How it all started
2,000 years ago, the Celts started the holiday, calling it Samhain (pronounced: “Sow-in”). The Celts celebrated the New Year on November 1 and believed that the night before was a transitional period from a time of harvest, light and warmth (summer/fall) into a period of death, darkness and cold (winter). They believed that the spiritual and physical realms overlapped during that night and that spirits could then walk the earth. They put on scary masks and lit bonfires to scare away evil spirits. To guide the spirits of their dead relatives home, they put candles in their windows.
In 43 A.D. the Romans conquered the Celts, and Samhain became combined with two Roman holidays. The first holiday, Feralia, was a day to honor the dead, and the other was to celebrate Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees (some think this is where “bobbing for apples” comes from).
By the seventh century, Pope Boniface the IV declared November 1 as “All Saints Day” or “All Hallows.” This is why October 31 is called “All Hallows Eve” or “Halloween.” By the year 1000 they had big parades for “All Hallows” where they would dress up as saints, angels and devils. In England, poor people would go door to door around this time to ask for food. They were given what were called “soul cakes.” Over time that evolved to kids dressed as Batman coming to your door and saying, “Trick or Treat,” which originally meant “Give me a treat or I’ll play a trick on you.”
So, it is absolute safe to say that Halloween is deeply rooted in pagan and demonic superstition and some questionable practices and beliefs. For example:
- I don’t think the spirits of my dead relative will be walking around on the 31 of October. If there are spirits walking around that day, I know that they are not the spirit of my dead relatives, but demons spirits
- I do not believe that by putting on scary masks I can drive away evil spirits.
- I do not believe that lighting a candle and putting it in my window can guide my dead relatives home.
- I do not believe in the veneration of saints and praying for the dead.
- I do not believe in dressing up myself or my children inappropriately
- I do not believe in taking part in anything demonic (Ouija boards, séances, bobbing apples, bon fire seance etc.)
- I do not want to participate in any kind of sexual perversion or drunken debauchery
- Finally, I do not eat soul cakes – because I do not believe in purgatory… The silly belief that your consumption of one cake can free a soul from purgatory
I know you can bob for apples just for fun and not for divination, sit around a Bon fire and not not dance with the devil or go trick or treating and not compromise your religious beliefs. But as a Christ follower,
I do no necessarily believe in celebrating the holiday. However, I believe we can cease the opportunity the holiday presents to be missional. For once in the entire year you have hundreds, if not thousands of people coming to your house. The question is – What do you have to offer?
I think we need to be missional in our approach to the holiday because we have so much to offer. Here is a list of things you can do to redeem the day. Use Colossians 3:17, and 1 Corinthians 10:31 both as guiding principles:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him… so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do – do it all for the glory of God.
Prayer-walk your neighborhood. Get some of your friends or family members to pray for families in your neighborhood. Remind yourself throughout your day that you have been delivered from the power of darkness into God’s glorious light. Do a study of your freedom and victory of sin, satan and evil spirits. If you are a musician, get some of your buddies and jam in your garage, front lawn as you give out candy.
Handout treats for kids and their families and at the same time share the love of Christ with them. If you do feel the need to dress up, do something appropriate. Handout invitations to your church as well as gospel tracks to parents as the come by. Be welcoming, be kind, be friendly, be missional Finally, cover your home, family, church, street with the precious blood of Jesus and rebuke every foul spirit, stay in the spirit of prayer.