The Origin of Halloween
The origin of Halloween traces back thousands of years to the ancient religion of the Celts in Wales, Scotland, Brittany and particularly Ireland. The spiritual world was very important to the Celts; so much so that they had approximately 300 idol gods that they worshipped for various reasons. The Celts would have a feast called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween) on November 1st in honour of “lord of the dead”. They viewed the times of the year in two halves – “light” for summer and “dark” for winter. This event was held to mark the end of the “light” summer months and the beginning of the “dark” days of winter. They believed this was a time when a barrier between natural and supernatural forces was temporarily removed and ghosts and spirits could wander freely among humans. They believed these spirits would sometimes bring violence. The Celtic priests, called Druids, would carry out sacrificial rituals in order to pacify the “lord of the dead”. These sacrifices would involve burning crops, animals, and even humans in a bonfire. The term “bonfire” is derived from “bone fire” literally meaning fires with bones of humans and animals. The practice of burning humans ended in the 1600s and the people began burning an effigy instead to represent a human. They believed their bonfires would make the “lord of the dead” protect them from the evil spirits and ensure the sun would return after the long cold winter.
The “trick-or-treat” phenomenon is the signature line given by Halloween revellers as they run from house to house. This ritual also traces back to the pagan Samhain festival of the Celts. The Celts believed spirits of the dead would rise out of the grave and wander the earth during Samhain. They believed some of the dead would return to their old residences. In order to placate these wandering dead spirits they would place plates of food at their doorways along with other gifts. They feared the ghosts would harm their livestock or property if not pacified with a treat.
Another way the villagers believed they could protect themselves from the dead was through trickery. Some would wear masks while others put soot on their faces hoping the ghosts would view them as just another spirit of the dead rather than a human. They thought that this trickery would cause the evil spirits to pass them by. This began the present-day Halloween practice of disguising oneself as a demonic creature. The villagers looked to find protection either by tricking or treating the spirits of the dead.
An Evangelical Christian Response to Halloween
On October 31, cults of all kinds gather to celebrate and worship Satan with all kinds of ungodly, pagan rituals. The appropriate Christian response to this Satanic nonsense is spelled out in the scripture in large writ. Consider the following scriptures as they apply to Christians associating with the darkness of demonic ritual albeit disguised as “just a fun night for kids.”
“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”
“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.”
“Abstain from every form of evil.”
Paul’s Advice for Christians on October 31 and Every Other Day
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.