Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Is Halloween in the Bible? Is the origin of Halloween Pagan or Christian? Is it possible to just celebrate and go trick or treating for fun?Show/Hide Transcript
Announcer: Next on That’s In The Bible…
[Video of Interviewee]
Interviewee: My question is: Why do you guys not celebrate Halloween?
Brother Bob: How did it start? It has its origins not in the Bible, but rather in ancient Pagan culture. If one would say that, “Well, we’re just doing it for fun.” Is there any Biblical guidance that God would want us to know and understand? If national holidays like Christmas or Halloween are against the Bible, why are they celebrated? Good question.
Brother Bob: Hello! I’m Brother Bob Pellien and thanks for joining us in this episode of That’s in the Bible. Our first question for today is from Dianey. She submitted her question at the That’s In The Bible booth at the INC Media Experience in Southern California. Here’s what Dianey asked, “Why shouldn’t we celebrate Halloween: And how did it start?” Well Dianey, we will not turn to the Holy Scriptures to find the origins of Halloween because that’s not in the Bible…In fact, it has its origins in ancient Pagan cultures. Let’s take a look into its history.
In a book entitled Catholic Customs & Traditions: A Popular Guide written by a Mr. Greg Dues. In his book on page 196, this is recorded:
There are several possibilities for the origin of the tradition of giving treats as part of trick or treating…The more probable origin lies in the pagan New Year celebration among the Celts. It was thought that the ghosts who roamed freely that night would be satisfied with a banquet table laid out in homes. For a while after Christianity arrived in Celtic lands, there was an attempt to transfer this custom to the eve of All Souls Day (November 2). Masked children would go from door to door to pray for the departed loved ones in return for a treat.
[Catholic Customs & Traditions: A Popular Guide, pg. 196]
Brother Bob: So we could see then, Dianey, that it has its origins not in the Bible, but rather in ancient Pagan cultures. What is this Halloween all about? If we [look further] into the history of that holiday, for example in the Encyclopedia Britannica in Volume II, page 15, it says:
HALLOWEEN (in Medieval times “All Hallows”) kept on October 31, the eve of All Saints Day, was the Celtic festival at the end of summer named Samhain. It was connected with…the practice of divinations and its association with the dead, whose souls were supposed to revisit their homes on this day.
[Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume II, pg. 15]
Brother Bob: So again it did not have and does not have Biblical origin, but rather it has its origin in ancient Pagan cultures and refers back to a Celtic festival at New Year’s time called “Samhain” and it connected with divinations. These dead souls were supposed to return to the homes. Does the Bible have anything to say about theses practices of Halloween: the divinations, ghosts returning to the homes, trick or treat, and such things [like] that? Let’s go to the Bible. Leviticus chapter 19. Here’s what the Bible has to say about these practices. Let’s begin in verse 26.
…’Do no practice divination or sorcery.
[Leviticus 19:26 New International Version]
Brother Bob: So, the Bible’s response is, “Don’t do that.” We will not then participate in the divination and practices of Halloween. The Bible specifically prohibits such things. And how about that part where it made mention that in the Pagan Celtic culture and practices in Halloween time, that the dead would return to their home and have a banquet table set for them, which was part of the current custom of receiving treats when you go to homes trick or treating? The Bible also [mentions] that in Job 7:9:
As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, So he who goes down to the grave does not come up. He shall never return to his house, Nor shall his place know him anymore.
[Job 7:9-10 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: The Bible makes clear there’s no returning to the home as a ghost or a skeleton to get treats from a banquet table that’s been provided for that one particular night. The Bible clearly teaches against such things so that is why Halloween is not a festival, or a holiday, or a practice that we faithful Christians should participate in.
And Jayson Dela Cruz from Kent, Washington, he also had a question pertaining to Halloween. Here’s what was on the mind of Jayson.
[Video of Jayson Dela Cruz]
Jayson: My question is: Why do you guys not celebrate Halloween?
Brother Bob: Thank you Jayson, and your question is asking why we inside the Church Of Christ do not participate in all those practices of Halloween. Because some would say, “Well, even though it has those kind of origins, it’s still fun, it’s just myth and fables and traditions of the past that we’re trying to give fun to the children.” The Bible does make mention and gives some particular guidance, Jayson, about that way of thinking. Here’s what the Scripture has to say; it was Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy where it was addressed in these terms. Chapter 4, verse 7:
But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.
[I Timothy 4:7 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: So the instruction is very explicit: to reject such fables and exercise, instead, godliness. And you know Jayson there’s another reason why we inside the Church Of Christ will not go along with the traditions and practices of Halloween because there’s another element of Halloween that, I suppose, many do not know. And that element of Halloween was described in the Encyclopedia Britannica like this, on page 15, volume II:
The autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons of all kinds…It was the only day in which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.
[Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume II, Pg. 15]
Brother Bob: Imagine dear friends, that Halloween was the day in which they were able to invoke or ask the assistance of none other than the Devil himself. Obviously then we here inside the true Church Of Christ is not going to participate in any of those things regarding Halloween. But then maybe there would be those who say, ”Well look, we’re not thinking of its origins being in ancient Pagan Celtic cultures or we’re not actually going back to the origination of any of those particular practices. And we’re certainly not going to invoke the help of the Devil,” they would say. “We’re just doing this just for fun to wear masks and go to Halloween parties and get candy for the kids.” If one would say that, “Well, we’re just doing it for fun,” is there any Biblical guidance that God would want us to know and understand? If that was the way that we were thinking we’ll turn again to the Holy Bible. Apostle Paul’s letter this time, his letter to the Ephesians in chapter 4. Let’s look ahead to verse 17 where it says this:
Here then is my word to you, and I urge it on you in the Lord’s name: give up living as pagans do with their futile notions.
[Ephesians 4:17 Revised English Bible]
Brother Bob: His instruction? Give up all those things that have to do with pagan origin. So inside the Church Of Christ that’s what we do. We give up or we have rejected all of those things that have to do with those holidays that have their pagan origin.
Lee Cunningham from Kent, Washington, also posed questions pertaining to Halloween. He asked, “If national holidays like Christmas or Halloween are against the Bible, why are they celebrated?” Good question, Lee. Why are so many choosing Pagan cultures and incorporating them into their holidays in current times? There’s something that they have missed and it was a warning that was given in the Holy Bible. In the Book of Colossians, chapter 2, verse 8. The reason, Lee, that they continue doing these practices, even though the Bible has clearly taught against such, is recorded here. It says:
Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, …
[Colossians 2:8 New Living Translation]
Brother Bob: The reason why they still have such practices today is because they’ve missed that warning. The Bible clearly issued the warning don’t let anyone lead you astray with such human traditions and human ideologies that they have invented. And there was a direct instruction from Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Not only was his advice, “Don’t let someone lead you astray with these things,” he went on to say in Galatians, chapter 1, verse 8 and 9, this:
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
[Galatians 1:8-9 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: We will not then embrace their preaching or the teaching of others who will say, “No, no it’s okay to use pagan practices.” We will not. We will stick to this advice and warnings of the Scriptures. Why? To conclude on that point I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 1 and verse 2:
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.
[I Corinthians 15:1-2 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: We will hold on to the truths that we believe in here inside the Church Of Christ and we will not be influenced. And we invite you, all of our friends joining us in this program, to be with us here in the Church Of Christ, where we embrace and hold tight to the gospel preached by the Savior and His Apostles.
That’s all we have time for today, but if you too, have questions you’d like answered, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org). And we’ll use the guidance of the Holy Scriptures to help you find your answer because That’s in The Bible. Thanks for watching! I’m Brother Bob Pellien and we’ll see you again next time.