Is Halloween Something To Fear?

Now, there's a debate. 

Other than maybe the ongoing debate of dates, the history and truth behind Christmas or Easter holidays has pretty much been settled in America. There isn't much dissent about Christ and His birth and death. 

However, when we talk about the history and truth behind Halloween, temperatures rise. Is this a fun and historical dress-up holiday, or, an evil pagan season? 

Let's look at two things regarding Halloween: History and Theology.

HISTORY - Costume Party or Celtic Paganism?
According to most sources, it is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, when people would light 'bonefires' and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts and spirits who were trying to inhabit the living at this time. This would explain the evil connections to death and hell. 

It is also tied to an eighth century Pope named Gregory III. The Pope designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. 

Over time, Halloween has evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with costumes and sweet treats in order to make the season happier.

So which is it? Costume party or Celtic pagan holiday? Let's look at another angle.

THEOLOGY -  Isaiah 28:18; Luke 7:14-15; John 10:17-18; Acts 2:24, 27; 1 Corinthians 15:54-55; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18; and 18

Looking at these texts, here are a few ways the bible describes Satan, Evil, and Hell. And our relationship to it. 
  • As an everlasting fire
  • A place with chains of gloomy darkness and where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth
  • Of outer darkness and endless torment
  • The lake of fire
  • The second death
  • Where there are unquenchable fires
  • The place of the grave and of fear 
  • The pit where flames of judgment are
I have had first-hand experience of the realities of evil. That may not have anything to do with Halloween, but, only because the culture of evil needs no public holiday. Let me give you a couple of examples.

A young teenager from my youth group was at a party when the students began a seance in the basement. The seance concluded with a call to do harm to my family and the student ran from the home in fear. 

In another situation, a coven visitor from Arizona was sent to the church I was youth pastor at in the early 1990's. The reason she was sent to our church was to seduce me and get me to fail morally.

Did these situations have anything to do with Halloween? Probably not directly. However, the debate of Halloween and fear is really more about Hell and evil and not simply its origins. If the debate about Halloween is merely historical, it might be difficult to find the truth of the origins of evil and how they affect post-modern America. 

Looking at Halloween and fear from a scriptural standpoint seems quite clear.  Let's also see what pop culture has to say about good and evil. With the aid of research from Gallup, let's look at the American population as a whole and see how they feel about Hell and evil.

94% of adults believe in God
89% believe in heaven
73% believe in the Devil
73% believe in hell
70% of people believe in good and evil
*2% of people in America believe they could go to Hell

Most difficult in this survey is the belief by only *2% of people in America who think they could go to hell. Our world has no problem with hell; they just don’t believe they could go there.

And clearly, we see a basic understanding and acceptance of Hell in our culture: just note the o
pposing forces of good v. evil in every day life such as sports, cartoons, music, television, and hollywood. The presence of good and evil almost validate in our minds the existence of a heaven and a hell.


Back to our question at the beginning of this blog. Is Halloween something to fear? There are many things we should fear, but, Halloween isn't one of them. The influence of evil is something that exists beyond the season of Halloween. 

Although there is an obvious presence 
of occultic practice in the days 
surrounding Halloween, the reality 
is that we must be in constant 
battle with evil and boycotting
 a costumed holiday would merely
 leave us 364 more days to deal with.

So, here are a few conclusions:

-According to history, there is an obvious relationship between Evil and Halloween

-According to scripture, as believers, anything associated with Satan or evil should be avoided and fought against

-Fighting the presence of Halloween will be a fruitless, our efforts should probably be focused upon intercession

-There is a greater emphasis of evil around the Halloween date than at any time of the year, and, evil often is hidden amidst the pageantry of costume parties and trick or treating 

-The debate of Halloween and fear is really more about Satan, Hell, and evil and not simply its origins in a pagan holiday

-Redeem cultural events as a believer