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Gorm_Sionnach

posted October 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm


Daniel, I’m amazed that one on hand you presented a half decent article on the Celtic origins of Halloween in the festival of Samhain, and then turned around and posted a completely empty and false version of the festival. The idea that Samhain is in anyway Satanic if simply false, and the rest of the second article is pure poppycock.
If people do not wish to celebrate the secular Halloween because of its roots in a Celtic Harvest festival, by all means, don’t.



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Russell

posted October 14, 2009 at 10:15 pm


Thanks for the enlightening info. Enjoyed this post very much. My family was one to go with the idea that Halloween was completely evil in origin.



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Moonshadow

posted October 14, 2009 at 10:20 pm


the British celebration of Guy Fawkes Day (i.e. a celebration of the attempt to blow up Parliament)
A celebration of the foiling of that attempt.



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smokey

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:32 am


I’m a youth minister who loves Halloween, and has a great time with it every year. One year I decided to do the whole “dress up like a Bible character” bit with my youth group kids, but I didn’t want it to be a lame party with a bunch of kids dressed up like the Holy Family. The solution was to have everybody dress up like a scary, gross, or outlandish person from the Bible and then have a contest to see who could properly identify the costumes and the stories associated with them.
I came as Herod Agrippa I, and I had a zip-lock bag of fake blood and fake worms inside my kingly toga. I stood up and said, “The voice of a god and not a man” and then exploded my fake worms and blood bag out of my stomach. Not all that historically accurate a depiction of what being eaten by worms looked like (esp. if we take Josephus’ account), but a lot of gross-out fun.



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Margaret

posted October 15, 2009 at 2:12 am


Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate no man made holidays. Halloween was always a man made holiday, even before they brought the occult into it.
We are not robots, nor lemmings. M



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Gwyddion9

posted October 15, 2009 at 11:40 am


Daniel,
What you first presented about Halloween, Samhain, was good and then you break into what? It reads like a chick tract. I’m guessing you wrote it based off of a chick tract about Halloween. Chick really isn’t about historical facts or reality, for that matter, he’s about vilifying those beliefs that are different from his. The idea that the early Celtic peoples worshiped Satan is false and a lie. It wasn’t apart of the belief system. Satan is a Christian construction. Besides, Halloween or Samhain, celebrated by the Celtic peoples was a harvest festival.



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Mary II

posted October 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm


Next year your boy can go trick or treating as High priest Phineas. Just have him take a spear with two fake genitals shish-kabobeded on it, That’ll scare your neighbors. (Numbers 25:7-8)



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Jeremy S. Crenshaw

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:03 pm


Thank you for this one; I have often pondered the same question. However, I would have to say that recently I have found the most appalling part to be the gruesome costumes and decorations that are presented. We generally have our girls dress up in something totally different than what is sold in the vast majority of the Halloween stores. I do like the idea of using the time to instruct our children about the saints that have gone on before us. I also love the idea of connecting this with eschatology.
Blessings,
Jeremy S. Crenshaw



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toddh

posted October 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm


All that stuff from Daniel C. is garbage. Halloween took on it’s more modern look from the 1920s and 1930s onward and has no real connection with any pagan practices. It’s purely about costumes, celebration, candy, and another excuse to separate American consumers from their money. It presupposes at least a couple of things:
1. Enough wealth from the populace to have spare money to buy candy to hand out to strange kids.
2. Enough trust in your neighbors to be willing to visit their houses and take their candy.
You put those two things together with the right conditions and PRESTO, the modern Halloween celebration is born. Hopefully Christians can view it as a fun time to dress up and get to know the neighbors a little bit.



