Unfortunately, with all of its goblins and fairies, treats and tomfoolery, Halloween has become an annual ritual that all children look forward to but don't fully understand. This is where the Christian parent can step in and educate their children about the secular holiday and as a Christian family determine whether or not they will continue participating in traditional Halloween activities.
The purpose of the following information is not to condemn any believer who chooses to celebrate Halloween, but rather to provide insightful information regarding its origins, and to offer positive alternatives for those who choose to no longer participate.
In Ephesians 6:12, the Apostle Paul instructs the church that their battle is not with enemies in the flesh, but rather "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Since humans live in a physical world they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, many people often rely on their physical senses to make judgments. But when it comes to the tactics of Satan, he often will disguise something that appears relatively innocent and harmless to the eyes, but carries heavy connections with the demonic realm. Halloween fits that description.
In today's society, those that are part of the occult view Halloween as an important holiday for practicing the black arts. Seances, Ouija boards and tarot cards are as much a part of their observance of Halloween as decorated trees, colored lights and fruitcake are of Christmas. While most Christian families will strongly agree that God does not approve of such activities, they may not realize that by participating in the celebration of Halloween they are identifying themselves with the holiday that echoes a pagan belief in other gods and goddesses.
It should be understood among Christian families that Halloween is a time that was set aside for the purpose of looking to and honoring a god other than the One true God. The original festivals included contacting the spirits of the dead, divination, animal sacrifices and other sacred rituals.
Even though those activities may not be as prevalent today, what does take place does not represent the ministry of Jesus Christ. Whether it is thanking Mother Nature for the bountiful harvest, or pacifying ancient Celtic fairies, Halloween was never intended to be a Christ-centered holiday and therefore should be replaced with more wholesome and positive activities instead of dressing in ghoulish and gory costumes and touring haunted houses. The following are some suggestions for a more Christ-centered observance of the end of October. A family could choose to do just one, or all in one day, for a fun and memorable fall event:
- Have a Family Fun night, complete with movie, hot apple cider and old-fashioned popcorn.
- Make fall-oriented treats to enjoy together, like popcorn balls, caramel apples, pumpkin pie or homemade taffy.
- Design the home in fall decorations, like wreaths made from real dried leaves, miniature gourds and pumpkins, Indian corn and dishes of fun candies like candy corn, cinnamon drops and mini peanut butter cups.
- Participate in a Harvest Carnival or Harvest Party at a local church. This is an excellent alternative to trick-or-treating. Children can still dress up in wholesome costumes, like pirates and princesses, and come home with a whole bag of treats given out at the carnival.
- Spend the afternoon at a local farm where there are animals, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, face painting and more. This kind of activity gets the whole family excited about fall and the approaching Thanksgiving season.
Unfortunately, because many holidays occur the same time year after year, they have lost much of their original meaning and significance and become simply traditions that people take for granted. Halloween is one such holiday, an Americanized and commercialized version of a pagan holiday that is based on the beliefs and practices of the ancient Celts. But Christians have the opportunity to celebrate the harvest season by giving it new meaning and significance, one that promotes positive spiritual growth, and is grounded in their faith in Jesus Christ.
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