Every year around this time I find myself in the middle of, or at least witnessing, the age-old debate: should Christians celebrate Halloween? I say YES- in a family-friendly, Biblically sound, kind of way.
Halloween's name originally came from All Hollows Eve, which was the eve of All Saints Day, a Christian holiday set aside to honor the deceased. Around the time the Christian movement was sweeping through Europe, pagan holidays and customs were very popular, often coinciding with celebrating the passage of the seasons. At the end of October, pagans celebrated Sanhaim, a festival marking the end of the harvest and beginning of winter, commonly looked upon as a time of death. The Church chose to celebrate All Saints Day right in the middle of the pagan festival, as an effort to give new converts something else to celebrate and detract attention from the pagan feast.
It was only logical, then, that some of the pagan traditions became mixed with these "new" Christian holidays. In fact, many of our other holiday traditions, including Christmas trees, can be traced back to pagan roots. Even though a Christmas tree was originally an ancient fertility symbol, does that mean we are worshipping it or celebrating the pagan meaning when we have one in our homes? Of course not.
Clearly, Christians are instructed to stay away from occult or satanic practices:
Deuteronomy 18: 10-11: 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
However, it doesn't say anything about dressing up in silly costumes, giving/getting candy, or making a pumpkin look like a silly face. If you dig around you can trace some of these ideas back to the pagan celebration from the same time of year, but, do you really think the average Joe in a pumpkin costume is in a spiritual battle, attempting to hide from evil spirits? No, more likely, Joe is just having fun and being silly, the same as he would wearing a costume any other day of the year.
Here's the best article I've read on this subject to date: Christians and Halloween. It gives a great historical background and a common-sense approach for choosing how your Christian family will deal with the holiday without appearing to be superstitious.
As for my family, we'll be trick or treating in our neighborhood, passing out treats to the neighborhood kids, wearing fun costumes, and attending our school/church Autumn Harvest festival. I can't think of a single thing in there that's sinful... unless maybe we become gluttons on the candy. ;)
What about YOU? How do you feel about Halloween? Will your family participate in trick or treating? I invite you to link up your post on the subject, and please.... let's all play nice. I have seen too many of these "discussions" get nasty online. We can all learn and appreciate one another's view on the subject, even when we don't agree!