By Jerome Baker
When I was a teenage I remember every October 31 going around the neighborhood knocking on doors asking for candy. It became such a tradition among me and my peers on November 1 after basketball practice we would go out again and ask for leftovers. Unfortunately, at that time I never knew the history of Halloween, the origin of dressing up in costumes, or even what some of the popular symbols meant that were displayed during this time of the year. Hosea 4:6 says in part, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
After doing a little research over the years and gaining some knowledge I changed my perspective and behavior about celebrating Halloween, especially as a born again Christian. I also broke that cycle in my children and began to give them insight I learned. Here are just a few considerations about celebrating Halloween I believe every parent, teen, and youth leader should know.
1. Consider the history of Halloween?
Oct. 31, “All Hallows Eve” began over 2000 years ago celebrating the “lord of the dead”, named Samhain. It was a practice of the ancient Druids in Britain, France, Germany, and the Celtic countries. The Druids believed that on this particular evening the spirits of their dead relatives and pets returned to their former home to visit the living (why people wear costumes).
If the living did not provide food (“treat”) for these evil spirits, they believed all types of terrible things would happen to the living because they would cast a spell (or “trick”) the living in that house.
2. Consider who celebrates Halloween?
Some reports state that present day witches and followers of Satan still preserve the early pagan beliefs. They consider Halloween a sacred and deadly powerful time. And Halloween’s overall theme involves death, magic, or mythical monsters.
3. Consider some of the meanings of Halloween symbols?
Pumpkins: On the British isles, the scary face of the jack-o-lantern was used to frighten away evil spirits and cast a “spell of protection over the household.” The Celts carved the frightening faces into gourds or turnips, not the American pumpkin.
Fire: Has symbolized warmth and protection as well as death and destruction to cultures around the world. During Samhain, the Druids used it for protection against bad spirits and for ritual sacrifices (both animal or human) to their gods.
Skulls, Bones, & Skeletons: Symbols of death, disease and the shortness of earthly life.
4. Consider if Christians should celebrate Halloween?
In my opinion, no. I believe Halloween is a tradition of the world and Romans 12:2 says, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. And, I also believe 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 which states But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
To me, most Christians miss opportunities to share the gospel with people that may not know the good news of Jesus Christ. Some Christians turn off the house lights to indicate that they do not celebrate Halloween, which is understandable. But kids and teens coming to my door looking for a treat! Oh, you better believe I want them to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8) I’m dropping a gospel tract (and maybe a pack of Now-N-Laters) in their bag! Here are some of my favorites I have used over the years by Chick Publications that I pickup from my local Christian Bookstore (click here to view and read them).
Also, at our church we use this night to witness to others about Jesus, Hell, and salvation. We do skits, we produce our own movies, and we have had Christian singing groups to come minister. There are people all over that grew up like me that just didn’t know the truth. And to have ministries that focus on letting people know the truth during the season of Halloween is needed.
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© Copyright 2014 Jerome Baker Jerome Baker is the author of “Success Killers” and “Watch Who Hang With”, and the youth pastor of A Place of Refuge Church in Carrollton, Georgia.