By Rebekah Drumsta, Crosswalk.com
Traditionally, October 31, which is named Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve, has been considered a pagan holiday. On All Hallows’ Eve, it is said that the souls and spirits of the dead are given the ability to roam the Earth. All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows’ Day, was a religious feast day celebrated on November 1. The feasting was to honor the Saints. Although there are differing beliefs as to its origin, everyone seems to agree on a connection to the ancient Celts over 2,000 years ago. Yet, many Christians have always been left wondering if they should celebrate Halloween.
Many Christians now celebrate Reformation Day on November 1, in place of Halloween, because it is the day Martin Luther chose to nail his 95 theses to the church doors. Some church communities choose to host a Trunk-or-Treat, which is considered an acceptable alternative to door-to-door Trick-or-Treating.
Members of the church decorate the trunks of their cars and hand out candy to children, it is expected that scary costumes and décor not attend. Other churches hold a Fall Festival on the evening of October 31. A fall-themed atmosphere and carnival-style booths help to mask the fact it is actually Halloween, except for all the people dressed in costume with children getting candy.
Still, other Christians believe in ignoring the day altogether — they turn off their porch light to avoid Trick-or-Treaters and go about business as usual.
Those who practice witchcraft, Satan worship, or who consider themselves Pagan or Wiccan may still celebrate All Hallows’ Eve in a more traditional way, which includes many rituals to connect with the dead.
Clearly, Halloween is a controversial topic for Christian communities. Can a Christian celebrate Halloween in good conscience?
Is Halloween "Bad" Holiday?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
As a girl growing up, Halloween was generally viewed as a bad holiday. I still remember listening to the Adventures in Odyssey episode, “What Are We Going To Do About Halloween?” where they warned about the evils of Halloween as well as hearing similar teachings at church too.
We were taught to be afraid of evil things. Spirits, skeletons, and all manner of scary things were Satanic and to be avoided at all costs. Fun fact: The term Holy Spirit is mentioned at least 90 times in the Bible.
Typically, on Halloween night we would have something fun to eat and gather around the TV to watch an old scary movie. Although once, I did attend a “haunted church” hosted for the youth group by our church staff. Some years, my family would hand out candy to anyone who knocked on the door, and often a gospel tract would accompany the candy. We were pretty much like all the other Christians within our circles.
Now, in my own home, we do participate in Halloween festivities. For us, Halloween is not a celebration of fear or death — God kicked those to the curb through Jesus. We celebrate family being silly together. We celebrate the community around us. We celebrate dress-up. We celebrate sweetness. We celebrate life in all its abundance!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
We believe that Jesus can take what was intended for evil and flip it right around for good. History tells us that Halloween started out full of evil and fear, death, and torment. Those are things that my Lord has defeated. They no longer have a grip on me or little superheroes and princesses.
Sin breaks and kills — Jesus brings back to life. Fear lies to us — Jesus is the Truth.
But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10).
Redeeming Halloween for Christians
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).
If your background includes witchcraft or a world revolving around the dark side to Halloween, I promise, I get it. I am not saying Halloween cannot be used for the unspeakable. Halloween might well be traumatizing for you, and with good reason.
I am terribly sorry for what you have experienced — but, I do challenge you to see how our God is bigger than evil and bigger than sin. Do not let fear continue to keep you captive.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
How and why we “do” Halloween has been actively taught in my home, in fact, I have heard it repeated straight out of the mouths of babes — while in the checkout line, with Halloween décor everywhere, with a line of people around — the week before Halloween, “Why do people have to have blood and scary stuff at Halloween? Jesus brings life and beat death; don’t they know that?”
Well, do they? That’s the point! The cross was not pretty. There was pain and suffering, blood, and violence. Do the people around you know that Jesus’ life-giving sacrifice on the cross completely crushed death? That the agony and misery and terror celebrated every year on October 31 was already lived out by Jesus and it is finished?
Should Christians really celebrate Halloween? Yes, you can because the blood of Jesus has redeemed Halloween.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
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Rebekah Drumsta’s work has been globally reaching by serving with various nonprofits and organizations. Her background is diverse including educational and online content development, event coordinating, international relations, and public speaking. Currently, Rebekah delights in being a homeschool mom and Life Coach. She serves as Director of PR for an international non-profit while also hosting her personal blog, RebekahDrumsta.com which focuses on recovery after religious trauma and spiritual abuse. Rebekah holds a BA in Urban Ministry and Family Crisis with a Christian Counseling Minor, an MA in Religious Education, and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. She has made appearances on and consulted with sources including BBC, NBC, ABC, The Daily Telegraph, and a variety of other platforms.