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Should Christians Celebrate Halloween

by Josh Stilwell | Published October 21, 2021

It’s that time of year again. You can’t walk into your local grocery store without seeing an array of ghosts, zombies, witches, jack-o-lanterns, and scarecrows. The Halloween season is upon us. And so Christians begin to wonder where they fit into all this. Is this a holiday that Christians can or should participate in?

The Origins Of Halloween And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter

There’s no real clear consensus on where Halloween comes from. The experts debate the relationship between the pagan Celtic holiday Samhain, the Christian All Souls’ Day, and contemporary Halloween. But I’m not sure it actually matters. 

The fact is, Western civilization used to be pagan. And so it should not be scandalous to discover that there are still vestiges of paganism in our calendar. I’m not especially concerned that the fifth day of the week was dedicated to Thor or that the week ends with a tribute to the god Saturn. 

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For the same reason, I’m not particularly troubled by the allegations that Easter and Christmas also have pagan origins (by the way, there’s some recent, serious scholarship that is putting doubt on those allegations). I don’t really care what pagan Romans celebrated on December 25th. As for me and my house, we celebrate the incarnation of the Eternal Word. Even the non-Christian elements of the “American folk holiday” Christmas are at worst just distracting. There’s nothing innately evil about Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman.

When determining the morality of a holiday, the question is not where it came from but what it celebrates. And this is  my qualm with Halloween. I’m not worried about its pagan past. I’m worried about its pagan present. All holidays celebrate something. What does Halloween celebrate? A simple look at the decorations, media, and costumes give us the answer. Halloween is the exaltation of fear, the occult, and death. 

So let’s reframe the original question. Instead of asking, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween”, let’s ask, “Should Christians celebrate fear, the occult, and death?” Fear does not originate in God (2 Timothy 1:7). Witchcraft is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:20). Death is a defeated foe (1 Corinthians 15:54). None of them have any positive role in the Christian’s life. And there’s something very wrong with a culture that feels the need to dedicate a month to the worship of that diabolical trilogy. 

Perhaps you’re thinking, “But I’ve found a way for my kids to dress up in cute costumes and get free candy without celebrating fear, the occult, and death.” That’s fine. But you’re not really celebrating Halloween at that point. It’s more of a Cute-Costume-And-Free-Candy-Day. Which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. 

But I’d like to throw out a caution to those who participate in a sanitized Halloween. Everyone knows that Christians are supposed to love their neighbors. This means not contributing to activities that are destroying your neighbors. Our culture is being overrun by a zombie apocalypse of fear, witchcraft, and death. It is threatening the survival of our society and securing souls in the grip of the devil. Don’t feed the zombies. 

My Holiday Can Beat Up Your Holiday (Or, Halloween Is For Losers)

Modern Halloween is a celebration of all things frightening, occultic, and destructive. These are the enemies of the true Christian. But believers don’t need to fear these foes, for they are defeated. The world’s holiday was defeated by the church’s holidays.

Fear was defeated by Christmas. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:8). And God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Perfect Love became flesh and dwelt among us. Because of the Incarnation, love, not fear, can reign in our hearts. Because of Christmas, we can triumph over fear.

The occult was defeated by Good Friday. Magick is a false gospel. It is an attempt to tyrannically manipulate the universe to get what we want. It is an act of unlawful power. But it was broken by a greater power. The power of a bloody cross. The cross defeated principalities and powers and shamed them publicly. What the occult vainly and destructively seeks, the believer finds at the foot of the cross. 

Death is defeated by Easter. Necromancy is a mockery of the resurrection. But it’s a pathetic substitute. Jesus rose from the dead and so will all who are in him. One day, the graveyards will be filled by people who were once dead. But they will not be zombies or ghosts. They will be more real and alive then they’ve ever been. On Easter (I prefer Resurrection Sunday, but I’m not picky about it. See my above comments about Thursday.), Jesus defeated all the vampires and ghouls. He defeated the grave itself. So this October when you pass a yard full of skeletons and undead monsters, give it a mocking wink. They’re a defeated foe pathetically trying to act like they’re winning.

Conclusion

The celebration of Halloween is a decision that must be made on a household level. But as for me and my house, we’ve chosen not to participate in a holiday that celebrates attributes that are opposed to God and God’s people. But we don’t need to fear Halloween. It’s been vanquished by Christ and far better holidays put in its place.

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    […] set about one of the greatest shifts in Christian history. Though October 31st is known for another holiday, to me it will always be Reformation Day. It’s a day to remember our past and look to our […]

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