In this first “Face the Truth: Kids Edition” find out why children in the Church of Christ don’t celebrate Halloween. Where did Halloween come from? And what’s the truth about the holiday’s history?
Nearly 120 Million Americans dress up for Halloween
Brother Barry: Hello and welcome to the first kids’ edition of Face the Truth. I am Brother Barry Thompson. Children and adults of all ages have been celebrating Halloween in the United States since the beginning of the twentieth century, but ask a child today as to what this holiday is really about, and this is what you will hear:
Interviewee 1: It’s like people that celebrate the living dead.
Interviewee 2: It’s a scary holiday where people go out in their neighborhood to go trick or treating.
Interviewee 3: They go to other houses and they knock on the door they trick or treat and then they’re gonna give them candy.
Interviewee 4: They try to scare people. They dress their house or move to another house and they see it all dark and gloomy.
Interviewer: Isabelle, they dress up in something…
Interviewee 5: Clothes
Interviewer: They dress up in clothes?
Interviewee 5: And shoes
Interviewee 4: They’re in costumes
Interviewee 6: Halloween’s a scary thing and it’s just make believe.
Interviewee 7: They’re dressed spooky. Like sometimes they dress it like what they want to be. Like sometimes they dress up like pumpkin monsters or maybe a little bit something scary like a zombie or something. They ask for a trick or treat and then they’ll get the candy and then they’ll eat it when they’re done trick or treating.
Interviewer: Does it look fun?
Interviewee 2: Yeah.
Interviewer: Does trick or treating look like fun?
Interviewee 3: Yeah.
Interviewer: Why does it look fun?
Interviewee 8: Because they get a lot of candy.
Interviewer: Does it look fun?
Interviewee 9: Yes, but I don’t do that.
Brother Barry: It’s no wonder why the holidays look popular for kids. Who can resist candy or your chance to dress up like your favorite superhero?
Interviewer: Do you have a costume?
Interviewee 1: No.
Interviewer: No? Why?
Interviewee 1: ‘Cause we don’t celebrate Halloween.
Interviewee 10: When kids ask me why I don’t celebrate Halloween they say they kinda feel bad for me, but I don’t really feel bad because it’s not that big of a deal.
Interviewee 11: A lot of people don’t have to dress up and have to do all this stuff just to get ready.
Interviewee 12: I don’t like candy.
Interviewer: You don’t like candy?
Interviewee 11: She only likes one candy.
Interviewee 12: I like crunch, that’s it.
Interviewer: What if all they gave was Crunch candy?
Interviewee 12: I wouldn’t dress up. I would just take it.
Interviewer: When other kids are trick or treating or they’re wearing costumes, do you feel left out a little?
Interviewee 2: A little…
Interviewer: If you’re not joining them, do you feel bad?
Interviewee 13: Sometimes jealous.
Interviewee 14: Sometimes I’m the only one not wearing the costume and I feel pretty embarrassed ‘cause everyone else is wearing a costume.
Interviewee 15: I actually don’t feel anything ‘cause I know it’s the right thing not to celebrate it.
Interviewee 10: When I was younger, people told me they wanted to go trick or treating with me I kind of felt left out because I was little and I loved candy and I mean who doesn’t right? But it made me feel a little left out and kind of sad and I wanted to celebrate it before I knew the meaning of it.
Brother Barry: It’s only natural to wanna have fun or feel a little left out, especially when all the children around you are celebrating Halloween. So why don’t children in the Church of Christ celebrate it?
Interviewee 6: It’s not in the bible and man made it up.
Interviewee 16: I tell them that ‘cause I go to a church that doesn’t celebrate Halloween. God didn’t make that holiday.
Interviewee 15: Halloween is a pagan holiday. It’s not in the bible, and we don’t teach it here.
Interviewer: Do you know what the word pagan means?
Interviewee 16: It’s someone that doesn’t follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
Interviewee 4: “So what’s your religion?” And I say, “It’s Christian” and then people say, “But I’m Christian too and I celebrate Halloween”. And then well I say, “But… um… uh…”
Interviewee 17: ‘Cause it’s not in the Bible and in our religion we follow the bible and it’s teachings, not teachings from man and what people have made and do for a long time.
Interviewee 18: I believe a lot of people just have misconceptions of what the background of Halloween is. They don’t realize where the tradition really lies and that it’s a pagan holiday. They follow traditions passed down from generation to generation and that’s what they celebrate. They really don’t understand the truth behind it.
Brother Barry: This is what the bible says:
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. Their minds are closed, they are alienated from the life that is in God, because ignorance prevails among them and their hearts have grown hard as stone.
[Ephesians 4:17-18 Revised English Version]
No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.
[I Corinthians 10:20 NIV]
Brother Barry: The costumes, the parades, trick or treating, and even the jack-o-lanterns roots run deep in pagan tradition. What does the word of God say about pagan tradition? And is it ok to celebrate Halloween and even if it’s just for fun? Find out when we return on Face the Truth.
Brother Barry: Welcome back to this kids’ edition episode of Face the Truth. Children across the United States celebrate Halloween. But how did this holiday begin? Let’s take a look at its history.
