30 October, 2013
More On Halloween
I used to have a love affair with Halloween. In fact, you might have called it an obsession. Even several years after I gave my heart to Jesus, I still harbored a pretty decent crush on costume shops, individually wrapped miniature candies, and “good” spookiness, all in the name of fun.
Even when I started to feel a little uncomfortable with it, I purposed that I would simply tone it down a little and not let it consume too big a part of my heart. Just a little flirting once a year, because surely my one true Love knew my heart belonged to Him. Just like my husband wouldn’t mind at all if I spent a little time with old boyfriends once a year — you know, just for old times’ sake. After all, he wants me to be happy and would never want me to miss out on any fun.
You know I’m kidding, of course. My husband would have nothing to do with that sort of thinking. And neither did the Holy Spirit. After a few years of ignoring His gentle tugging on my heart, I finally decided to prayerfully consider giving up Halloween.
The more I learned, the more I became convinced that this “holiday” (a word that means “holy day,” by the way) was not honoring to God in any way. I began to see that my refusal to give up Halloween was evidence of a divided heart — but Jesus wants my whole heart.
Ever since deciding to “just say no” to Halloween, I can honestly tell you that the blessings and joy of obedience are far greater than any fun I ever had “celebrating.”
And since many people, even Christians, think my decision is odd or even legalistic, I finally decided to put together a list of the top ten reasons I kissed Halloween goodbye.
1. Halloween glorifies evil, not God.
It’s no secret that Halloween is all about witches and ghosts and fear and death. Haunted houses, Hollywood movies, even neighborhood patios are graced with blood and dead bodies and axe murderers … giant replicas of poisonous spider and cobwebs … scary organ music, skeletons, and gravestones. Can anyone deny that this holiday glorifies Satan and every evil thing?
“Oh, but our family only dresses in good costumes,” we are quick to point out, as if somehow sugarcoating the evil with smiling pumpkins and sparkly Disney princess costumes somehow changes the meaning of the celebration.
I too continued to dress up for several years, but no matter what creative spin I put on it, eventually I could no longer justify that anything I was doing in respect to this holiday was honoring to God. Sure, my costumes were cute. Sometimes they were even sophisticated, clever, funny, or smart. But none of those things changed the fact that the holiday itself glorified evil, and I could no longer lend my talents and attention to remain part of it.
Most of us know that Halloween is one of the highest, most holy days for witches and Satanists. Even though we ourselves may not be involved in the practice of witchcraft, we give credence to the holiday by celebrating it. If we abhor evil, should we not also abhor any day designated to celebrate it? The Bible says to avoid even the appearance of evil.
“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” —1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern that the Halloween is all about fear. Scary costumes, haunted houses, and horror movies are designed for no other purpose than to frighten us. Seeking out opportunities to be scared is, on this day at least, the highest form of entertainment. If we do not have a spirit of fear, should we even acknowledge a day whose purpose is to invoke a spirit of fear in us?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind.” —2 Timothy 1:7
2. If the seed is bad, the fruit will be bad.
Halloween has never been a Christian holiday. The foundations of Halloween are occultic, and the symbols and traditions we continue today all have roots in pagan practices. God tells His people over and over again to avoid all pagan rituals and traditions.
Halloween derives in part from the occult traditions of the Druids, the pagan priests of the Celts, whose fall festival was the precursor to Halloween as we know it. “To ancient Druids, the end of October commemorated the festival of the waning year, when the sun began his downward course and ripened grain was garnered from the fields. Samhain … was celebrated with human sacrifice, augury and prayers; for at this season spirits walked, and evil had power over souls of men.”1
When the first Christians came to America, they knew of Halloween’s occult beginnings and banned its celebration.2
“[B]ecause of Christianity among so many of the settlers, Halloween celebrations were not celebrated until the 1800’s when several immigrants from Ireland and Scotland introduced their Halloween customs. They brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs. German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft.”3
Today, we have become so accustomed to the traditions of men that we refuse to question them. Even Christian families have been honoring this holiday for generations. But doing so ignores the fact that this festival in no way honors God, and in fact celebrates the very practices God abhors:
“When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer [pharmakeia], or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.” —Deuteronomy 18:9-11
Putting a Christian label over the top of a pagan practice does not make it pleasing to God. In fact, we are to get rid of all pagan practices and have no part of them:
“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.” —Deuteronomy 12:1-4
God doesn't want us to keep the ways of the world and sprinkle Christianity on top. He wants us to elevate Him alone: His ways, His philosophies, His deliverance, His celebrations. Any other practice is sin and eventually bears bad fruit.
