A Biblical Response to Halloween
Witches and Satanists are, of course, a small but growing minority. More and more people who celebrate Halloween these days are aware of the darkness that underlies most Halloween practices. However, there are still many who never give a thought about the evil that is behind Halloween’s evil practices.
A beaming child dressed in a black pointed hat and matching gown – with a wart carefully drawn on her nose and a trick-or-treat bag held tightly in her hand – is hardly thinking of death or the spirits of departed relatives. Nor should she be. She’s thinking of candy and fun. She’s glowing because of her delight in her special costume. And she’s anticipating the adventure of her house-to-house pilgrimage.
Merchants also look forward to October 31. The sale of candy, costumes, decorations, and party goods make Halloween one of the major retail seasons of the year.
Surely, no one can deny children or adults all the Halloween fun simply because of its unsavory history. Can there really be anything wrong with this lighthearted revelry?
What does the Bible have to say, if anything, about celebrating Halloween? In Corinth, meat that had been sacrificed to idols was sold in the market. People who bought it then ate it in honor of that particular pagan god. Speaking of his freedom to eat food that a pagan had dedicated to an idol, the apostle Paul said, “Everything is permissible” (I Corinthians 10:23). After all, he didn’t believe the pagan gods really existed.
If we apply Paul’s statement to the celebration of Halloween, then one could argue that Christians can dress in ghostly costumes and practice the traditions that have been passed down from the ancient Celts. After all, the supernatural powers they tried to appease don’t have power over those who belong to Christ. The Bible says that Jesus destroyed the power of death when He went to the cross. By Jesus’ death and resurrection, anyone who gives his or her life to Jesus doesn’t need to fear evil.
But Paul didn’t stop with a statement of his freedom. He said, “‘Everything is permissible’ – but not everything is beneficial.” It is in this light that Christians need to examine how to observe Halloween.
Three Reasons to Examine How You Celebrate Halloween:
1. What may not hurt you may hurt others.
Paul said that it wouldn’t harm a Christian to eat meat sacrificed to an idol. After all, the pagan gods that the meat had been sacrificed to weren’t real gods. In the same light, he probably would say that Christians are not prohibited from dressing in costumes and going trick-or-treating or attending Halloween parties. After all, “We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one” (I Corinthians 8:4).
But Paul went on to say that by doing what the believer was free in the Lord to do, the believer may be distressing another believer who doesn’t realize he has this freedom. “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (I Corinthians 8:9). The weak ones would be those who still had problems with the idea of eating the food sacrificed to idols.
During Halloween, little children in particular are the weak ones. On TV, in movies, in school, and with their playmates, many children today are exposed to occult influences. We may be opening our children to these influences if we approve of these things in Halloween fun. We adults may be fully aware that we are only spoofing witches and ghosts, but the young may not be so sure.
If we have given our lives to Jesus Christ, then our eternal destiny is safe in the hands of Almighty God. But that’s not true of most of the people around us.
There is a valid reason for most people to fear a “lord of death” — even if they don’t take him seriously on Halloween. We who have found life in Jesus should be careful that our freedom doesn’t keep others from finding that same eternal life.
2. Some permissible things may hinder your Christian growth.
The Bible encourages us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). This one night of the year, most eyes are not fixed on Jesus but on a darker image. The Christian’s “race of faith” leads him to eternal life, to a joy that has no shadow. Should we really be focusing on the devil, witches and other dark beings, even for one night?
3. God says, “Don’t imitate evil!”
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium, or spiritist or who consults the dead? (Deuteronomy 18:9-11).
If our children dress as witches and sorcerers, if we hang cardboard ghosts in our windows, if we entertain with tales of ghouls and haunted houses – what are we doing but imitating that which is evil? We need to make it clear as Christians that witches and evil spirits are not funny and are not harmless, even if the people in witch costumes are only play-acting.
You might want to read my booklet on Halloween. You can order it online at: Halloween