A friend on Instagram asked me this back in August, and I couldn’t get the question out of my head: How can a Christian celebrate Halloween?
The answer is simple: by not worshiping the Devil.
Halloween Origins: Celts to Christians
The dark origins of Halloween stem from the Celtic festival of Samhain. Roughly 2,000 years ago, Celts believed that on October 31st, the night before their new year, the boundary between the living and the dead would blur and ghosts would roam the Earth.
To commemorate the festival of Samhain, Druids would build massive bonfires where people burned crops and animal sacrifices to Celtic deities. During this ritual, Celts wore costumes (usually made of animal skin and heads) and would attempt to predict the future of others.
The sins Christians see in this tradition:
- Worshiping false idols is against the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:3: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”.
- Fortune telling and communing with the dead are forbidden by this piece of Scripture from Leviticus 19:31:
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them:
I am the Lord your God.”
Therefore, to practice any form of the Celtic tradition is to break God’s law which pleases Satan. Many modern folk use the Celtic origin of Halloween as an excuse to worship evil, and THIS is why Christians are so hesitant to celebrate the holiday.
But in the late 1800s, Americans reshaped Halloween into a community-centered celebration. “Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes,” says the History Channel. We took Halloween from Satan and turned it into something that brings joy and togetherness. And THAT is how Christians celebrate Halloween.
Christian Halloween Traditions
I am a Bible-preaching, God-fearing Christian, and I strive daily to obey the laws of my Lord. I take my servitude to God seriously, and hope that through my actions others may see Christ in me. That doesn’t waver any day of the year, not even on Halloween. So here’s how my family celebrates as Christians:
Non-Scary Community Events
Every year, the kids and I go to a local theater production called The Enchanted Forest. Local actors/actresses dress up as well-known characters (Disney Princesses, Batman and Robin, the Three Little Pigs, etc) and put on five-minute skits on a trail through the woods at a nature park. No jumpscares, no evil, just lots of laughter, a little mystery, and delicious snacks at the end of a hayride.
Photo Credit: Enchanted Forest at George Owens
What better way to engage with your neighbors, friends and co-workers than through sweet treats? Every year, I prepare goody bags for my stock team at work and I always volunteer in my kids’ classrooms for the Halloween party. This year, we’re going a step further and delivering goody bags to our neighbors’ houses. We’re doing a no-contact door hanging bag with a piece of Scripture inside, candy of course, and a little bit about us! What a great way to reach out to the community and spread a little Christian love while we’re at it.
Photo Credit: A Pumpkin and a Princess
Among some of our favorite Halloween titles are Beetlejuice, Hotel Transylvania, Monster House, Goosebumps, and Casper.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is releasing October 1st, 2021 by the way! Something to see in theaters!
Photo Credit: IMDB
Check your local churches for fall-themed events. Keep an eye out for holiday spins on year-round activities. For instance, our botanical garden here in Missouri is doing a “Dark Forest” event this October which is a holiday-oriented take on their gardens. Facebook is a great tool to find local Halloween happenings.
Abstain From Evil
I get picked on all the time for celebrating parts of Halloween and not others. But I’d rather be subjected to a little verbal torment and party exclusion than to suffer God’s punishment for disobedience.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says:
“hold fast that which is good/Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
Here are just a few celebrations Christians DO NOT participate in on Halloween:
- Witches: Practicing magic of any kind is tampering with control in an attempt to be God-like and powerful, and that is worship of self. So no, we don’t do rituals, store candy in cauldrons, read tarot cards, or gaze into crystal balls. We don’t chant languages we don’t know, read from the Necronomicon, and I’ve never seen Hocus Pocus. Witches, witchcraft, and magic are always out of the question.
- Skulls and Crossbones: As a symbol of death that opposes God’s gift of life, we as Christians don’t decorate with skulls and crossbones or worship them.
- Desire for evil to thrive: I have an insane crush on the looks of Michael Myers (the horror slasher) but when watching his movies, I don’t root for him to win. Because we as Christians don’t celebrate evil. We don’t cheer on villains, we don’t fall in love with vampires or demons. We don’t idolize cursed objects and tour Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum in awe. We rebuke evil and keep our eyes on the Lord.
- Ouija Boards: I mentioned it above that in Leviticus, God says not to conjure spirits. So you’ll never catch a God-fearing Christian with their fingers on a planchette ready to call out to some ghosts or demons at three in the morning.
- Gravedancers: Graveyards are where our dead are laid to rest. To be there for any other reason than to pay respect is to sin. Christians don’t roam graveyards eagerly anticipating an encounter with a ghost.
- Blood and Sacrifice: Worshiping blood is a common seduction during Halloween. It’s in party favors, home décor, costumes, and ritualistic sacrifice which people for some reason think is comical and sexy. Blood sacrifices in the Bible ended with Jesus on the Cross. And that sacrificed SAVED us from sin. To sacrifice by blood nowadays is to damn yourself.
- Temptresses/Seductresses: For some reason, Halloween seems to be the excuse for women to advertise themselves in less than appropriate costumes/attire, and for the appetite of undisciplined men to become ravenous toward such women. Halloween has nothing to do with being “naughty, bad, or sinful”. It is what you make it, and Christians don’t choose to make it about sexual temptation. We’re too busy trying not to be gluttonous.
- Religious costumes: More than likely if someone’s dressing up as a nun or priest, it’s so they can defile the holiness of those religious figures. This applies also to dressing up as the Devil. Any representation of Satan is quite literally support of him. Christians would never glorify our Enemy.
What about Haunted Houses and Ghosts?
I decorate with little ghosts in white bedsheets because they’re fictitious characters to me. The same way we love Disney Princesses and Marvel heroes, I love little happy ghosts who shout “Boo!” and jumpscare others. The happiness the ghosts exhibit is friendly, good-natured, and NOT associated with actual spirits of the dead.
Actual spirits are much more frightening because they’re the devil in disguise. They’re often disfigured, dismembered, and downright evil in intent. They’re unforgettably nightmarish, and not the type of characters you would want as guests or decorations in your home.
As for haunted houses, I grew up in one. So seeing things like I Spy’s Spooky Mansion or Disney’s Haunted Mansion with Eddie Murphy, or reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House gives me comfort in my childhood trauma. That’s why I started watching Ghost Hunters in the early 2000’s. Because I felt so afraid and alone growing up in a house with unexplained phenomena until I realized it was happening to others, and TAPS taught me how to study the experiences scientifically and debunk them. To me, haunted houses are very real and to see them during Halloween is like seeing a memory of mine shared with the world, and I no longer feel alone.
All in All
Christians CAN celebrate Halloween so long as the celebration is holy. At my house, you’ll never find a witch or cemetery, never a cursed object or Ouija board, never death or darkness. Just black and orange streamers, jolly jack-o-lanterns, harmless jumpscares, and full-sized candy bars.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Anything I missed? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!