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Oct 31 2010

Halloween – What Should Christians Do?

It’s that time of year again.  Tonight when the sun goes down, children will excitedly go from door to door looking for treats.  As Christians, we have heard the pagan origins of this holiday.  There is doubt it is true.  As it happens every year on  internet discussion groups, web sites and Christians I encounter in my daily life, the Halloween kicks off the yearly debates about holidays.  The debates are heated.  And these are the debates that I participated.  I very much was on the side of avoiding Halloween altogether and that any Christian that even opened their door to the youngsters seeking candy were  disobeying God in order to fit in in our society.

The argument that Christians make against Halloween is that it is satanic in origins.  I agree.  However, and this is the reason I have changed my mind and will be passing out candy tonight, not one of those children dressed as bunny rabbits, lions, cartoon characters, etc. will be coming to my door seeking candy to ward off evil spirits.  This is the time of year when these children have fun, dress up in fun costumes and go door to door to get free candy.  I recall way back when I was a youngster and went door to door on Halloween.  I remember the excitement of putting on my costume, picking up my little bucket for treats and meeting my friends outside for photos that our respective families took.  And then we were off.  It was a lot of fun for a young child.  There was no thought of Satan, evil spirits or anything else of such nature in my young mind.

After I came to Christ and eventually learned of the origins of this holiday, I became rather militant in my views against this holiday.  I would turn off my lights so it would appear that no one was home.  I now wonder about the message I sent – that Christian lady who does not give us candy like everyone else.  What really changed  my mind was reading scripture recently.  Jesus never ever turned away from sinners because of their sin.  Even more so, He never turned children away.  I don’t subscribe nor do I wear the “WWJD” bracelet.  However, as Christians we are to imitate our Lord.  I’m wondering, would He really turn the children away on October 31st?  I’m thinking He would not.  I’m thinking, based on how He was with the children in His day during His lifetime, that He would be delighted to put a smile on a child’s face.

Tonight, I will be at my front door handing out candy to all the youngsters.    You only get to go door to door getting free candy once a year.  And folks, that’s what this holiday is really about.  Be safe and have fun.

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Photo:  Bing.com

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  1. penultima

    simply because someone does not understand the ramification of their actions, i.e. children enjoying dressing up for halloween, does not mean that it is acceptable to the Most High. Also, while Christ would not turn away children, we can take from the example of the woman caught in adultery. After Jesus accepted her, he said “Go and sin no more”. If Jesus was to accept these halloweening children (and would have words with their guardians) I would say he would say something similar.

    There are a many scriptures which say that we are not to take on pagan practices and simply because we make it “cute” and pass it on to our kids does not make it right.
    But, do what you wish. You seem to have already made up your mind, that you can sanctify pagan practices.

    1. Tishrei

      This was my first year in many, many years passing out candy. I really thought it through before doing so and it is a bit disingenuous to state that I am sanctifying pagan practices. Christians all over the world are celebrating Christmas and Easter. Both of those holidays are wrought with practices that are derived from pagan gods. If anyone is putting up a Christmas tree, painting easter eggs, or any of the myriad of other practices that go along with these holidays, they are, according to what you state, “sanctifying pagan practices.” Yet, Christian’s do not accuse each other of practicing paganism because they are not worshipping pagan gods during these holidays. That same argument can be used for Halloween. These little children are not nor are their parents sending them out to get candy so that evil spirits may be appeased.

      I do understand what you’re saying because I also believed as you do. I’m just not so sure that I am sanctifying paganism by handing out candy to cute little kids.

      1. penultima

        Hi Tishrei

        To answer your question directly, “If anyone is putting up a Christmas tree, painting easter eggs, or any of the myriad of other practices that go along with these holidays are [...] ‘sanctifying pagan practices’?”

        Yes.

        Consider the following two principles found in the Bible, one from the Old Testament, which I would argue is still applicable today, and another found in the New Testament:

        Deut 12:30,31, “be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” 31 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates.

        Matt 15:8,9 This people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

        And while the Easter, Christmas, and Halloween, celebrations of today are not exactly like the original pagan practices, and have been dressed up as fun, entertaining, and cute we are not to take on pagan practices and Christianize them.

