A Folklore


Disclaimer: This article does not represent the convictions of all the contributors in this blog. These are solely my thoughts. 

It is once again that time of the year. The time of the year when Halloween comes around, and that means the Christian blogosphere begins to debate as to whether we- as Christians- can partake of the festivity known as Halloween. Are those who participate compromising? Or are those who refuse to partake in Halloween simply too uptight?

Whatever your position, we cannot deny the well documented facts about the pagan origins of Halloween.

Brief History

Halloween began with the Celts who celebrated Samhain (means summer end). November the first (a new year for the Celts), marked the end of the summer and the beginning of a long winter. On the night before the new year, on October the 31st, the Celts celebrated Samhain. They believed that on this day, the barrier between the dead and the living was broken, and the dead roamed the earth. The people feared for their health and crops. As a result, the people wore masks to in order to fool the ghosts, causing them to believe they were of their own. There are other speculations in regards to what other superstitions derive from this celebration. Whatever the case, it is clear that this festivity began with pagan origins.

Common Arguments Against Christians partaking in Halloween: 

Argument #1:  The origin of Halloween is pagan and superstitious.
Christianity is not pagan nor superstitious.
Therefore, Christians should not partake in Halloween.

Argument #2: Halloween glorifies evil.
Christianity does not glorify evil.
Therefore, Christians should not partake in Halloween.

A Closer Look and Response:

The problem with the first argument is the fact that there is a very small amount of Christians – if any- who actually believe the dead roam the earth on October 31st  (Okay, I am being beyond generous with the “small amount” here). And the same I trust could be said of non-Christian. What unbeliever do you know is dressing up as Superman in order to disguise himself from spooky ghosts? You will seldom find a five year old who nags his parents for a Halloween costume in fear of ghosts who wish to make him ill. You will find it difficult to even find a person who even knows the origin of Halloween (and one who even cares for that matter). The reality is that Halloween has lost ALL of its religious significance (For most normal people. I’m sure wackos exist) . The reality is that ghosts do not roam the earth damaging crops or attempting to make people ill. What Samhain meant for the Celts will always be remembered as what it was- a folklore. If Christians did in fact celebrate or fear those pagan aspects of Halloween, then yes, we would be in sin.

The problem with the second argument is that it falsely assumes that Christians must glorify evil in order to partake in Halloween. Christians do not have to allow their children to wear costumes that depict evil nor should they adorn their houses with decorations they cannot in good conscience place.


Inconsistency Is A Pain: 

As Christians, we should strive for consistency in all areas of our lives. We cannot, as other worldviews so liberally do, be inconsistent in our argumentation. Inconsistency does not glorify God. Let’s be clear and honest here. Christmas has a pagan origin. Yes, don’t run. Don’t cover your ears, it does. But you say, ” I am not worshiping Sol Invictus nor am I setting up yule logs”. This is our very argument for Halloween. We are not celebrating the the pagan folklore that was Samhain, but we are partaking of the innocence of dressing up our kids to go get some candy (I’m a monster, I know). Just like when we call Jesus the Logos, we don’t mean what the Greeks meant hundred years before John ever used the word. And when we wear our wedding rings, are we sinning by joining in ancient paganism? How about the names of the week or the months of the year? The list is longish.

Clarification:

I am fully aware that in other countries, and maybe there might be some cases in the U.S. (certainly isn’t the norm at all), some kids do in fact act upon the “trick” part of Halloween. This not what I mean when I say Christians can partake in Halloween. Also, women dressing provocatively is sinful whether on the 31st of October or not. We do not condone this behavior.

Final Thoughts

Last year was the first Halloween I celebrated in a long time; I passed out candy and gospel tracts. I got to meet people I’ve never met, and gave them the gospel. It was a good time. I would encourage you to reconsider turning off the lights and pretending no one is home. Instead, consider engaging with your neighbors. This is the one time of the year when unbelievers knock on our doors. I really believe Halloween is one of those Romans 14 issues. It is a matter of discernment and conscience. If our brethren cannot participate in Halloween in good conscience before our Lord, then that’s fine, but we ask that they grant us the same liberty if we can.

-awretchsaved

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About lalvin1517

I'm married with two children and pastor McCall Baptist Church in McCall, Idaho.
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9 Responses to A Folklore

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post brother,

    My wife and I have begun the conversation about dressing up our little one and participating in Halloween, in whatever fashion that might be. I agree that it is a Rom 14 issue and we can and should use this time of year to share the gospel.

    FB friend.

  2. prussic says:

    Well done. We need to move past this whole notion that if something has pagan origins, that it somehow retains that pagan tomfoolery and is, therefore, evil. One problem with the article is that it very well might invite people to jettison Christmas too! I think (making room for conscience) I'd come down a little harder on the foolishness of opposing pagan origins. Positively, I like your opposition to the problems and excesses of Halloween. Overall, good stuff. I'm happy you're blogging!
    -Tim

  3. LUIS SOTO says:

    Very good Cesar, this was a fun and informative read.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I tend to doubt that the controversy revolves around the pagan origins as much as it does what Halloween represents today. In my mind (as a person saved just over 4 years ago) Halloween represents the opportunity to engage in even further lengths of debauchery than usual in the name of letting loose. I don't think that handing out (good) candy and tracts is a bad idea but participating further than that is just pointless and worldly.

  5. Bill says:

    I don't know – I used to engage in debauchery to great lengths on any given day. I didn't even care what day…

  6. Awretchsaved says:

    Hi, Anonymous

    See, it depends on the person. The prevailing argument I hear, is that of its origin.

    In the states, there are very few cases of anyone really damaging anyone's house or partaking of the “trick” part of Halloween. Though, that would of course be sinful.

    You would need to prove how dressing up is worldly.

    Thank you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oct 31st is also the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of the church so we celebrate Reformation Day. Kids come to the door, we hand out candies with tracts. Makes for good alliances with all the neighbors.

  8. I think I saw this post when you first wrote it in 2011. Not sure if we were friends back then yet. But I have been posting it every year since then around this time because it’s that good, short, and sweet. Thank you for writing it and keep rocking that legalist boat!

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