Every October shops are filled with orange and black, skeletons and cauldrons, vampires with blood dripping from their teeth. Everywhere you look are bats and spiders, witches and black cats. It’s a big mismatch of everything scary and evil and it’s the way the world celebrates Halloween.
It’s interesting to look at the history behind Halloween – the northern European winters, the druids and pagans, the Catholic church and their celebration of All Hallows Eve. Mix this all together and you have the commercial event known as Halloween.
But the question with any current practice is not just what it once was, but what it is now? Halloween today is about three things: Candy, Costumes, and Evil.
Candy is not inherently bad. Sugar feeds candida, promotes wrinkling and skin ageing, makes your blood acidic, rots your teeth, contributes to diabetes and adrenal fatigue, can cause cancer, weakens eyesight and can cause arthritis. But, God made sugar, and in moderation, it is not a death sentence.
But how people get the candy is a different matter. During Halloween, neighbours intimidate each other with threats, often involving mild vandalism, if they don’t hand over candy. That is no way for a Christian to behave. Sugarcoating this as “trick or treating” may make it sound more innocent, but fundamentally it is bullying, a shakedown, extortion, which is just a fancy word for robbery. While most neighbours participate willingly in the shakedown, do we really want to teach our children that that is how to get what you want? Especially when what you want is empty calories with no nutritional value? The Bible teaches us to love our neighbours and enemies alike. Leviticus 19 says, “You shall not oppress your neighbour, nor rob him.”
There is nothing wrong with dressing up. I love dress-up parties as much as anyone but we should exercise caution over who we imitate.
In 2015, America spent $1,240,000,000 dressing up their children for Halloween. There is nothing wrong with dressing up. I love dress-up parties as much as anyone but we should exercise caution over who we imitate.
Paul said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ”. In the top four children’s costumes are vampires; revenants or evil spirits, who drink the blood of humans. That’s just nasty!
In Hollywood, they have been sexualised and glamourised, but the real stories behind them are disturbing. Count Dracula (1431-1476), was a prince of Wallachia who gained notoriety defending his empire against the Islamic Jihad of the Ottomans. He massacred over 100,000 people, often running them through on stakes, which earned him the nickname – ‘Vlad the Impaler’. He’s also said to have washed his hands in the blood of his victims before meals. A far cry from the imitation of Christ.
But aren’t the costumes all just harmless fun for children? And if grown-ups want to dress as a sexy witch or dapper vampire, what’s wrong with that? I guess it just depends on how seriously you take being holy.
Deuteronomy 18 says, don’t have among you anyone who engages in witchcraft or casts spells. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. Galatians says people involved in impurity and witchcraft will not inherit the kingdom of God. We can say, all things are lawful for me, but Paul would reply, not all things are helpful.
The message of Scripture is clear: do not see how close to the darkness you can roam; rather see how deep into the light you can surrender.
People who claim that Halloween comes from All Hallows, and so is a celebration of good overcoming evil, overlook one thing: Everything about Halloween celebrates evil! From the cobwebs and skeletons to the witch’s hats and cauldrons, to the pumpkins carved with scary faces, nothing points to the light. Everything points to what is scary and dark and wrong.
But isn’t it fun, every once in a while, to prank and scare each other and indulge our “dark side”? Surely there’s no harm in that? Shouldn’t tiresome Christians like me just mind our own business? I agree that the church has no place judging the world in this matter. Those who don’t follow Jesus can’t be expected to imitate Him. People love the darkness because their deeds are evil.
But for those of us who have received Jesus, who have been born again by the spirit of God, we have been called to walk in the light. Our message is that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. What partnership has light with darkness? Paul says to have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness. John says if we say we have fellowship with God but walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. The message of Scripture is clear: do not see how close to the darkness you can roam; rather see how deep into the light you can surrender.
Relationship with God
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4 & 5 (NLT)
The God who created the Universe did so because He wanted to adopt you as His child. If you have never become a child of God by accepting Jesus Christ, then you can do that with a simple prayer. This will start you on a journey of living with God.
Pray in this way:
“Dear God in Heaven
I confess that I have lived my own way and I am sorry. I have been independent and self-centred. But now I turn away from that way of living.
Please God, forgive me and give me a fresh start.
I believe that Your Son Jesus, died for me, to take the punishment for the wrong I have done. I receive Him into my life, as my Lord and my Saviour.
Thank You that You forgive me and in this moment adopt me into Your family.
God, fill me now with Your Holy Spirit, so I can live in a way that pleases You.
Thank You, Amen”
References: Halloween Statistics by Statistic Brain, October 16, 2015
This article was reviewed on 26 October 2021. It was originally published on the Four12 Global website on 27 October 2016.
Adam serves in Joshua Generation Church, South Africa. He is married to Vanessa and they have two sons. Adam’s particular passions are worship and apologetics. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram for more.