Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
I enjoy your in-depth well written and researched articles. Could you please do an article about Halloween? It’s origins and if Christians should or should not participate in this day?
Love in Christ,
Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the articles and other Bible-related materials.
And yes, that pensive-looking kid in the middle of the photo above, dressed in that skeleton costume, is me, about 58 years ago.
In answering, I hope you don’t mind me running you around a bit through the Bible, as well as through a few non-Biblical examples of why I’m not buying into all of the anti-Halloween hysteria.
I think the best way to answer this question is to try to see things through a slightly larger lens than just Halloween. All too much of the anti-Halloween rhetoric I’ve seen recently is based largely on superstition. And Christians should not be allowing superstition to guide their lives.
First let me say that as an adult, I’ve never celebrated Halloween. Not because I think it’s evil. But instead, because it’s largely for kids. And I think grown adults who still celebrate Halloween — costume parties, etc. — are, in a sense, operating in a state of arrested development.
As St. Paul wrote:
1Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against having fun. I’m not a stick-in-the-mud about these things. If playing “dress-up” is what trips some adult’s trigger, then fine. Have at it. I understand a lot of adults in certain social circles like to attend costume balls, for example. But as a grown man, it’s just not my thing. I don’t get any kick out of playing “dress up.”
I’m not condemning it. I’m just asking, at what age do we grow up and quit playing “dress up”?
Is Halloween Evil, and Should Parents Restrict their Kids from It?
Of course, most Christians inquiring about celebrating Halloween are Christian parents wanting to do right by God, and wondering if it’s okay to allow their children to enjoy the holiday. So let’s take a look at that:
I’ve seen a lot of material on the internet this year about Halloween being “evil.” Some say it’s “the devil’s holy day.” Some say if you celebrate Halloween you’re inviting evil spirits into your life and are participating in “the occult” and are thus a massive disappointment to God.
I saw a video from one guy claiming to be a former devil worshipper who had repented and turned to Christianity, claiming “I can’t believe any Christian parents would allow their children to celebrate Halloween,” as if allowing your children to put on a costume and go collect candy with their friends is something done in service to the devil.
And another author listed a dozen or so reasons why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, with most of his criticisms centering around the supposed “occult” nature of the holiday.
You Can Make Anything “Evil”
I really don’t buy into any of that. You can make “evil” out of just about anything. There doesn’t have to be a special day for it.
It reminds me of the people who, for example, use ravens as symbols of death. You see it in a lot of television shows and scary movies these days, to the point that almost everyone thinks of these particular black birds are evil harbingers of death and destruction, or at the very least, of bad luck. And yes, in occult circles, that’s what they symbolize.
But what do we know about ravens from a Biblical perspective? Let’s take a look:
1Ki 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
1Ki 17:2 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
1Ki 17:3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
1Ki 17:4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
1Ki 17:5 So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
1Ki 17:6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
Okay. So while people who produce horror movies and scary TV shows, or people who dabble in the occult, might use ravens as symbols of evil incarnate, Biblically-speaking the ravens were God’s chosen entities to keep the prophet Elijah alive and well-fed during a period of time in which he had to hide for his life from the wicked king Ahab.
In other words, instead of representing death, Biblically-speaking they actually represented life — Elijah’s life!
And that’s what I mean when I say you can make something “evil” or “occult” out of just about anything. Biblically, ravens are associated with a Godly miracle that kept the prophet Elijah alive at a time when he needed to remain well hidden from the ruthless military forces of king Ahab. But in secular society, ravens are typically associated with death, destruction and evil.
And why are ravens so often associated with evil and death? It’s because they’re usually seen feeding on carrion (i.e., dead animals). In other words, they’re one of the many types of animals God created as a means of cleaning up dead, rotting flesh before it spreads infection and disease to humans. They’re in essence one of the nature’s “vacuum cleaners.”
So once again, we see that while ravens are used as symbols of death in the occult, in reality, ravens were put here by God to help save human lives.
So just because someone who’s into the occult uses ravens as a symbol of death doesn’t mean they actually are. It’s a man-made superstition with no Biblical basis. It’s not a reality.
Likewise, Halloween has occult overtones, but only for people who deal with the occult. For some of those folks, it’s a “high holy day” for their occult practices.
