!! A BIBLICAL ANALYSIS FROM THE ART OF FAMILY LIVING
Though Halloween has become prominent in America only within the past two or three generations, its origins are ancient. Halloween was originally called “Samhain” - a pagan Celtic celebration that focused on death. The heathen Celtic tribesmen, who lived in the British Isles, especially Ireland, and parts of Western Europe, especially France, believed that ghosts and other spirit-beings visited the land of the living on Samhain Eve, October 31, so they presented offerings to them on that night.
B. Samhain/Halloween: An Ancient Pagan Celebration
1.Samhain celebrated the Celtic New Year and marked the transition from the Celts’ summer goddess to the horned god of the winter solstice.
2.A festival of the dead-the Celts believed that the spirits of the dead and other spirit-beings (demons) were participants in their Samhain (Halloween) celebrations.
3. Druids-priests of the Celtic tribes who celebrated Halloween. According to ancient Christian missionaries, human sacrifices were part of their worship.
4. Pagan origin of familiar Halloween practices
a. Trick-or-treat-families would put out food for the ghosts and demons so they would not harm them.
b. Jack-o’-lanterns-started out as carved images of spirit-beings. Originally, a light was put into a turnip or potato which had an ugly face carved into it. One purpose of the jack-o’-lanterns was probably to frighten the spirits who were thought to invade the earth on Halloween night into going back to the world of the dead.
c. Bonfires-a look at the dictionary will reveal that the origin of this work is “bone-fire”-referring to large fires containing bones. Why bonfires? To help the sun “survive” the winter; to frighten off evil spirits; used for animals, and possibly human sacrifices.
d. Bobbing for apples-began as a technique of divination. In some areas, this tradition continues.
e. Bizarre costumes-The Celts hid themselves in ghoulish disguises at Halloween so that wandering spirits would mistake them for one of their own and pass by without incident. Masked villagers representing the souls of the dead also attempted to trick the spirits by forming a Parade and leading them to the town limits.
f. Skeletons, skulls, and corpses-these naturally belong to Halloween as a festival celebrating death.
g. Bats and owls-have been associated with Halloween since ancient times; the pagan Celts believed owls were able to communicate with the dead.
h. Goblins, demons, ghosts, ghouls-these were thought by the ancient Celtic pagans to have special freedom to travel about among the living at Halloween.
C. Halloween and the Christian Church
1. Strong opposition to Halloween-The ancient Christians rejected and detested his idolatrous festival.
2. All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days as alternatives to Halloween- To provide a Christian alternative, churches began to celebrate the Feast of All Hallows, or All Saints, and the Feast of All Souls at the same time of year as the pagan holiday. Samhain picked up the name “Halloween” from the feast of All Hallows, but it has ever been a Christian holiday. Many popular Halloween activities actually come from paganism and demon-worship.
D. Halloween in America
1. Why do Americans celebrate Halloween?
Many parents are uncomfortable with the gruesome aspects of Halloween, but eel reluctant to deprive their children of a holiday that seems so much a part of American life. But Halloween is not really an American holiday at all. The little Pilgrim children never learned to say “Trick or treat!” When he was a boy, George Washington never went out hunting for candy on October 31, and Abraham Lincoln ever dressed up as a pirate or a robber to celebrate Halloween. This holiday was not nationally known and observed until the middle of the 1800’s, when a large wave of immigrants from Celtic areas of Europe brought the old Halloween customs with hem.
2. In American South, the occult practices of voodoo and Santeria influenced common Halloween practices.
3. Changing American Halloween practices and attitudes
a. Halloween became more and more violent over the years, until in the 1920’s community leaders became very concerned about “the Halloween problem.”
b. In response to the destructiveness of Halloween pranks, the ancient Halloween custom of trick-or-treating was reintroduced. Halloween as we know it-a children’s holiday-is largely a creation of the 1950’s.
