Today is “all Hallows Eve,” or you probably are familiar with the term Halloween. Every Halloween we get so many questions about Halloween. People want to know whether they should participate in Halloween, accommodate Halloween, or whether we, as Christians, ought to vigorously denounce Halloween. To answer those questions it’s always helpful to have a little history or perspective on Halloween. A lot of people don’t even know where Halloween came from.
If you look at the background of Halloween, it’s rooted in the ancient Celtic feast of Samhain. The Druids believed that on the eve of Samhain the veil between the present world and the world beyond was pierced, releasing demons, witches, and hobgoblins en masse to harass the living. In order to make themselves immune from attack people would disguise themselves as witches, devils, and ghouls to attempt to ward off evil spirits. They would also carve grotesque-looking faces on gourds illuminated with candles, and they would try to placate the spirits with a variety of treats.
I think we can also learn a lot from the early Christians and how they responded to Halloween, because on October 31st, the eve prior to All Saints Day, they would designate this day as a spiritually edifying holy day on which to proclaim the supremacy of the gospel over the superstition of ghosts. So, “all Hallows Eve,” from which the word Halloween is derived, was an attempt, an overt attempt on the part of Christianity, to overwhelm the tradition of ghouls with the truth of the Gospel.
Today Halloween is predominately pagan, but there still is a silver lining. Like our forefathers, we can choose to celebrate “all Hallows Eve” by focusing on heroes of the faith who were willing to stand for truth no matter what the cost. We might also use today as an occasion to introduce our children to great classics or to the quintessential victory over ghouls and demons and death which is found in 1 Corinthians 15, the great chapter on resurrection. You ought to read that chapter today with your children before they go to bed, because in the end the trick is to treat Halloween as a strategic opportunity rather than seeing it as a time of Satanic oppression. If you want more information there’s a Perspective I did. It’s called “Halloween: Oppression or Opportunity.”