Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

There seems to be a controversy among many Christian sects when it comes to Halloween. Some are fine with the holiday, as long as congregants don’t get too out of hand. Some change the holiday name and opt instead to host Harvest Parties or Fall Festivals. Others denounce the holiday all together as worship of the devil.

History of Halloween

Halloween as its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). It was a time to celebrate the end of the harvest season, take stock of supplies, and prepare for winter. The Celts believes that on October 31, the boundaries between the spiritual and physical realms overlapped, and spirits could then walk the earth to cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The Celts put on masks and lit bonfires to scare away the evil spirits.

When the Roman Empire conquered the Celts in 43 A.D., Samhain was assimilated into two Roman holidays: Feralia, a day to honor the dead, and another holiday to celebrate Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

Skip ahead to the 700’s and Pope Gregory III declared November 1 as “All Saints Day” or “All Hallows” as a day to honor all the saints, both known and unknown. October 31, then, became known as “All Hallows Eve,” or “Halloween” for short, and was a holiday celebrated among many Christians, even to this day.

What the Bible Says

The bible obviously does not clearly say if one should celebrate Halloween or not, as the holiday did not yet exist, but an example is found in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33.

In the city of Corinth, people would offer sacrifices to idols and then sell the meat in the marketplace or eat it in the temple. Some early Christians disagreed with this practice on three main objections:

  • There was no other real God except Yahweh;
  • Any other god was considered a demon;
  • Scriptures state clearly that we should have nothing to do with demons.

It is the same argument made against Halloween.

Paul agreed with the Corinthian believers that they should not associate with demons and forbid them from eating meat sacrificed to idols within the temples. Such an act would cause those of lesser faith to stumble and violate their conscience. However, He did allow them to eat meat bought in the marketplace, even if it had been sacrificed to demons.

Paul’s reasoning: Everything is the Lord’s.

He did not see the meat as belonging to idols, but as to the Lord. The meat was a gift from God and could neither bring you closer to God or push you further away. It was a deeper level of faith that saw everything as redeemed by God.

Halloween Application

The same is true for Halloween. Christ came not only to redeem us, but all of creation. He is the author of joy, and created everything for our enjoyment. Dressing up in costumes, playing games with friends, going door to door asking neighbors for candy is not demonic worship. It does not defile us in God’s eyes to have fun.

Now, there are obvious sinful activities we shouldn’t take part in: drunkenness, sexual immortality, anything demonic (such as Ouija boards, seances, sacrifices), or even dressing up inappropriately and ruining your reputation among believers and unbelievers. But celebrating Halloween in a fun, joyful manor is not sin, nor is it demonic.

Understand, though, that just because something is permissible, does not mean it is beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12). If celebrating Halloween violates your conscience, makes you feel defiled, goes against what you believe, or is a stumbling block for your friends or family, it is best for you to abstain. We should never take part in any activity that violates our conscience before God or causes other people to sin against their own conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9).

The best approach to take is to pray and ask God if you should participate in Halloween. He will guide you in the path that is best for you.

Do you celebrate Halloween?

* This post was inspired by one of similar name from The Village Church blog.

3 replies
  1. Stephen Haggerty
    Stephen Haggerty says:

    Great thoughts, Jason. I think in terms of living missionally, Halloween is a great holiday to tap into the lives of the families in your neighborhood. Whether it’s inviting people to your church’s “harvest festival” or having some of the neighbors over for the holiday, it’s a great chance to open some doors to new relationships.

    • Jason Vana
      Jason Vana says:

      I agree, Stephen. When we condemn the holiday and try to avoid it, we miss out on the opportunity to impact our neighborhood. There are limits to what we should do – I wouldn’t dress up kids in a devil costume or something like that, but dressing up and asking for candy isn’t evil.

  2. Robert Peek
    Robert Peek says:

    I agree that prayer is solution. We do not want to put stumbling blocks before our brothers and sisters in Christ. Having a “harvest festival” at church and or coming as your favorite biblical character, would be the opposite of dressing as a demon. The key to this is to tell our children the truth about such times. A child coming up dressed as a biblical character, would definately “Open the door” of opportunity to witness.

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