But Christians aren’t occultists. For Christians, Halloween is not some kind of religious holiday or celebration. It’s not a Biblical “holy day.” It’s just a fun day for dressing up in costumes, and participating in community events, or just plain going “trick-or-treating.”
Another Example of Something Perfectly Good Being Considered Evil and Occult
Another example of something that, in reality, is quite good, but is being associated by Christians with the occult, are the symbols on the U.S. dollar bill.
You’ll find many Christian-oriented websites claiming that the “all-seeing eye” above the pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar bill, is a “Satanic, Illuminati symbol” representing the occult Eye of Horus, with the pyramid representing the building of the Illuminati’s One-World Order.
They also claim the Latin words above the pyramid, Annuit Coeptis, means “favor our undertakings” and is a plea from the Illuminati occultists to the devil, in their hopes of building a one world order. They further claim that the Latin words found in the scroll under the pyramid, Novus Ordo Seclorum, means “New World Order.”
And if you believe all of that, you’re certainly welcome to send me all of your evil, occult, Illuminati U.S. dollar bills — I’ll take them all, and I’ll be happy to dispose of them for you, properly. After all, I could use a new pair of shoes right about now. And my house insurance payment is due, soon.
But let’s take a quick look at the reality regarding the symbols on the back of the U.S. dollar:
While the Latin phrase Annuit Coeptis does indeed mean “Favor Our Undertakings,” it’s a plea to God, not to the devil. Taken in the context it was originally designed to be taken in, the phrase means “[God] favors our undertakings,” and was in reference to our founding fathers seeking to build the first truly “free” nation as an example to all other nations around the world.
What’s more, the phrase Novus Ordo Seclorum found under the pyramid on the dollar bill means “New Order of the Ages,” and refers to America being the very beginning of a new order in which people willingly govern themselves through a system of Constitutional representation rather than having monarchs ruling over them like tin-pot dictators who micro-manage every aspect of their lives, including their religious beliefs.
Likewise, the all-seeing eye above the pyramid represents our heavenly Father, who oversaw the founding of this country, and who continues to oversee its progress. As Wikipedia so aptly puts it:
“The Eye of Providence can be seen on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, seen on the US $1 bill. The Eye of Providence (or the all-seeing eye of God) is a symbol, having its origin in Christian iconography, showing an eye often surrounded by rays of light or a glory and usually enclosed by a triangle. It represents the eye of God watching over humanity (the concept of divine providence).”
Yes, the Illuminati stole that “eye” and began using it in their own symbology, for their own nefarious purposes. But when the design was originally made for the U.S. dollar bill, it was never meant in any “occult” manner.
But what about the pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar? Isn’t that an occult symbol representing the power and longevity of the Egyptian mystery religions?
Well…no. At least, not Biblically speaking. According to the Bible, we know that the pyramid represents “an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.” As it’s written:
Isa 19:19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.
Isa 19:20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
In other words, the Egyptian pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar bill doesn’t represent the ancient Egyptian mystery religions, as some would have you believe.
Instead, it represents God’s eternal altar…His leading of His people out of Egyptian captivity and into freedom and liberty…and His only begotten Son who would come “out of Egypt” (Matthew 2:14-15) and would be willingly sacrificed for our sins, and then rise from the dead, that we might live eternally in Him. (See E. Raymond Capt’s little book, The Great Pyramid Decoded,” for more fascinating information on the pyramid.)
And that’s why the all-seeing eye of God — our heavenly Father — is found over the pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar. So once again, just because a symbol such as the all-seeing eye was usurped and used for other purposes by occultists, doesn’t mean the symbol itself, as used on the U.S. dollar, is actually evil or occult. Quite the contrary.
The devil steals and imitates all that which is Godly, and uses it for his own purposes. But Christians don’t have to go along with the devil. We don’t throw away our dollar bills just because there are supposedly “occult” symbols on them. Instead, we learn the true facts, don’t allow silly superstitions to rule our lives, and live maturely within the context of God’s Word to the best of our abilities.
Another Quick Example of Silly Christian Superstition
I’ve had friends in the past who have refused to rent a house or apartment because the address had three sixes in it. One gentleman ended up renting a home he couldn’t afford, because the one he could afford had three sixes in the address, so he turned it down. And he struggled for months to keep his rent paid, because of his silly superstition about the three sixes.
But a mature Christian would realize that just because the address of a home you want to rent is “2666 Mockingbird Lane” (and yes, I made that address up), it’s not a reflection of the spiritual quality of the home. In fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with it.
You see, you’re the one who makes the home either good or evil, spiritually speaking. If you’re a Christian who follows the Lord’s Word, then it’s likely going to be a very blessed home, vibrant with the Spirit of God in its midst.
God doesn’t look at the address. He looks at the quality of the character of the residents of the home. So let your good character infuse that home with God’s goodness. And don’t worry about the numbers in the address. You’re a Christian, for goodness sakes. Don’t be superstitious.
Eat that Steak!
It’s kind of like St. Paul, who advised that if you’re hungry, and the only food being offered to you is a steak from a cow that earlier in the day had been sacrificed to some false idol at a temple, you’re nevertheless perfectly fine to eat that steak, because you’re a mature Christian with a solid foundation in the Lord, and you know it’s just a hunk of meat and nothing more (I Corinthians 8:1-13).
After all, that meat is going to go in one end and out the other, like any other food. It’s not like you’re eating a demon, or summonsing demons, or having anything at all to do with demons or the occult. You’re just satisfying your hunger. And that’s the only food around. So enjoy the food if that’s all that’s available.
But, Paul also warns, if you’re with an immature Christian — one that doesn’t have a solid, long-term Biblical foundation under him or her — and you can see that eating that steak might stumble the individual, or put a dent in their faith because he or she is not as stable and Biblically mature as you are, then you should refrain from eating the steak in front of them for the sake of the weaker brethren. Go find some vegetables, or bread and water, instead.
You’ve gotta use common sense. Don’t let silly “occult” superstitions rule your life. But be kind and gentle to the unlearned, even to the point of refraining from eating a hunk of beef from a cow that had been sacrificed to an idol, if that’s what it takes to prevent them from being stumbled in their newfound Christian faith. All of that is perfectly Biblical.
Halloween: Be Watchful and Supervise
If you’re going to allow your children to participate in Halloween, fine, just supervise what they’re up to, or make sure there’s adult supervision you thoroughly trust.
In this day and age, if I had kids I’d never let them run free on Halloween night going door-to-door throughout the neighborhood without some kind of serious adult supervision.
Even back in the 1960’s and 70’s, when people weren’t quite as wicked and mentally unbalanced as some are today, my folks and other parents still carefully supervised us when we went trick-or-treating.
Sure, they let us roam eagerly from house to house in small groups. But our folks were out on the sidewalk in front of the homes, carefully watching us as we approached each home, making sure everyone was safe. In other words, they physically took us “trick-or-treating.” They didn’t just throw us into a costume and kick us out the door, allowing us to roam freely throughout the neighborhood until all hours of the night.
And while our costumes might have ranged from princesses and pirates, to Caspar the Friendly Ghost, and even to skeletons, they were just costumes. There wasn’t a hint of occultism about it. It wasn’t even a thought that crossed our minds. It was just childish dress-up, and it was fun and exciting.
An Occult “Holy Day”?
Likewise, Christians who claim Halloween should not be celebrated because it’s a “holy day” to occultists aren’t quite getting the point.
Sure, Halloween is a “holy day” to the occultists. And if they want to, the occultists are welcome to waste their time honoring their empty pagan deities, who have already been conquered by Christ (Colossians 2:15).
But Halloween is not a “holy day” to Christians. Our holy days and their appointed times are spelled out clearly in Leviticus 23. And we stick firmly to that.
So why are we conflating our own Christian holy days, which are clearly spelled out by God in His Word, with those of the occultists? We certainly shouldn’t be. It’s akin to breaking the third commandment, which we’ll discuss in just a moment.
Now, right there some people will inevitably say, “Well, Steve, if Halloween is not a Biblical holy day, then we shouldn’t participate in it. Period.”
And it’s perfectly fine with me if you don’t want to. Because, yes, it’s true that Halloween is not a Biblical holy day. But neither is your birthday. Nor your wedding anniversary. Nor is the Fourth of July. Nor is President’s Day. Nor is Memorial Day.
Yet you celebrate ALL of these, without giving any thought to the fact that they’re not “Biblical.” So the charge that Halloween is “non-Biblical” is not, in and of itself, a valid reason to avoid enjoying the day and its activities. Does that make sense?
Costumes: Use Common Sense; Exercise Parental Discretion and Authority
Once again, if your family is going to enjoy the Halloween holiday, use common sense and exercise parental discretion and authority.
If, for example, one of your children is wanting to dress up as the murderous slasher, Jason, from the movie Friday the 13th, and your daughter is wanting to dress up as a hooker, then perhaps you need to exercise some parental intervention and control over the kinds of things your children are being exposed to.
You might want to carefully explain to the little ones why those are not appropriate costumes or characterizations for members of a Christian family to be involved with.
On the other hand, if the kiddies want to dress up like a little princess, or a pirate, or a ballerina, or a cowboy, or cowgirl…or a fireman, or a policeman…well…you can make the call on that. I see nothing wrong with it.
I do agree with critics who say that in recent years children’s Halloween costumes have become excessively risqué, and even grotesque and ungodly in some cases. And I agree that occultism itself is getting out-of-hand these days, being a thread running through all-too-many TV shows and movies with the specific purpose of “normalizing” the occult in order to draw unstable or Biblically-unlearned people into it.
But if you’re a Biblically-educated parent, you can handle that. If you choose to allow your family to enjoy Halloween, explain to your children what’s appropriate for them and what’s inappropriate, and why. And set firm boundaries for them, just like you should do when they’re watching TV shows or movies, or surfing the internet, or playing games on their X-boxes.
Yes, in this day and age you have to draw firm but fair parental lines. And I prefer to do it with education. In other words, in relation to Halloween costumes, explain to your children, firmly, but without acting like a nutcase over it, why one type of costume might be inappropriate for a Christian, while another might be just fine.
But What About Easter?
I’ve had a few parents say to me that I’m hypocritical in avoiding the celebration of Easter, while defending the celebration of Halloween.
One person recently wrote, “Steve, we don’t celebrate Easter, because it’s a pagan holy day centered around Ishtar, the occult goddess of sex. So what makes it okay to celebrate Halloween, another occult holiday?”
I understand the question. But it’s based on only a partial understanding of the truth. As Biblically-educated Christians, we don’t celebrate Easter because it’s always been a distinctly pagan holiday celebrating the goddess of sex, Ishtar. And it’s done in replacement of God’s true, High Holy Day, the Passover.
In other words, in much the same way the antichrist, or false Christ, serves as an ungodly replacement for Jesus Christ, so Easter serves as a replacement for the celebration of the most holy day of our sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, which is the Passover.
As Christians, we don’t allow our heavenly Father’s Holy Days to be hankied with. We don’t chase after the false Christ. And likewise, we don’t chase after the holiday of a false deliverer, or false Christ, which is exactly what Ishtar is, i.e., a half-naked “goddess” representing the occult and Kabbalistic concept of sex as the Lord of Hosts.
Christians who celebrate Easter largely don’t realize they’re breaking the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (or, if you prefer the NRSV translation “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God”).
You see, calling a pagan holiday like Easter the “Lord’s day” or the “Lord’s Passover” is akin to what Aaron the high priest did when he made the golden calf for the people to worship. He put God’s name on that false idol. Let’s take a quick look:
Exo 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
Exo 32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
The people of Israel asked Aaron to make them “gods,” plural, to go before them. And Aaron answered by telling them to break the golden earrings off their wives, sons and daughters and bring them unto him.
In other words, those golden earrings represented, in the minds of Aaron and the people, the manifold blessings of the “gods” of Egypt.
Exo 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
Exo 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Those golden earrings, melted down and fashioned into the shape of a cow, became their guiding “gods.”
In other words, the people had blasphemously turned back to the gods of Egypt, the very place they’d just escaped from after being in hard bondage there for 400 years. But it gets worse…
Exo 32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
Exo 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
Verse five above tells us that, much to his shame, Aaron even built an altar before the golden calf representing the gods of Egypt, and proclaimed, “To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”
Of course, the word “LORD” in that verse is translated from the Hebrew word yehôvâh (i.e., Strong’s H-1961) meaning “the self-existent one” and referring specifically and solely to our heavenly Father, the Creator of all things.
In other words, Aaron and the Israelites made wrongful use of the name of the Lord. They applied God’s name to something decidedly ungodly. And that’s blasphemy.
They put God’s sacred name — YHVH, or yehôvâh — on that altar and that golden cow, which is exactly what it means to “take the name of the Lord in vain.” It means to put God’s name on a false idol — to lower God’s status to that of a two-bit demon.