3. Don’t dine with demons.
Samhain was the one day of the year when the dead were allowed to come back into the world and commune with the living. People traditionally set a spot for the dead at their table, inviting them in. Since there was also the possibility that evil spirits would come looking for them, people took to “guising” themselves for protection. In other words, it’s okay to dine with demons — as long as you wear a costume to protect yourself.
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” —1 Corinthians 10:21
So are we really supping with demons? Sharing food with someone represents a sacred connection. Adam and Eve first ate with God in the garden, but then chose to share an apple without God in the presence of Satan. Jesus spent much of his time on earth dining with sinners, because that is who He came to save. The last thing Jesus did before He was crucified was to share a meal with His disciples, and He commands us to continue remembering Him in that way until He comes again. When we see Him in heaven, it will be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” — Revelation 3:20
Satan is the world’s greatest counterfeiter, so he tempts us to sit at his table and join his feast (festival, festivity) by making it as attractive as he can. He knows we won’t say no if his festival looks like pure evil, so he’s let us create our own G-rated version that we aren’t as likely to resist.
But God says, “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? … And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” —2 Corinthians 6:14-16
4. Halloween is an excuse to flaunt sexuality.
It’s true. Halloween is becoming more risqué every year. In fact, sometimes I think its real name is “Dress Like a Porn Star” Day. Girls dress more provocatively, and at much younger ages, on this day than any other. There seems to be an unwritten competition to have the raciest costume. For those passing on ghoul or gore, the only other worthy goals seem to be shock and immodesty.
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” —Ephesians 5:3-8
I can vouch from personal experience that when we put on a costume, we often detach ourselves, sometimes ever so slightly, from our inhibitions. After all, it is much easier to act a tad bit naughty when our real identity is hidden. It’s almost as if bad behavior is somehow excused when we are in costume — and it’s much easier to explain in the morning: “I wasn’t actually sinning; I was just staying in character.”
Even though we are not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, we prefer to emulate them and parade them on our Facebook pages as if they are somehow deserving of honor.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” —Ephesians 5:11-12
5. We play how we practice.
This is one of my husband’s favorite sayings. He is usually referring to table manners with our sons: If you use a knife and fork correctly at the kitchen table, then you won’t have any problems when it counts — when you’re at a nice restaurant with your employer or meeting your future wife’s parents for the first time. How we practice spills over into real life.
The same applies to Halloween. We think we can entertain the macabre, erect gravestones in our front yards, and prop dead “bodies” on our front porches. “Oh, but they’re not real,” we demur. Then we are appalled when a 17-year-old has a fascination with dead bodies and decides to act on his morbid desires.
Do we really have any right to be shocked or even surprised when some among us decide to act out in real life the fascination with evil we insist on holding dear? We can't have it both ways: if we choose to be entertained by evil, we should be prepared for the time when it becomes reality.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this work, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” —Ephesians 6:12
Let us not drop our guard for a moment, or even camp out one night a year “for fun” on the side of the enemy.
6. Are we causing others to stumble?
Even if we don’t believe it’s dangerous to dabble in the ancient pagan practices of Druid priests, have we given any thought to the impact our actions might have on others?
The Bible tells us just how important it is that we not lead His children astray (Matthew 18:6) or cause them to stumble (Mark 9:42). If we present witchcraft, promiscuity, and the occult in a fun and seductive manner now, are we opening the door to involvement in those practices in the future?
Will our children learn values we want them to learn by participating in this “holy day,” or would they learn better values, perhaps even courage, from seeing us stand up against evil even when our culture says it’s fine? It probably goes without saying, but what values are we impressing on our children when we send them trick-or-treating? Is the lie “give me your candy or I’ll play a trick” really becoming of anyone?
If we forego Halloween but give our children a substitute celebration instead, are we sending the message that “I am trying to compensate because I think you’re missing out on something really amazing”? I want my children to believe what I myself believe: that we have been given something so much better than this! No more bobbing for apples in the church basement (a pagan fertility ritual, by the way) when I have true joy in knowing God’s true Son!
7. Be faithful in the small things.
For many Christians, the thought of whether to celebrate Halloween is a small issue, maybe even a non-issue. After all, it’s only one day a year. And what harm is there really in a handful of Snickers miniatures and a pillowy pumpkin costume?
Let me answer that this way:
First, our character, integrity, and devotion to God is evident in the small things. If we can't be faithful in the small things, how will our hearts be faithful in the big things?
“He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.” —Luke 16:10
So, yes, even something as seemingly small as how we handle Halloween is important.
Second, God has told us to focus on what is pure, noble, right, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). Is Halloween any of these things? No, and therefore it is unworthy of any of our time or thoughts.
