Is it really OK for Christians to Celebrate Halloween?

Snoopy on punkinWell, here it is All Saints’ Day. The day after All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween. This Christianized Pagan holiday has been around for a long time. Back in the day, the Celtic folks celebrated this holiday. Only then, it was called Samhain,( pron. Sah-win). It pretty much was a time to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of a new year. It is said that these people considered this a ‘liminal’ time. That is, a time when the veil between the world of spirits and fairies and our physical world was very thin. This allowed those from the other side to more easily enter our world and interact with us. This is similar to the Mexican celebration of “dia de los muertos,” or the Day of the Dead. Far from being a theme for a bad zombie movie, people celebrate by offering flowers and sugary goodies to those who have passed on. Many actually go to cemeteries so that they can be closer to their deceased relatives. It is a time to remember and celebrate their lives.

So, why do so many Christians find harm in these celebrations?

I remember when my children were young, we wouldn’t allow them to dress up and go trick-or-treating because we were taught by the fundamentalist cult we were a part of the Halloween was demonic. It was a night that Satan and his minions were honored. So, or course, as true Bible believing folk, we had to shun that lest we catch some sort of dreaded Halloween cuties. We even took them out of school on the day when their classes had their Halloween parties. You know that you can’t allow candy, cupcakes and cider to threaten your eternal soul.

We did, however, allow them to be involved in church-sanctioned alternatives. You know, Harvest Celebrations and such. They could dress up as Bible characters or some other ‘safe’ character. My son dressed up as Curious George one year. This made the sting of being some kind of weirdo a bit easier for them to take. At least, that’s what we thought. I found out years later that our separatist practice had a very negative effect on both of my children.

Since leaving that Fundagelical world behind, I’ve found a new freedom to engage with our culture rather than hide from it. The holidays and celebrations that are part of our culture allow us to be part of a larger community of people. They provide an opportunity to rub elbows with neighbors and other people we may not usually spend time with. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?

Halloween also gives us a chance to remember and honor our ancestors. We in the West are so hung up on death and disease as horrible things that must be stamped out, that we miss the opportunities to grab hold of our mortality…our humanity. I have had some of my most spiritual experiences while walking through a cemetery. There’s nothing to fear there. But, there is much that can be gained as our imagination reaches back through time and space to meet those who went before.

So, can real Christians find truth and meaning in the celebration of a Pagan holiday? Follow this link to Samantha Field’s blog, Defeating the Dragons. I have to agree with her. And, with all of those other souls who find life while celebrating the dead.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Is it really OK for Christians to Celebrate Halloween?

  1. I never went trick or treating as a kid; my dad was already a pretty old guy when I showed up and by the time I was old enough to want to do this he was dead set against being annoyed by kids ringing the doorbell all night long OR letting me drag him all over the neighborhood. He didn’t want to be friendly with any of the neighbors either – he simply wanted to be left ALONE. So we’d turn off the lights and pretend no one was home on Halloween night.
    After he died and I began attending church regularly I remember one College and Career class before Halloween night; all of us teenagers and young adults sitting in this Sunday School round table being admonished about the dark parts of Halloween and how we should not be part of this world. I remember one young man (whose name, sadly, has disappeared from my memory) sitting with a scowl and his arms crossed defiantly in front of him; I remember him saying firmly that we could say what we wanted, but when HE had kids, They Were Going To Go Trick Or Treating. Period. He said he’d grown up with the practice and loved it; he loved the feeling of community, the feeling of participation, the enjoyment of dressing up and seeing the creativity of the other kids and the decorations. He loved the candy, of course, and just the general pervasive sense of warmth and FUN. And come hell or high water his kids would too. Somehow I don’t doubt for a minute that he followed through on that.

    • Thanx for sharing! Yeah, I’ve found that Christians can be the most superstitious people on the planet. Also, too many think that if something isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Bible it can’t be good. I really feel bad for them locked up in there little world when there’s such a big, magnificent world to enjoy.

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