IE Grapevine Updates

Storkersen: Is it OK for a Christian to celebrate Halloween?

I work in children’s ministry, and I have recently been experiencing a lot of excitement from all of the kids about Halloween.

Braeden Storkersen

Braeden Storkersen

There’s no doubt about it that kids absolutely love this holiday. After all, being able to dress up and get an absurd amount of candy for free is very appealing.

The other day when I was talking with some of the fourth and fifth graders I teach, one of them brought up Halloween and everybody started to talk about what they were going to dress up as, and how much candy they were going to devour.

Suddenly, one of the children stated that his parents doesn’t allow him to celebrate Halloween. When this first child spoke up, another rose his hand to say that it was the exact same way; followed by another and another and another.

This sparked a debate, and fourth and fifth graders are always interesting when they debate. As funny as it was to watch, the ones who were totally against Halloween had some good ideas and so did the kids who absolutely loved the holiday and engaged in it.

Halloween has always been a little controversial in the Christian community due to its pagan origins and, as a result, it is often labeled as demonic and evil to participate in.

So this brings up the question, “Is it OK for a Christian to celebrate Halloween?”

Let’s consider the origins of Halloween and its practices since these are some of the big reasons some Christians reject the Holiday.

Halloween originated in Ireland and Scotland during the First Century. On October 31, the Celts celebrated the end of the summer season.

There was a lot of superstition about this time due to the change in seasons.

Many people believed that from summer to fall, spirits came out and would possess people’s bodies.

In order to avoid being possessed, everyone would dress up in costumes because they believed it would confuse the spirits by making them think that the people were one of their own. This is where the tradition of dressing up in costume originated.

In the 5th Century, Catholics moved in to Ireland and engaged the superstitious culture on October 31 by going door to door. As the Catholics did this, they would bring various treats such as cakes and offer to pray for the deceased. This was likely where the concept of trick-or-treating began.

Finally, the Jack-o-Lantern comes from Irish folklore. A man named Jack was said to have tricked the devil in to climbing a tree, and then imprisoned him there by carving a cross in to the tree. The devil then made a deal that he would not allow Jack in to Hell after he died if he simply removed the cross from the tree.

Jack agreed to the deal, and when he passed away was not able to enter Heaven or Hell. Due to this, he was forced to wander earth forever with a mere candle to light his way.

Given all of this information, I see no problem engaging in a majority of the practices associated with Halloween.

The idea of dressing up was rooted in keeping evil spirits away, so I don’t see why a Christian would have an issue with this.

Secondly, trick-or-treating itself was thought of by Catholics, so this one is obviously fine to practice.

Lastly, Jack-O-Lanterns are not much of a big deal either seeing that the jump from carving pumpkins to the Irish lore of Jack is quite a stretch.

My answer to those who love this holiday is to keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s a thing that you enjoy and it brings you closer to your friends and family, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to partake in it.

On the other hand, there are those who get disturbed and can’t sleep for quite some time when they engage in something scary like Halloween. If this is the case for you, I would personally encourage you not to engage in too many Halloween activities

How each person decides to enjoy the life God has given them varies from person to person. For Christians specifically, we have the freedom in Christ to engage in cultural practices such as Halloween. There’s no need to feel like participating in the October fun is sinful, because it simply isn’t.

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