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Pchurcher87

posted October 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm


Just a comment from a brother across the pond (London, England).
Here Halloween is a very different experience. Shops sell all the things: sweets/costumes/pumpkins, etc and advertise it a lot but it has never really taken off here. Saying this it is becoming more popular, but mainly as an excuse to get drunk and egg people. Children don’t really celebrate it here. In fact I’ve only ever has one set of trick or treat-ers come to my door.
I wouldn’t personally be happy celebrating it and it has nothing to do with any pagan roots, or any of that propaganda hog-wash. The reason I wouldn’t be happy is I do not feel that it is something that is worthy of celebration. Why celebrate ghouls and goblins when one has many, better things of which could be celebrated. For example you could celebrate great heroes of history, celebrate truth and light, celebrate families and community, etc.
My Church (St. Peter’s, Woodmansterne) is having a ‘light night’ on the 31st as an alternative. A place to have some food, play games and meet up with your friends. It’s a way of gaining the benefits without having the questionable material. Something that is in keeping with Phil 4:8.
However, this is a lot easier here, as like I’ve said, Halloween isn’t really a thing here so I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I were a Christian in the USA and here is what I’ve come up with so far:
1) Do not shun the opportunity but embrace it: As has been mentioned it is a great evangelistic opportunity. Have an event at church/ at your home and invite people to it.
2) God is in the habit of transforming not destroying: Lets do the same! Instead of dressing like the devil, etc, how about dressing as something else? A bible character, a football player, a cultural hero, whatever. Just make it something praise-worthy. Perhaps something like John the Baptist’s head on a platter will bring a little fun (in some areas).
3) Do a reverse trick or treat. I heard a story once of some university (College) students who dressed up like old ladies and carried a door with them. They would place the door in front of the door of a house and ring the bell. When the owners would open the door, they would open the door they had placed there, comments on the owners ‘costumes’ then give them sweets. They would then move to the next house. Perhaps as a church you could get into an appropriate costume, then go around giving people sweets, asking for prayer requests and inviting them to events, etc.
Let my know what you think. Perhaps they wouldn’t work there?
Anyway, God bless you. May he use you all for his glory.



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Mere_Christian

posted October 15, 2009 at 3:56 pm


Christians should not CELEBRATE Halloween.



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David

posted October 16, 2009 at 1:49 am


response to Ben Witherington:
It would be good to check your facts. Noah kept an exact record according to genesis. It gives the date the flood began: Gen 6:11 states it occurred on the 17th day of the second month according to the Hebrew or ancient calendar. Regarding that date notice what the historical book The Worship of the Dead states: “The mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the events of the Deluge . . . The force of this argument is illustrated by the fact of the observance of a great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event, not only by nations more or less in communication with each other, but by others widely separated, both by the ocean and by centuries of time. This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz., the seventeenth day of the second month—the month nearly corresponding with our November.”
So many informed historians agree with my earlier statements. I hope you’ll willing to admit when your wrong.



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phil_style

posted October 16, 2009 at 8:43 am


Moonshadow , Oct 14 at 10:20
“the British celebration of Guy Fawkes Day (i.e. a celebration of the attempt to blow up Parliament)
-celebration of the foiling of that attempt. ”
Yes! I was wondering if anyone picked that up. Although it depends on whether or not you live in Lewes or Chiddingfold does it not? One commemorates the protestant/parliamentary foiling, the other celebrates the roman catholic plot.



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Ben Witherington

posted October 16, 2009 at 11:45 am


Just a few notes. Noah was not a Hebrew and he did not keep a Hebrew calendar. The patriarches begin with Abraham, and we have no idea what sort of calendar he inherited from his time in Ur. I know of no credible historians Biblical or Ancient Near Eastern who think we can calculate the date of when the flood began or ceased on the basis of that eliptical account in Genesis. Give me a break.
Secondly, Jehovah is not a Biblical name for God– it involves the combination of two Hebrew names for God, so combined to avoid mispronouncing the sacred name. No text of the Bible in itself favors the rendering of the combined name. The Hebrew names for God are Yahweh, Adonai, El, Elohim and the like. And as for the Christian practice of All Hallows Eve, it has nothing to do with honoring Satan— sorry, but it just doesn’t. I am not talking about whatever garbled distortion our secular culture has come up with.
BW3



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discokvn

posted October 19, 2009 at 10:09 pm


we considered giving out toothbrushes this year…



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harold

posted November 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm


The web site above has a great article on the argument on whether Christians should or not celebrate halloween or not.
also to Ben Witherington comment yes all hallows eve and hallowmas hasn’t got much to do the occultic but halloween was brought to america by the Irish(Celtic) not the catholics so yes halloween is still 99% pagan (seriously go go down the street (suburbs) on halloween and try find one decoration that has any decoration that relevants to hallowmas and all hallows eve, its not that easy is it)



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pat grimm

posted November 7, 2009 at 7:59 am


We all “strain at gnats” and as usual forget the big picture, the enormous picture. God sent His only son down to save us, we need to read the Bible and learn about that rather than wasting time worrying about irrelevant events. Let the kids have fun on Halloween and stop being silly Christians, be strong and informed people not idiots who spend God’s time talking about Halloween. That is for the cults to do and the religions who don’t have Christ. Let’s live up to His promise and stop acting like children.



