In “That’s In The Bible” Bro. Bob Pellien was asked questions about Halloween by two curious students regarding Halloween.
The first question came from Diana: “Why shouldn’t we celebrate Halloween? And how did it start?
To that Bro. Bob says we will not turn to the Bible to study Halloween because it’s not in the Bible, because it has its origins in pagan culture.
People say, aw, it’s just for fun, and the kids get candy, etc.
But, is there any Biblical guidance that God would want us to know and understand, like holidays like Christmas or Halloween? If these holidays are against the Bible, why are they celebrated?
To start with history, in the book “Catholic Customs & Traditions: A Popular Guide”, written by Greg Dues. Pg. 196, this is recorded:
“There are several possibilities for the origin of the tradition of giving treats as part of trick or treating. … The more probable origin is that the ghosts who roamed freely that night would be satisfied with a banquet table laid out in homes. For a while after Christianity arrived in Celtic lands, there was an attempt to transfer this custom to the eve of All Souls Day (November 2). Masked children would go from door to door to pray for the departed loved ones in return for a treat.”
So, you can see that Halloween has its origins not in the Bible but in ancient pagan cultures.
What is Halloween all about? If we look in The Encyclopedia Britannia, Vol. 2. Page 15 it says,
“HALLOWEEN (in Medieval times “All Hallows”) kept on October 31, the eve of All Saints Day, was a Celtic festival at the end of summer named Samhain. It was connected with … the practice of divinations and its association with the dead, whose souls were supposed to revisit their homes on this day.”
So, again it does not have biblical origin but has its origin in pagan cultures, and refers back to a Celtic festival at New Years’ time called Samhain, and it was connected with divinations, these dead souls were supposed to return to the homes. Does the Bible have anything to say about these practices of Halloween, divinations, ghosts returning to the homes to trick-or-treat and such things like that? Let’s go to the Bible, Lev. 19:26 (NIV)
… “Do not practice divination or sorcery.”
So, we don’t do that. We will not participate in the divination and ancient practices of Halloween. The Bible specifically prohibits such things. And how about that part where it made mention of culture and Celtic practices on Halloween time, that the dead will return to the home and have a banquet table set for them, which was part of the customs where you go to the homes trick-or-treating? The Bible also mentions that in Job 7:9 NLT;
“As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, so he who goes down to the grave does not come up. He shall never return to his house, Nor shall his place know him anymore.”
The Bible makes clear there’s no returning to the home as a ghost or a skeleton to get treats from a table that’s been provided for that one particular night. The Bible clearly teaches against such things. That is why Halloween is not a festival or a holiday or a practice that we faithful Christians should participate in.
Jason de la Cruz, from Kent, Washington similarly asks,
“My question is, why do you guys not celebrate Halloween?”
Well, even though it has such origins it’s still fun, and some will say: it’s just a myth, and fables, and traditions of the past that we’re just trying to give fun to the children. The Bible gives some particular guidance about that way of thinking.
Here’s what the Scriptures have to say in Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy NKJV, where it was addressed in these terms: I Tim. 4:7,
“But reject profane and old wives’ fables and exercise yourself toward godliness.”
So, the Bible is very explicit to reject such fables and instead, exercise godliness. And there’s another reason why the Church of Christ will not go along with traditions and practices of Halloween–there’s another element of Halloween that supposedly many people do not know, and that element of Halloween was described in the Encyclopedia Britannica like this, in Vol. 2, page 15:
“The autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons of all kinds…It was THE ONLY DAY IN WHICH THE HELP OF THE DEVIL WAS INVOKED FOR SUCH PURPOSES.” (Emphasis, mine.)
Imagine, that’s the day where they ask the assistance of none other than the devil himself. Obviously true Christians won’t participate in any such things regarding Halloween, knowing that the devil has a stake in these practices.
Well, then others will say, well look, we’re not thinking about its origins being in ancient pagan Celtic culture, and we’re not going back to the origination of any of those practices, and we’re certainly not going to invoke the help of the Devil, they would say, “We’re just doing this for fun, to wear masks and go to Halloween parties and get candy for the kids.”
Well, if one would say we’re just doing it for fun is there any Biblical guidance that God would want us to know and understand if that’s the way we were thinking?
Turning again to the Holy Bible, in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 4:17:
“Here then is my word to you, and I urge it on you in the Lord’s name: give up living as pagans do with their futile notions.
Lee Cunningham from Kent, Washington also posed questions pertaining to Halloween. He asked, “If national holidays like Christmas or Halloween are against the Bible, why are they celebrated?
Why? There’s something that they have missed. It was a warning that was given in the Holy Bible in the book of Colossians 2:8, NLV. The reason given here, it says,
“Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, …”
The reason why they do that today is that they missed the warning. The Bible issued the warning, with human ideologies that they have invented.
There was also an explicit instruction from Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Not only was his advice’ don’t let someone lead you astray with these things’, he went on to say in Gal. 1:8-9 NKJV this:
“But even if we, or another angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
We will not then say well, it’s okay it is good to use pagan practices. We will not. We will stick to the advice and warnings of the Scriptures. Why? To conclude on that point, I Cor. 15:1-2 NKJV :
“Moreover, I declare the Gospel which I preached to you which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.”
We’ll hold tight to the preaching of our Savior and his Apostles.
There are some also interesting things to touch on concerning Halloween festivities. For one, turnips were used as lamps then, but when there were no more turnips the druids found a good substitute in pumpkins.