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Christian Halloween History explains what Halloween is, where the customs came from, why it involves the dead, and whether Christians should participate. Be ready to be startled by some of the answers.

Halloween History And Christian Life

Halloween, we hear, is now the third most popular "holiday" in the USA.  Many Christians are very concerned about the meanings of Halloween customs, the seeming glorification and celebration of witches, ghosts and other spiritual beings, and the whole idea of having a holiday related to the dead.   We're going to take a look at Halloween history, customs, the dead and the question of Christian involvement in the celebration.  Be ready to be startled by some of the surprising things we've learned.  If you want more detail, see these books about Christians and Halloween History.

What Is Halloween?  The word comes from an abbreviation of "All Hallows Eve."  This is the night before All Hallows (All Saints) Day, when the Church honors the past (dead) Christians.  All Saints Day is also known as the day Martin Luther nailed his protest of the Catholic Church and began the Protestant movement.  There have been different dates for All Saints Day.  It's commonly believed that November 1st was chosen to coincide with pagan celebrations and festivals in order to more easily assimilate these cultures into the Church, just like the dates for Easter and Christmas celebrations.  It's this assimilation of festivals that makes Halloween a confusing holiday.

Where Did Halloween Customs Come From?  When All Saints Day and the pagan festivals were combined, the rituals and customs were also combined.  Wearing costumes, ghosts, witches, carrying lighted ornaments to represent spirits, the whole trick-or-treat thing, harvest parties, etc. got combined over the centuries with what had been a somber event in the Christian calendar.  Some of these rituals had been sacrifices to pagan gods before the pagans were Christianized.  And there's the rub!  Christians, who have no problem with the Christmas Tree or Easter Egg (pagan rituals), seem to draw the line when it comes to the Halloween pagan rituals and customs...particularly those involving the dead.

What Does It Have To Do With The Dead?  Actually, All Saints Day and Halloween share the idea of honoring the dead...they just differ on the methods.  Many of the pagan rituals include tributes to the dead.  That's probably why ghost costumes and tombstones have become Halloween classics.  I don't understand the discomfort many Christians have with the idea of spirits being everywhere, or of spiritual life beyond physical's the cornerstone of Christianity as taught in the Bible.  Why would we be so frightened of what's on the other side of death?  Many are so afraid, they keep their children from participating in the fun of Halloween.

Should A Christian Refrain From Halloween Celebration?  Once, early in my Christian walk, I believed it was a sin to have anything that had represented a belief in any power but God.  I got rid of 4 leaf clovers, horseshoes, totem poles...symbols of pagan these things would have no power over me. After I grew a little in Christ and read the Bible a little more,  It hit me...nothing has power over me because Christ is in me.  In fact, by thinking these things had power,  I was giving them the very power I opposed.

It's the same with Christians and Halloween.  Carving pumpkins, setting up witch statues, wearing ghost costumes, going to people's doors to collect treats...all of these rituals are mere games as long as we don't make anything more out of them.  As a Christian, the most powerful being in all eternity lives within you.  There is no power that can harm you.  I'm not denying that evil spirits exist but when we Christians live in fear of them, we're giving them power they don't have.

So, should Christians take part in Halloween?  Yes...and no!  If you believe it's a sin, pagan worship or anti-Christian in any way, you should refrain.  Spend some time in Bible study and prayer to grow your faith until you have confidence that He who is in you is greater than all.  If you've already reached that point in your spiritual growth, go have fun!  Let your kids have fun, too!  While you're at it, don't forget to teach your kids about All Saints Day and about the power of Jesus in them, protecting them from all harm...even from goblins.

Let me know what you think!

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