Do Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Yes and No. Many Christians do. Many Christians do not. In light of this reality, we must consider a slightly different question: Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Halloween finds its origins in an ancient Celtic festival 'Samhain.' This pagan festival was celebrated each year on November first and marked the beginning of the new year. Crops were harvested, cattle were stabled, daylight hours were growing shorter, and the season of darkness arrived as Samhain, the lord of Death, rose in power. The Celts believed that during Samhain the veil between the spiritual world and the physical world was at its thinnest. Wild spirits, ghosts and deities were free to roam the earth and could cast evil spells upon people, causing them harm or death.
To ensure that they did not become a victim of these evil forces of darkness, people would disguise themselves by wearing masks. They would also engage in sorcery and offer food sacrifices, animal sacrifices—and yes—even human sacrifices, to lord Samhain to satisfy his dark, devilish desires for death. This, however, is something the Holy Bible clearly forbids.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says, “10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” Knowing that the Bible flatly condemned the pagan rituals that were part of Samhain, the eigth century pope, Gregory IV, tried to reform this pagan festival. Samhain was renamed “All Saints' Day” and the preceding evening was named “All Hallows Eve” or “Halloween.”
How successful were the Pope's attempts to turn people away from the dark spirituality that pervaded the original pagan Samhain festival? Not very. Many people of his own day carried right on with the pagan rituals that pervaded this festival, and these pagan rituals continue today. Although many modern Halloween costumes are cute, colorful cartoon characters, Halloween continues to be dominated by symbols of darkness and death. Look around your neighborhood and what kinds of things do you see decorating—or should I say disgracing—many front yards? Skeletons and skulls. Ghosts, goblins and graves. Bats, bones and dismembered body parts. All manner of symbols of darkness and death; few, if any, symbols of light and life.
Now, back to the question: Should Christians participate in this festival? The Bible says “God is light” (1 John 1:5), that He “dwells in unapproachable light” (1Tim.6:16), and that “there is no darkness in Him at all” (1 John 1:5). The Bible also describes Christians as lights: “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness” (1Thess.5:5; cf. Mat.5:14; Acts 13:47; Eph.5:8). Finally, Jesus Himself says, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; cf. 1:1-5; 3:19; 12:46).
The Bible also says God is the author and fountain of life (Gen.2:7; Psa.36:9; Act.3:15), and Jesus Himself declares that He is the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35), “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), and “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6; cf. 1:4). The Bible also speaks of Christians as those whose inherit eternal life because their names are written in the “Book of Life” (Rev.3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27).
The Bible clearly depicts both God and His people as light and life. Halloween is pervaded by symbols of darkness and death. Should Christians celebrate Halloween? Scripture has spoken. You decide.
But even more important than the question of whether or not you should celebrate Halloween is the question of where you will spend eternity. The Bible teaches that we are all sinners who deserve the destiny of eternal darkness and eternal death in hell. However, the Good News of the Gospel is this: On the cross Jesus endured the darkness of God's wrath and entered the realm of the dead in order to conquer the powers of darkness and death; and—conquer them He did! Three days later He rose back to life! He then ascended into heaven, the kingdom of eternal life, where there is no need of sun or moon to shine because the glory of God is its light (Rev.21:23; 22:5). And Jesus assures you that you too will gain entrance into His kingdom of eternal light and life if you believe this. He says in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.”