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Austin Coon

posted June 14, 2010 at 8:23 am


If only more than 40 people could hear this..



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Abercrombie and Fitch

posted September 7, 2010 at 11:09 pm


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christian louboutin

posted October 15, 2010 at 3:54 am


I am just starting out in community management/marketing media and trying to learn how to do it well – resources like this article are incredibly helpful. As our company is based in the US,



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Alan

posted October 30, 2010 at 10:06 am

jeffd

posted October 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm


See this is the problem with some religious groups that push their belief on others. The real evil in the world are people. There is no proff of any thing els. People kill not halloween monsters. Cult religion groups that say halloween is evilll,are also evil by jugdeing others, look in the Bible it says “do not judge others”. So make sure if you are reading the Bible don’t just pick out things you want, follow it word for word.



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ugg bailey button

posted November 4, 2010 at 5:15 am


Hello,I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.



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VolkovALEKSANDR

posted December 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm


Здесь сэндвич панели по приемлемой цене



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christian audigier

posted January 14, 2011 at 1:07 am


How you find ideas for articles, I am always lack of new ideas for articles. Some tips would be great ugg boots .



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优博娱乐城

posted August 26, 2011 at 5:18 am


There are however other reasons for Christians to pause before simply indulging the cultural celebration of Halloween, not the least of which is 优博娱乐城that the message children actually get out of the practice is that if they dress up in costume someone will give them sweets and treats that are in fact generally of no nutritional value, if they are not positively bad for their health and dental hygiene.



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Pingback: Jack-O-Lantern Shakedown (Halloween) | Russell Purvis's Weblog

Rosane

posted November 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm


The exorcist Gabriele Amorth doesn’t agree to Halloween. He said it’s a pagan party, anticristian and anticatolic”: “Halloween, una trappola del demonio, che le prova tutte”: lo dice padre Gabriele Amorth, decano degli esorcisti nel mondo… Si tratta di una roba pagana, anticristiana ed anticattolica, proveniente da terre nordiche ed esplosa negli Usa. Questa robaccia, pretende, e talvolta ci riesce anche, di mettere in secondo piano ed offuscare la Solennità di Tutti i Santi che celebriamo con gioia il primo novembre. E siccome, appunto, il suo scopo é quello di mettere intralcio alla santità, é una ideazione del demonio che intende scompaginare i piani di Dio. Halloween é una festa pagana”. Una dimostrazione della scaltrezza del Nemico: “il diavolo cerca di mettere zizzania tra Dio e uomo, non tanto per ostilità verso l’uomo, quanto per voler offendere Dio, che é il suo bersaglio preferito, e talvolta, riesce in questo scopo, anche se verrà sconfitto per sempre”.
“Halloween, una trappola del demonio, che le prova tutte”: lo dice padre Gabriele Amorth, decano degli esorcisti nel mondo. Padre Amorth, qual é il suo giudizio su Halloween? “intanto, fa schifo e mi fa schifo. Si tratta di una roba pagana, anticristiana ed anticattolica, proveniente da terre nordiche ed esplosa negli Usa. Questa robaccia, pretende, e talvolta ci riesce anche, di mettere in secondo piano ed offuscare la Solennità di Tutti i Santi che celebriamo con gioia il primo novembre. E siccome, appunto, il suo scopo é quello di mettere intralcio alla santità, é una ideazione del demonio che intende scompaginare i piani di Dio. Halloween é una festa pagana”. Una dimostrazione della scaltrezza del Nemico: “il diavolo cerca di mettere zizzania tra Dio e uomo, non tanto per ostilità verso l’uomo, quanto per voler offendere Dio, che é il suo bersaglio preferito, e talvolta, riesce in questo scopo, anche se verrà sconfitto per sempre”. He doe



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Mae

posted June 17, 2013 at 4:25 am


There is nothing wrong about Christians celebrating Halloween. However, the children should know the real meaning of the celebration as they grow older- that it is not just about dressing up costumes.



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