        Notice Deut 12:31, it does not matter if Christians are worship God using pagan practices, doing so is strictly forbidden. So according to God whether you put up a Christmas Tree and serve a Christmas Ham for dinner it is counted the same as if you had erected a pagan Yule Log, or sacrifice a Ham to Freyr at the winter solstice it is counted as the SAME THING.

        However; back to halloween, if you disregard what the bible has to say about avoiding pagan practices, and you say, “well, I am going to do it anyways”, how is that not ‘sanctifying pagan practices’ within one’s heart?

      2. penultima

        I would like to correct a mistake in my last comment, the following:

        “Notice Deut 12:31, it does not matter if Christians are worship God using pagan practices, doing so is strictly forbidden.”

        Should have been this:

        Notice Deut 12:31, it does not matter if Christians don’t intend on worshiping other gods/demons when using pagan practices, doing so is strictly forbidden.

  2. Margaret

    Tishrei,
    Good question…. What would Jesus do during a time like Halloween?…. We know Jesus loved the children — and we need to remember that Jesus also loved the adults, so much so that He died for all our sins…. In Jesus’ love for the adults (Pharisees and Sadducees included), He never condoned any of their sins, but in love reprimanded them and told them to repent…. Jesus even gave the great warnings of “Woe” and hell fire….. Whoa!…. So, Jesus never turned away from sinners, but He unequivocally told them the truth about the effects of their sins….. Love shows the difference between a life lived for the Lord and a life lived for the world.

    Some did repent…. Others became mad and stomped off…. Which ones did what was right in God’s eyes?…. That is the most important concern…. Which ones grew in faith, hope and love?…. Which ones became more faithless towards God?

    Little children did not start Halloween practices — adults did….. And, pushing Halloween has become a huge money-making deal — not for the sake of little children, but for the sake of greed.

    Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever…. He does not change His mind…. Do you think the child Jesus would have gone trick or treating?…. I’m sure He would not have because He lived a perfect life in all holiness — for our sakes….. Throughout the Old Testament all superstition, witchcraft and myths are condemned — because they took people away from the truth about God’s love and salvation…. As the people dabbled in those lthings, they lost their love for the LORD and opened the way for all sorts of sins….. They even brought their heathen practices into the Temple and brought God’s judgment down upon themselves.

    God did not change after the Old Testament times…. Revelation 22:14-15 says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city…. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”

    Since Halloween does not speak of or uphold any of the truths of our salvation in Jesus Christ, it does not glorify God in any stretch of the imagination….. But, it does instill inordinate fears and doubts about God’s love in the hearts of many…. All those fears and doubts about God are based on the fear of witches, demons, spells, etc…. So, what would the love of Jesus do for all those He loves so dearly?

    I would not dare test God’s love for me.
    Love, Margaret

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      Yes, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I sure hope you do not take this wrong but one of the thoughts that went through my mind when deciding to go through and hand out candy to the cute little kids is all the other holidays that have pagan origins that we celebrate unto Him. He did not start Halloween nor would he have gone trick or treating as you correctly stated. But then He would not have celebrated His birthday nor would He have put up Christmas trees. He didn’t start it, man did. He never celebrated His birth during His lifetime nor did his disciples or His parents. Only pagans did that back in His day. Jews did not celebrate birthdays for that was a practice of the pagans. And you are correct, Halloween is a money making greedy scheme that Americans have fallen for. Same thing has happened to Christmas and Easter. Even the day picked to celebrate His birth is extremely questionable yet Christians are not bowing to paganism.

      I’ve gotten to know a bunch of little kids in my neighborhood and they come over a lot to see my birds and critters. I neither put out lanterns, carved out pumpkins, nor did I dress up in some silly costume to hand out candy. When the doorbell rang, I stood there with my macaw on my shoulder and chatted with the adults and children and gave everybody some candy.

      Anyway, these are the reasons I chose to give candy instead sending the cute little kids away by having a dark home on this day.

      1. Margaret

        Tishrei,
        I agree that Christmas and Easter are also filled with pagan traditions that certainly are not God-pleasing…. Some Christians are much more enthralled with those pagan traditions than they are about the birth and resurrection of Jesus….. I taught Sunday School and VBS for more years than I care to count and was often saddened by the lack of interest in the truths about our Redeemer when compared to the enthusiasm for the pagan traditions.

        The one thing that really troubles me is all the history related to us throughout the Old Testament…. Time and again our Lord punished the Israelites for dragging pagan traditions into their lives….. There it tells us how much the people loved the pagan traditions….. They thought nothing of worshipping at the Temple and with the pagans.

        God’s repeated warnings to not get mixed up with those traditions sends a message to my heart…. I know many Christians who use a Christmas tree and “easter” eggs in a totally Christ-centered way and even refuse to say “easter” — preferring Resurrection Day….. I don’t see anything wrong with that…. But, when Christians spend more time, money, effort, etc. emphasizing Santa and the easter bunny than they pay attention to Jesus, they cannot be pleasing in God’s sight….. It is ultimately God’s opinion that matters, and He knows our hearts….. I want God to be pleased with my heart.

        When it comes to Halloween, there is nothing Christian about it…. “All Saints Day”??? Who gives that a thought?…. The Catholic church started it, but that does not make it God-pleasing…. God’s word expresses so many warnings against superstitions, witchcraft, sorcery, fortune-telling, etc., etc., that I sense God’s total displeasure with having anything to do with such “traditions”…..

        A glance through the blog sites on halloween gives a person a pretty good clue about how the majority of people in this world “celebrate” halloween…. It’s not God-pleasing…. The kids can be cute, but they will grow up into adults and then, . who knows?

        No amount of talking changes anyone’s mind…. I just want to take my cues from God’s word.

        1. Tishrei

          Hi Margaret,

          One thing you said that really got my attention. You said ” I know many Christians who use a Christmas tree and “easter” eggs in a totally Christ-centered way and even refuse to say “easter” — preferring Resurrection Day…..”

          I just ask if there is a way to use it in a Christ-centered way? You correctly pointed out that time and again, God punished the Israelites for dragging in pagan traditions into their lives. Are they not traditions that that were dragged in by pagan traditions? Actually, the celebration of birthdays was pagan. The Jews did not celebrate it at all. Yet we do it and we even celebrate Christ’s birthday.

          That being said, I’m not disagreeing with you. As for me, I’m not celebrating Halloween. On this day, kids come out and go door to door asking for treats. I’m not turning them away.

          This was my first year that I did not turn away the little children. My only costume was wearing my bird on my shoulder. :)

  3. Repent Harlequin

    Halloween is an American tradition, with all its childhood memories, where we use the expediency of passing out candy to meet neighborhood kids from toddlers to teenagers and often their parents.

    I pass out candy every year, sitting on my porch listening to a CD of War of the Worlds and talking to neighbors.

    1. Tishrei

      I sat inside reading until the doorbell rang and then chatted with folks. I had my bird with me as he’s a great conversation starter. :)

      1. Repent Harlequin

        Hey Blog Lady T.,

        Well, my doorbell doesn’t work and with the two dogs it would be about thiry traumatic experiences trying to open the door and fighting them back. :-)

  4. Repent Harlequin

    “But, do what you wish. You seem to have already made up your mind, that you can sanctify pagan practices.”

    No one said that.

  5. Margaret

    Tishrei,

    I was tired last night while making the above comment and did not end up saying what I was going to say…. Getting old, you know…. Any way, I just wanted to give a note about the cute little kids, who go trick or treating in our neighborhood….. All year around we greet each other and visit…. The kids come over when I’m working in the flower beds and “help” me as we talk about all sorts of things…. Sometimes I give them flowers and sometimes a whole plant to take care of as their very own….. Sometimes, with the very young ones, we sit on the grass and I read a book to them….. Over the years I’ve talked to them and their parents about my stance on halloween, so they do not trick or treat at our house….. But, that does not affect our ability to enjoy each other as good friends, which is a year around thing.

    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      Like I mentioned in my previous comment to you, I don’t necessarily disagree with you on the pagan origins of Halloween. I just know that these children and their parents are not worshipping evil EVEN if they origins are pagan. The holidays that we do celebrate in His name are pagan in origin. I just don’t see the difference anymore.

      Please, please don’t misunderstand me, I’m NOT trying to change your mind. I’m just explaining why I changed MY mind. That was the point of my post.

