Friday, October 8, 2010

Why we don't "do" halloween

In Oct 2007, my husband and I were working with the youth group on Misawa Air Base.  We were supposed to do a lesson with the students and decided on one that dealt with the "holiday" coming up - Halloween.  Being fairly new Christians, we knew there seemed to be something a little ungodly about the holiday but we didn't know where all the customs stemmed from so we did some research.

We found these things:
* Some Halloween traditions, for example, the Jack-O-Lantern, come from Irish legend. The story behind this sinisterly-smiling vegetable tells of a man stuck between heaven and hell as a result of a bargain with the devil. The turnip was the original hollow, candle-lit head of choice, but when the Irish immigrants came to America, they traded their tiny turnips for giant pumpkins.

*Most sources agree that the modern holiday of Halloween finds its origins in the Celtic and Druid festival of the dead, “Samhain.” This festival marks the Celtic New Year. It encompasses the eve of October 31st and the day of November 1st. Common Halloween practices point directly to the pagan festival of Samhain.

* Bobbing for apples on this supposedly “hallowed eve” served as a popular means of fortune-telling and the length of an apple-peel was considered an indicator of one’s life span.
* During the Samhain festival the Celts believed the physical and spiritual world interacted like at no other time of the year. They thought "souls" of the dead would visit the living. People offered sacrifices of animals, plants, and, some speculate, even humans, to those of the spirit world for a bountiful harvest.
* As Christianity began spreading in Europe, November 1st became known as “All Saints’ Day,” with the preceding evening having the name of "All Hollow’s Eve.” This holiday actually came about in hopes of suppressing the non-Christian holiday of the Samhain. Soon the mixing of the traditions of the Celts’ "Samhain" festival with "All Saints Day" produced a holiday we know as Halloween.
After doing this research, Mark and I felt very convicted about participating in any part of the Halloween festivities.  We honestly couldn't find any part of it that seemed to stem from the Bible or that seemed like it would be glorifying to Our Lord and Savior.  As a result, we have chosen to not participate in this holiday, except for the passing out of gospel tracts to the children who come to our door.
We know there is no where in the Bible that specifically says "Do not celebrate Halloween" and as Christians we are given freedom to do many things b/c the blood of Jesus has saved us, but what kind of witness is it to unbelievers or new Christians if we participate in these celebrations - and really how does God get the glory by us dressing up to go collect candy? 
So, when people ask what my daughter is going to "be" for Halloween, I say, "Herself, we don't do Halloween." and no I don't think I am depriving her of anything by this.  She can dress up on any other day of the year and candy is available year round, but even if it weren't - we are Christians and we are not supposed to be like the rest of the world, we are supposed to be set apart, show that there is something different about us.


  1. I completely agree with you. Halloween was never as big a deal here when I was growing up, but it has been becoming a bigger thing the more years that pass. It is such a pagan thing, and there is no way my children are deprived by not taking part! Like you said, we are to be set apart, not just go with the flow for the sake of it! I'm not sure why Christians have any part in Halloween - that has always confused me!

  2. I agree 100% Emily. We don't celebrate Halloween. We go to church for our "Harvest Festival" and play games and take hay rides/roast marshmallows/etc. We do have an apple peeling contest, so I thought it was interesting what you said about it being related to the length of your lifespan. I'll have to share that at church to see what their take is on that and why we do that contest along with the bubble blowing contest. I will say that many Christians celebrate "Reformation Day" instead of Halloween. You might want to look that up instead of me giving you the google version. :)