Third, “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” —1 John 3:8
If God came for the purpose of destroying the works of Satan, why do we then try remember, imitate, and even elevate those very things?
How do we expect we will be able to keep ourselves faithful when the big temptations come alone when we can't even say no to glorifying evil in what we do for fun?
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” —James 1:27
But we've joined forces with the world. In fact, instead of keeping ourselves unspotted, we have become one giant spot with it — we are so much alike no one can tell where the world ends and the Church begins.
We need to start keeping ourselves pure in the small things, so that we will be able to stay pure and undefiled in the big things.
8. God wants to bless us — but not in the way the world blesses.
For those of us who love Jesus, why is it so important to entertain the macabre and flirt with the dark side for one day, one week, or one month out of the year, instead of delighting in the joy the Lord Himself has set before us?
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile....’” —Jeremiah 10:2
We often say we don't want to deprive our children of candy, of dressing up, of the "fun" they have by participating in this holiday. But God has already told us the customs of the world are futile!
Is this is the kind of happiness we want for our children, we are clearly setting our standards too low. Seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and He will provide all of the other things we need.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” —Psalm 37:3-4
God in His divine sovereignty did not give us Halloween for our entertainment. Instead, we thought we were missing something and we hijacked it! Just like Eve in the garden, we believed Satan’s lie that God was withholding something good from us. God, however, has far better things in store for us than candy corn and parlor games. Why do we continue to grovel in the plastic sandbox when God has given us the entire beach?4
We continue pouring time and money into what is overall something that has no lasting fruit and does not in any way glorify God. Would our time be better spent in prayer, teaching our children about the real dangers their friends face by dabbling in the occult? As a Christian, I don't want to spend even a penny of my money on a $7-billion-a-year event that is so dishonoring to God. As a nation, it is painfully evident where our hearts are.
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” —Luke 12:34
9. There is sin in the camp.
Even if we think our costumes are not sinful (as if it’s the costume that’s the problem and not the fact that we are still giving reverence to the holiday itself), what about others who have decided that there is nothing wrong with their costumes either? After all, they aren’t really practicing witchcraft, just dressing up as witches. So do we excuse the dressing up but draw the line at Ouija boards? What about pretending to cast spells? We have made ourselves the judges of what is good and evil instead of following God’s command to avoid even the spoils of the enemy.
I have two words to say to that kind of thinking: Remember Achan.
In Joshua 7, Israel was accursed and could not even stand before its enemies because just one man, Achan, had taken the spoils of Jericho, when God had said no one was to touch them. By the sin of one man, the entire nation was judged.
“Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” —Joshua 7:8-12
It's just a holiday — what’s the big deal? The darkness of Halloween is devoted to destruction and is in no way honoring to our Father of lights (James 1:17) — and no orange and black sugar coating will make it so. God is a jealous God, and all pagan beliefs are sinful in God’s eyes. We can’t choose how much or even how nicely we want to celebrate.
And we need to help hold each other accountable because we may all bear the judgment for sin in the camp.
At this time in history more than ever, we are in great need of God’s mercy on our land:
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:14
Yet how many of us are truly humbling ourselves and turning from wickedness? We say we are followers of Christ, but we refuse to surrender in complete obedience to His Word in even the simple act of turning from a holiday that glorifies evil.
If still we refuse to repent and seek God’s wisdom in every aspect of our lives, we should not be surprised when God further removes His hand of blessing and protection from this great land.
10. Come out from them and be separate.
Perhaps the reason I finally let go of Halloween was precisely because I didn’t want to.
If that sounds like a contradiction, let me explain. You see, the very fact that I kept coming up with reasons and excuses so I could continue celebrating eventually led me to question my motives. Why was I hanging on so tightly? Was it possible that my celebration of Halloween had become an idol to me? Certainly it appeared so, because still I embraced the traditions of men even when I knew God’s heart on the matter.
“Therefore come out from them and be separate from them, says the Lord.” —2 Corinthians 6:17
God wants His people to be holy, which means to be set apart. If everyone else is doing something, and I’m doing it too, that is a good time to examine myself to see if I’m really in the faith. If people don’t look at me and think I am peculiar (1 Peter 2:9) — if I fit right in with our culture and no one can tell I am any different — then I am probably doing something wrong.
The Bible doesn’t say that we should have less up do with darkness than other people do; it says have nothing to do with evil. By even acknowledging and associating with the holiday, I was giving credence to it in my life and opening myself to deception.
It is my prayer that everyone who follows Christ will be open to prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom about the traditions of man.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” —Ephesians 5:6-10
Here are additional Bible verses you can review as you prayerfully seek God’s wisdom regarding whether your family should continue to celebrate Halloween: