The truth about Halloween is that it is just a day – like any other day among the other 364 days in a calendar year. This particular day happens like clockwork on the last day of October each year and is filled with fun, festivities, and, yes – a handful of monsters!
Should Christians celebrate Halloween? Many Christians believe this day associated with Pagan rituals and don't celebrate it at all. And, to be honest, my family doesn't “celebrate Halloween” either. We don't celebrate anything that goes against Jesus and His teachings.
But we do “do Halloween” just like we “do” any other regular day, season, or holiday during the year.
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Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
The short answer is NO! Christians should not “celebrate” anything that pays tribute to anything but our Lord Jesus Christ.
But there is a stark difference between “celebrating” a Pagan tradition – and simply engaging in community activities for a night of family fun. To participate in the family fun that (in this day and time) is associated with this particular day doesn't involve any sacrificial altars or any ceremonial rituals that most would consider being along the lines of worshipping a false god.
Yes, there are people who do this on October 31st – but these people also do this during the rest of the year as well.
As followers of Christ, we celebrate Jesus. And we can celebrate Him (not the day) on October 31st through our actions. To be out an about in the community on a particular day – or any other day for that matter – we are honoring GOD! We aren't “celebrating” the Pagan tradition. We are celebrating Jesus by showing hospitality to strangers, by inviting our neighbors to church, by volunteering at community centers, etc.
Does Halloween Have Pagan Origins?
The short answer is yes. The early origins of this “holiday” date back to the Celtic festival of Samhain. From there it evolved into many different forms with different meanings. You can read more about the origins and history of Halloween to see how it has been transformed over the years.
As it did evolve into a more “American” holiday, it was more associated with the Fall Harvest and, as such, many of the festivities were called “Harvest Festivals” (instead of Halloween parties). But either way, it was celebrated on this same day of the year.
Other Pagan-Origin Holidays
Should Christians celebrate Halloween? I say “why not?” because they do celebrate or participate in many other holidays that come from Pagan beginnings. The truth is that many holidays that are regularly celebrated by many Christians actually have Pagan origins! (In this sentence, I use the term “celebrate” loosely to simply mean that they partake in the festivities associated with the particular holiday).
Most Christians that I know do get involved with each of these days in some form or fashion. Easter and Christmas, in particular, are somewhat sacred holidays for Christians and revolved around the birth of Jesus and His Resurrection. But both of these “days” actually began in history as a Pagan tradition or holiday.
Related: When Christians Don't Do Halloween
No Matter the Origin, We Celebrate Jesus
Anything in this world can be used for evil – or it can be used for good. It can be used as a tool of Satan – or it can be used to glorify God and make His Kingdom stronger. Holidays are no different.
…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
- On New Year's Day, we “ring in” the new year. We see this as a fresh start or a new beginning. We see this day, not as Babylonians, but as followers of Christ. We see this day in the context of having a fresh start when we give our life over to Christ. We are made new in Jesus and have a clean slate – like the year that is upon us.
- On Valentine's Day, we celebrate our loved ones. We aren't setting up an altar to honor Faunus (god of fertility). We use this day as a reminder to cherish our loved ones. (And if we are being completely honest here, this holiday is more about consumerism than anything else!).
- Easter is a sacred holiday for Christians as it is the day associated with the Resurrection of Christ. Although this “holiday” was born out of Pagan roots, we “celebrate” it specifically to honor Jesus for giving His life for our sins.
- Christmas is the day we, as Christians, celebrate the birth of Jesus – the Son of Man – our Saviour. This particular holiday – one of the 2 holiest days we honor as Christians, did begin from Pagan traditions! But we don't honor those traditions in celebrating this day. We use this day – a day originally created for Pagan traditions – to celebrate our Savior's birth. (Just to clarify, the birth and resurrection of Jesus didn't originate from Pagan traditions. But the actual day of the year that we choose to celebrate these events were of Pagan origins.)
And What About Halloween Alternatives
Many Christians look for “Halloween alternatives” for their families to participate in on October 31st. In my mind, when I first heard that term (Halloween alternative), I immediately thought “alternatives to worshipping Pagan gods” or something like that.
One popular Halloween alternative is to have a Harvest Festival instead of a Halloween party. Isn't the objective the same? Isn't the objective to enjoy an evening of safe, fun activities with your family? To get out and mingle with friends and others in your community.
It shouldn't matter what we label it. Calling it Halloween doesn't make it sinful. The actual things you are doing are what makes it sinful and against God. So whether you are trick or treating in your neighborhood or having a “trunk or treat” at the Harvest Festival – it is all the same!
It isn't a celebration of anything Pagan. It is a time for us to be the light of Jesus out in our community. It is a time for finding opportunities to minister to those who don't know Jesus.
How to Be a Christian and NOT Celebrate Halloween
As Christians, we are called to love one another. We are called to be in community with others. We are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24 NIV
Halloween (October 31st) is simply just one more opportunity to do just that! We shouldn't view this day as a Pagan holiday. By letting our kids go trick or treating in the neighborhood, we aren't worshipping a Pagan god. By dressing up and handing out treats to the neighborhood kids, we are simply doing what Jesus would do on this day if He were physically here. He would be out among the people.
Yes, there are some people who do use this particular day to literally celebrate their false god, but we have the opportunity to use this day for our very real and perfect God!
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13
Yes, there are activities that you definitely shouldn't participate in because, regardless of it being Halloween, that aren't inline with being a follower of Christ. But we should be out an about loving on our neighbors and strangers on this particular night (just as we would on the other holidays mentioned – or any day for that matter!).
My Family Does Not Celebrate Halloween
My family doesn't “celebrate” Halloween. We treat this day like any other day. We get out and get involved with the neighborhood activities – all of which are meant to bring our neighbors together for a night of community with each other. The name given to something doesn't make it unholy or against God. Our hearts, our intentions – that is what matters. And it matters that our hearts and intentions are always seeking to glorify God.
What the enemy creates for evil, our God can turn it into something powerful and great. And He uses us to accomplish this task! If He can turn water into wine, He can surely enable us to use this day to bring more people into His Kingdom!
I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.” Romans 14:14 NIV
I do want to take a moment to say that I don't judge anyone who chooses to not engage in the activities associated with Halloween. Each person must do what they feel is good and right and what is best for their own family. (We can totally still be friends even if you don't do Halloween!)
I simply wanted to offer up this controversial topic in a different light in hopes that some might view it from a different perspective. I've met so many Christians that were brought up to believe that having fun on Halloween was a complete sin. But as they grew in their own walk with God and really reflected on God's word, they took a different path with raising their own kids.
I pray that you always seek out ways to be the light of Jesus in your community all 365 days of the year!
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