YouTube Voiceover: In Mexico, it is known as Dia De Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. In Hong Kong, it’s called the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. Today in the United States, it’s called Halloween.
Interviewer: Do you know where Halloween comes from?
Interviewee 4: Halloween comes from the Catholic church.
Clip Voiceover: This Catholics’ celebrations’ traditions stems further back to ancient Ireland. The Celts commemorated the end of the year with the feast called Samhain. They believed there was a night where the wall between the living and the dead opened and the dead roamed freely among the living. On the night of Samhain, they lit bonfires to honor the pagan gods. And villagers prepared feasts in their homes to greet the dead. At the end of the feast, the masked and costume villagers representing the souls of the dead, paraded towards the outskirts of town leading the ghosts away.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church attempted to oppose the paganism involved in the Samhain [pronounced “SOW-in”] Festival by making November 1 All Saints Day and November 2 All Soul’s Day…
[On Screen: The Facts on Halloween by John Ankerberg, pg. 5-6, & 10-11]
Voiceover: On All Soul’s Day, Catholics pray for the souls of the dead. The eve of All Soul’s Day soon became known as All Hollow’s Eve or Halloween. On that night, masked children traveled from house to house to pray for the dead in exchange for treats.
Brother Barry: People used to believe that Halloween was a day when the dead came back to their homes, but do they? What does the bible have to say? This is what is written in Job 7:9 and 10:
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 NKJ]
Brother Barry: How ‘bout pumpkins? Pumpkins on their own aren’t bad. In fact, they happen to be pretty nutritious.
Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and D. They’re fruits… actually they’re a type of squash and have been grown in North America for 5,000 years. The US produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins each year. Now, this may surprise you but pumpkins were not the first jack-o-lanterns; turnips were and it all began with this Irish folklore.
Voiceover: There is an old tale connected with the name jack-o-lantern. It concerns a stingy drunkard of an Irish man, Jack by name, who tricked the devil into climbing an apple tree to get one of the juicy pieces of fruit. They quickly cut the sign of the cross into the trunk of the tree preventing the devil from coming down. As a final gesture, the devil threw a live coal to Jack straight from the fire of hell. Jack had been eating a turnip, and he put the coal inside of it. Ever since then, he has been traveling over the face of the Earth with his jack-o-lantern.
Brother Barry: If turnips were the first jack-o-lanterns, then how did pumpkins claim the title? When Irish immigrants arrived in America, turnips weren’t readily available, but pumpkins were. And since then, pumpkins, masquerading as jack-o-lanterns have become a popular symbol for Halloween.
Now what does the bible have to say about tales like that of the jack-o-lantern?
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather train yourself to be godly.
[I Timothy 4:7 NIV]
Brother Barry: Let’s say you want to celebrate Halloween because it’s fun. You don’t care where it came from, you don’t believe in it’s traditions. You just want to participate in it because it’s fun. Is that ok? This is what is written in Exodus 23 and 2.
“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong…”
[Exodus 23:2 NIV]
Brother Barry: When we come back we’ll find out why children in the Church of Christ don’t mind missing Halloween. We’ll also hear what their parents have to say. Stay with us.
Brother Barry: Welcome back. Today we’ve learned that traditions tied to Halloween come from pagan practices. Now some would say it doesn’t matter. They’re just being kids, let them have their fun. But what does the bible have to say? 1 Thessalonians 5, 22:
…and avoid every kind of evil.
[I Thessalonians 5:22 Good News]
Brother Barry: And it is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children right from wrong. In Proverbs 22:6, it says this…
Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right.
[Proverbs 22:6 Contemporary English Bible]
Brother Barry: Doing what is right is a choice that true servants of God make, like Joshua, a servant of God who led God’s people after the time of Moses. And this is what is written in Joshua 24:15…
If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshipped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the LORD.
[Joshua 24:15 Good News Translation]
Brother Barry: And these are the words that parents in Church of Christ keep in mind when it comes to raising their children. Take a look:
Interviewee 19: We have the true teachings, and no matter what happens, we’re not gonna break away from that just because we want to be part of the crowd.
Interviewee 20: Little kids are so impressionable nowadays like with everything that they see on TV. I think it’s great that even as children, CWS are able to learn what’s right and what’s wrong.
Interviewee 21: Just try to make sure that they know first of all what good, what’s right and wrong.
Interviewee 22: We always follow what ever teachings are in the bible and we just reinforce us parents that these are the things that we have to follow and not.
Interviewee 23: That’s what we believe so the other kids will believe what they want and will do what they want but just be who you are and don’t be ashamed of that. That’s all I can tell them to do and hopefully that will stay with them when they grow up, too.
Interviewee: 19 For us, it doesn’t really matter if the world is gonna love us. As long as God and our Lord Jesus Christ accept us and receive that promise salvation, that’s the true happiness that we could ever ask for.
Interviewer: How does that make you feel?
Interviewee 18: It makes me feel blessed. I know I’m in the true religion. My family’s blessed by God and we’re blessed. We’re in the right, we know the truth and that’s what we go by.
Brother Barry: The truth may be painful at first but whether we like it or not whether we believe it or not the truth is something we all need even at a young age. Thanks for joining us. I’m Brother Barry Thompson. See you again next time. God bless.