Every year, some people ask me if Christians should celebrate Halloween. Here is what I share with them:
1. I’m glad that some Christians are willing to ask questions about what we should and should not participate in in our culture. I wish more Christians were conscientious enough to ask the difficult questions.
2. I’m also glad that some Christians are concerned about Halloween’s portrayal of death with ghosts and goblins and “evil” characters from horror movies.
3. At the same time, I believe that Halloween is what you make of it. It can be a night of celebrating evil and gore, or it can be a night for kids to dress up in a fun constume and get some free candy. I think it’s a great opportunity to talk with children about good and evil in the world and why it’s important to make the world a better place. All Saints Day on Nov. 1 is all about this.
4. Finally, some Christians are concerned about the orgins of Halloween. They know that much of what we think of as Halloween derives from Samhain, a Gaelic festival during which it was believed that the dead could come back to earth temporarily. The scary costumes were meant to emulate the dead or ward them off.
However, as Christianity swept through Europe, Halloween also became associated with All Saints Day, a day to remember those who have gone on before us. So, there are some Christian influences on Halloween.
It might be a surprise for some Christians to know that the origins of Christmas are not completely Christian either. Over 200 years before Jesus was born, Satunalia, the Festival of the god Saturn, was a Roman holiday. Gifts were given, and families celebrated with parties. Eventually December 25 was deemed the day of Christ’s Mass, to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, and Christmas was born. Easter also has influences from other religions. It is not a coincidence that these three holidays take place near a solstice or an equinox.
5. So, none of our major holidays have completely Christian origins, but Christmas, Easter, and Halloween do have Christian influences and connotations that can be observed by Christian families. These holidays are what you make of them. That’s exactly why they are holidays, actually. Over the centuries, various groups have added meaning to them and made them their own.
For a more practical view, click on Tony Morgan’s blog. Thanks to Jim Hall for sharing it with me.