Many of us were raised to think of witches as mythological characters, found only in fairy tales and cartoons. And that was close to the truth. Until the last half of this century, there was little interest in witchcraft in the U.S. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Some Halloween witches are for real! In fact, Halloween is one of the most important days of the year for witches. So before you send your little ones off to celebrate with make-believe witches, pause to reflect: actual witches are celebrating the same holiday in earnest.
B. Occult Practices associated with Halloween today
1. Witchcraft- As newspaper articles from around the country attest each October, modern witches are deeply devoted to the celebration of Halloween. Some witches are anxious to “reclaim” Halloween as a serious religious holiday devoted to communion with the dead and other occult practices.
2. Satanism- Halloween is one of the Satanists’ two most important “unholy days.”
3. Neo-paganism- Neo-pagans, who sometimes enter occultism through involvement in feminism or environmental activism, often also consider Halloween one of their two highest holidays.
4. Spiritism- Serious and well-publicized attempts to contact the dead are held each Halloween.
C. Violence and Terror
1. Violence in our communities- Violence is an annual Halloween tradition in New York City and many other communities across the country, as newspaper reports from recent Halloweens indicate. Extra police patrols are needed; students are sometimes afraid to go to school on Halloween for fear of violence.
2. Poisoned candy, razor blades in apples, etc- “Keep treats in the bag untilchildren get home. Cut and examine all fruit. Throw away all unwrapped candy. Remember that some hospitals X-ray Halloween candy free.” From a Halloween warning to parents, The New York Times.
3. Halloween-related events, such as “Mischief Night” and “Devil’s Night,” spread violence and destruction across the country.
D. Secular responses to the dangers of Halloween
Special police units have been created to talk to parents about Halloween; special pamphlets on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of Halloween are available at some police stations in October.
E. Halloween is increasingly an adult holiday that encourages youngsters to drink
Anti-drug-abuse activists have complained about the destructive influence on children of Halloween advertising (for alcoholic beverages, etc.) supposedly aimed at adults.
F. Halloween is a time when it is easy to introduce children to drug abuse and other harmful practices
Police have warned that children can be especially easily lured or swayed at Halloween, so that parents should be on the lookout for strangers or drug dealers.
THE LURE OF THE OCCULT
A. Extent of Occult beliefs among young people
In a Gallop poll of teenagers ages 13-17, twenty-nine percent said they believed in witchcraft; twenty-two percent indicated that they believed in ghosts; fully half of the respondents expressed belief in ESP.
B. Growing Occult influences on children
As the supernatural has become an increasing part of teen-age culture through movies and music, and as interest in occultism has mushroomed among teenagers, a growing number of American teenagers appear to be embracing the morbid, pagan rituals of Halloween year-round.
C. Halloween’s cumulative influence on children
Counselor Wendell Amstutz remarks, “I know that people will say, ‘It’s once a year, or just for a few week.’ As a counselor, I know much can be and is learned in just a few weeks. Repeated year after year, the few weeks of celebration of Halloween can leave a significant impact.”
HALLOWEEN: HOW TO RESPOND
A. Understanding what the Bible says
Hate evil-don’t delight in it. God views witchcraft and all other occult activities as evil:
“You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” Ex. 22:18
“Give no regards to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God .” Lev 19:31
“And the person who turns after mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set my face against that person, and cut him off from his people.” Lev 20:6
“....he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.” 2 Chron 33:6
“Now the works of the flesh of evident, which are ......idolatry, sorcery, hatred.... and the like.......that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:20
Halloween Tracts On-line or to Order
Boo! (a tract)
The Trick (a tract)
Happy Halloween (a tract)
Still Not Convinced?
Annie's Halloween Page
A Little Door to a Big Temptation
Kid's Treat or Pagan Trick?
A Christian Prespective on Halloween: Hallowed or Harmful?
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Ten Reasons Christians Should Not Celebrate Halloween
Halloween - A Christian Perspective