The observance of Halloween is a practice of darkness and is therefore unacceptable to God. Yes, that statement will raise a lot of eyebrows and alienate some readers. But the real question is: Is it true? Does God object to Halloween? To find the truth, we will compare the origins and practices of Halloween with the Bible.
Samhain, Ghosts, and Fortune Telling.
Long before Christ's birth, the ancient Celts held an annual festival on
After Christ's death, Christianity spread throughout
Europe and many Celts were converted. Catholic priests tried to replace
the Celtic holidays with "Christian" ones. Around 610 A.D., they created
a new holiday in May, All Hallows' Day (now All Saints' Day) to honor martyred
saints. In the 800s A.D., All Hallow's Day was moved to
Bonfires, Skeletons, Costumes, Masks, and Orange & Black. The huge fires atop the "sacred" hilltops in which the Druids sacrificed animals and humans derived their name from the skeletons of those who died in them. The words "bone" and "fire" formed the word "bonfire." The orange flames lit up the black night, thus the "official" colors of Halloween. As these pagan worshipers danced around and jumped through the fire, they wore disguises of animal-head masks and animal-skin costumes. The head of each household was given live embers to start a new fire on his hearth which would last until the next autumn. It was believed this fire would protect their homes from danger throughout the year.
Jack-o'-Lanterns. Jack-o'-lanterns were originally carved from large turnips. The Celts carried these carved lanterns through their villages in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Later, Irish folklore resulted in a tale explaining the use of "jack-o'-lanterns": Jack, who was too bad to get into heaven but wasn't permitted into hell because of a deal he had made with the devil, supposedly wanders the earth holding a carved turnip with a glowing coal from hell as his guide. This is "Jack's lantern."
Bobbing For Apples. Romans honored the dead with a festival called Feralia in late October. It honored Pomona, their goddess of fruit trees who was often pictured wearing a crown of apples. During this festival, they ran races and played games to honor the "Apple Queen" and used omens such as apple parings thrown over the shoulder or nuts burned in the fire in order to predict the future concerning their marital prospects. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they combined local Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival. Bobbing for apples was derived from this blended pagan celebration.
Witches and Black Cats. From the 1500s through the 1700s, during the witch hunts in Europe, it was thought witches and warlocks flew threw the air to a meeting with the devil (who had by then replaced Samhain, lord of the dead) on Halloween. Some thought elves, fairies, and witches turned into black cats.
Vampires and Bats. Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), also known as Count Dracula, was a 15th century prince of Wallachia. Because of his murderous cruelty, he became the representative type of vampires traditionally observed at Halloween-time. According to legend, vampires are reanimated corpses which drink human blood, thus also transforming their victims into living corpses. Vampires also allegedly take on the form of bat-like demons.
There is an additional connection between bats and Halloween. Because of the bat's ability to hunt its prey in the dark, the animal has gotten the reputation of having occultic power. The bat has characteristics of both a bird (a symbol of the soul in the occult) and of a demon (dweller in darkness). During medieval times, it was believed that the devil often turned himself into a bat.
Trick-or-Treat. Late in the 19th century, Irish people went from house to house asking for food and money on Halloween. They played tricks upon and destroyed property of those who didn't comply. "Little people" or fairies received the blame for this destruction. This was the root of "trick or treat."
Full Moon and Occult Practices. The
full moon, for occultists, is a time to perform certain rituals. There
are certain "un-holy" days, times, or seasons when witches, Satanists,
and others who do the devil's bidding do their work for the devil. Every
full moon is believed by the occult to be a time of extra power. Solar
solstices and equinoxes are celebrated as high, un-holy days as well as
a day in February (near spring), April (near summer), August (near harvest),
and the highest un-holy day of the occultic calendar,
Violence. As if the origins of Samhain and Halloween weren't violent enough, can anyone deny the violent and gory practices which have become part and parcel of the modern celebration of Halloween? Think about all of the filthy, disgusting horror movies, the haunted houses, not to mention the need to examine and x-ray children's candy lest it contain poison, needles, or razor blades. Who drives late on Halloween night without the fear of their car having eggs or rocks thrown at it? The list could go on and on.
What Does The Bible Say? Even though
the Bible doesn't specifically mention Halloween by name, it makes it very
clear that the origins and practices of Halloween are detestable to God.
All of the above-mentioned practices are evil and full of darkness. Many
of them--including idolatry, fortune telling, sacrificing humans, witchcraft,
and drinking blood--are explicitly forbidden in the Bible. The Old Testament
is full of warnings in these regards. (For further study
The New Testament has quite a bit to say about Christians
and darkness. Jesus Himself said, "I have come into the world as a light,
so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness,"
From the above origins of Halloween, it is obvious
that most of the traditions are derived from sacrifices to idols or false
gods. The apostle Paul specifically warned Christians that such sacrifices
are offered to demons and that we are not to participate (
Some, who simply don't want to let go of worldly
ways, might argue that God's grace will cover them even if they choose to
disobey and continue in the path of darkness. But this is not so. The Bible
clearly teaches that the grace of God teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness
and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives
in this present age (
Yes, others will ridicule us if we stand firm with
God in this matter. But we are to arm ourselves with the same attitude
as Christ and live our earthly lives for the will of God instead of for
evil human desires, even when the pagans think it is strange and heap abuse
on us (
Copyright © 2000 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.
References used include:
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, © 1994, 1995 Compton's NewMedia, Inc.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, © 1999-2000 Britannica.com, Inc.
Halloween, by Dennis Brindell Fradin, © 1990 by Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, © 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000, © 1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation
Oxford Paperback Encyclopedia, © 1998 Oxford University Press
The Encyclopedia Americana International Edition, © 1996 Grolier Incorporated
A Christian Perspective on Halloween, © 1996 by The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., http://www.cbn.org/cbn/teach/hal2.html
The Dark Side of Halloween, by David L. Brown, Th.M., © 1990, http://www.execpc.com/%7Edlbrown/logos/halloween.html
The History of Halloween and the Word of God, compiled by Rob Hurt, http://www.flash.net/~seekhim/halween.htm#1