This egregious breach of the third commandment so angered the Lord, He threatened to destroy the entire people and start over with Moses. And it was only through the intercession and pleadings of Moses on behalf of the people that God relented. Nevertheless, Moses had 3,000 of the idol-worshiping Israelites, who apparently were not in the least bit repentant, slaughtered by the sword of the Levites (Exodus 32:27-28).
My point being this: When Christians use God’s name in conjunction with a pagan “holy day” like Easter, as Aaron and the people of Israel did with the golden calf idol and the false feast day they instituted in Exodus 32:5, it’s a blatant blasphemy against the Lord. Christians might not realize it when they do it. But it nevertheless is what it is.
Likewise, when Christians use their false “Jesus can come at any moment now” doctrine to justify the worship of the first supernatural being who sets foot on this earth in the final days of this flesh age, which II Thessalonians 2:1-4 tells us is the antichrist himself, then once again, they’re breaking the third commandment. They’re imputing God’s Holy Name — Jesus the Christ, which, being translated, means “YHVH the Savior, the Anointed One” — onto the antichrist himself.
Again, Christians might do it unwittingly, or in ignorance, thanks to the unrelenting sway that false church traditions hold over them. But that’s nevertheless what they’re doing. And as knowledgeable and mature Christians, we don’t participate in that.
So how is that different from celebrating Halloween? It’s simple:
No one in Christianity is trying to put God’s name on Halloween or use it to replace any of God’s specifically prescribed Holy Days.
In short, Halloween is not taking the place of anything Godly. It’s just another secular holiday. And thus it’s not a breach of the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (don’t wrongly apply God’s name to things that are decidedly ungodly).
That’s the big difference between participating in Halloween, and celebrating Easter.
Halloween is a secular holiday. But celebrating Easter in place of the Lord’s Passover is putting God’s name onto a pagan holy day, and claiming it as “the LORD’s” day.
If you think about it, that’s a HUGE difference. And it’s one of the main reasons our heavenly Father once stated that His name is “Jealous” (Exodus 34:14).
As it’s written:
Exo 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
Our heavenly Father loves us with a boundless love. But yes, He gets jealous when we assign His name — which represents His honor, authority, character and rich provision — to anyone or anything else.
To Sum It All Up
The bottom line is that there’s nothing inherently wrong, from a Biblical point-of-view, with enjoying Halloween, or allowing your children to do so.
In enjoying Halloween, you’re not summonsing demons or inviting the “occult” into your life. Only overly-superstitious people would believe such a thing. And if they’re overly-superstitious, they’re likely not very firmly-grounded Christians (Acts 17:22).
But because of all of the ungodly and unnatural influences in the world around us these days, Halloween is most certainly a time to exercise greater parental oversight and discretion than usual, for the safety of your children.
So if you’re going to participate in Halloween, set the boundaries that you’re comfortable with, and let your children know what those boundaries are and why you’re setting them. But don’t just dictate to them. Educate them. Help your children understand why your boundaries are being set, from a Christian perspective.
And above all, supervise. Don’t let your little ones “free range” on Halloween night. Take them trick-or-treating if you want. But carefully watch over them. Or do what many Christian parents do nowadays, and take them to a local Halloween party, with adult supervision you trust. Or throw a Halloween party yourself, at your own home, for your kids and their neighborhood friends.
If there was any one reason I wouldn’t allow my children to participate in the trick-or-treating aspect of Halloween today, it would be because there are now so many unstable people in the world. I’m not so much worried about the disproven stories of children being given poison-laced candies, but instead, by the fact that there are mentally unstable people who might want to abduct or otherwise harm children.
But the reality is this: Kids being hit by automobiles while trick-or-treating remains the #1 most realistic threat from the holiday.
Apparently, that’s because children, with loads of sugar coursing through their veins… and overly-anxious to fill their little bags with even more candy…and dressed in costumes that include masks which can sometimes reduce their peripheral vision…tend to forget to stop and carefully look both ways before crossing the street when trick-or-treating.
So yes, there are more kids than usual hit by automobiles on Halloween. Now that’s a very legitimate concern. It’s no reason to forego enjoying the Halloween holiday. But it’s another good reason not to allow your little children to “free range” through the neighborhood unsupervised on Halloween.
Regards in Christ,
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