      1. Margaret

        Hi Tishrei,
        Yes, I know you’re not trying to push your views on me and I’m not trying to push my views on anyone either…. Am just trying to explain my understanding and feelings about God’s word…..

        Much in all of these “holiday” traditions originated in the Catholic church as they tried to keep converts in the church….. But, none of their caving in to heathen traditions has done anybody any good….. God calls us His “children”, “sheep”, and “lambs” for a very good reason…. We are inclined to be followers of where ever the mainstream is headed…. It’s hard to be alone and excluded by everyone….. And, it’s very satisfying to be a part of festivities…. We all like being happy and having a good time.

        I agree with you in realizing that these children and their parents are not worshiping anything in an evil way…. But, in the same breath, I know for a fact that many who do not go trick or treating are worshiping the various solstice gods and nature gods…. Years ago, there was a news article about how they butchered some farmer’s animals – cut out their tongues and other various organs for their rituals…. Back then, there was also a court case against some parents who forced their child to stab another child in the heart as a sacrifice to their gods…. That child became insane with grief and was taken away from his parents…. I haven’t heard anything about it since and pray that that child’s mind has found healing.

        So, not everybody is just being cute and having an innocently good time….. Having a Reformation Day celebration just does not seem to interest anyone.

        I feel like I’m getting really ancient, although it’s not all that long ago that Christmas and “Resurrection Day” celebrations were much more Christ centered…. But, big business and all those worldly traditions are taking everything over…. Our sinful hearts and the temptations of Satan are clearly behind all that….

        Even though the Jews did not celebrate birthdays, I see nothing wrong with celebrating the coming of our Savior — who is eternal…. His earthly “birthday” is purposely an unknown according to God’s wisdom….. But, we do know when Jesus was resurrected from the dead…. That was something the early Christians rejoiced in every day…. So, I feel it is good to celebrate God’s fulfilled promises of our salvation — but, we definitely need to stay away from the way the world celebrates their meaningless “holidays” in that same time frame.

        People have written volumes on these concerns…. Think I’d better call it quits for now. :) I’m just glad our Lord knows our every single thought, action, and intention…. He’s our Judge in the end and when we live in love for Him, He knows……. :)

  6. Jenifer Mercer

    Hi Margaret, Like I mentioned in my previous comment to you, I don’t necessarily disagree with you on the pagan origins of Halloween. I just know that these children and their parents are not worshipping evil EVEN if they origins are pagan. The holidays that we do celebrate in His name are pagan in origin. I just don’t see the difference anymore. Please, please don’t misunderstand me, I’m NOT trying to change your mind. I’m just explaining why I changed MY mind. That was the point of my post.

  7. amber dover

    I also was very strict with holidays….I grew up seeing the Christmas tree and Easter eggs as being evil (my dad was a conservative minister). I eventually began celebrating the Biblical feasts and I still do but for different reasons (because I enjoy them not because I feel God will smite me if I don’t). Over the course of a year I see things with different eyes. This website changed my mind about several things:

    http://fortheloveoftruth.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/611/

    there’s stuff about Easter and Christmas. I learned that certain pagan practices never happened. I do believe that there are pagan things still in some holidays but that some things are taken to extremes in certain groups.

    We like to go to the fall festival at our church. We usually dress up but we never wear anything that would celebrate the day of the dead. We enjoy the fall and the fellowship. Sometimes we leave candy bags with Bible verses etc out for the trick or treaters. I figure it’s best to use the day for good instead of letting the evil take over the day. God looks at the heart not the outside appearance.

    God bless :)

  8. Angie T

    I usually have a negative thought towards halloween. This year, I went around my neighborhood playing a guitar and saying hello to my neighbors. It’s the only time people sit outside hoping for others to come by and say hello. We also gave out some candy to a few of the kids. I think that as Christians, we should take advantage of the things our culture celebrates. Even if we don’t put up a tree and celebrate Christmas (I don’t), the time of year is a good time to point to the reason we celebrate it. We live in this culture, and we are surrounded by these things of pagan origin. Many people don’t even know they have pagan origins. We definitely shouldn’t be those judgmental people who say to everyone that they should remove their tree, burn their costumes, smash their pumpkins, etc. It’s okay to explain things to people, but don’t cut them out of your life if they don’t understand.

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