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Section 12A... The Occult/

 

003white Index To Section 12A The Occult         >            Halloween

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Halloween

Carol Brooks

Can Christians participate in a festival that celebrates death, witchcraft and the occult without without compromising their faith and being disobedient to God's commands?

ALSO SEE The Message of the Bible   and  The Warnng of The Bible

On This Page

Introduction

The Origins of Halloween

The Attempt to 'Christianize' a Pagan Festival
Taking an ancient pagan festival rooted in death and demonism and adapting it for use as a "Christian" celebration"

The Customs
There does not seem to be a single Halloween, custom or symbol that does not originate with the pagan occult

Samhain as a Pagan Festival
Samhain is imbued with the spirits of various gods and goddesses. Also because the boundary between the worlds is believed to be exceedingly thin at this time, spirits can easily cross the divide.

What the Bible Says About Pagan 'gods'
According to the Bible,  Celtic gods and goddesses including the Horned God and The Crone are simply classic names given real live spirits.

God, Christians and Halloween
God’s word specifically says not to even imitate what is evil,

Having Fun Vs. Keeping His Commandments
Unfortunately, the desire for 'fun' runs counter to the commands of the Bible that repeatedly tells us not to imitate the evil practices of the pagan nations.

Conclusion

Christian Alternatives?


Introduction
Halloween falls on the night of October 31, the eve of All Saints' Day and is commonly celebrated in a variety of ways.

Doting parents dress their children up in a wide variety of costumes ranging from demons and vampires to Sinbad and angels, take photographs of them in their "cute" little costumes, then escort them through the neighborhood to solicit (usually cheap, nasty and completely unhealthy) candy or other treats door-to-door. 

Many people decorate their yards and homes with various symbols commonly associated with Halloween and available in most stores. The list includes pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, gravestones, skulls  and cobwebs - all of which are connected with death and evil spirits. Halloween is also the occasion for numerous parties - the decor, games and food all centered around occult and/or ghoulish theme.

Scary movies, screams substituting for background music and ghoulish games are all part of the 'fun'. And, as we get more and more desensitized to the horrors of evil which is now seen as exciting, not repulsive, home decoration and party themes become more and more gross. Eyeball candies anyone?

Halloween has turned into one of the priciest holidays in the US. Between costumes, candy and pumpkins the average American is spending anywhere between $70 and $80 each Halloween; contributing to a total average US expenditure of $7.2 billion dollars annually since 2011. [00]

Secularization has caused us to see our world as the only one that exists, therefore the pleasures we get in the here and now is all that matters.

Christians and Halloween
Considering that Christians are called to be holy and separated from the world around us, It is very important Christians give some serious and prayerful thought to whether they can participate in a festival that celebrates death, witchcraft and the occult without compromising their faith and being disobedient to God's commands.

As Ephesians 5:15-17 says

    Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (NASB)

Are Christians, like my husband and myself who refuse to participate in any kind of Halloween celebration, overreacting especially since it is impossible to avoid everything that originally had pagan or even anti-Christian associations.

For example, with the exception of earth most, if not all, the planets were named after Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. Mercury was named after the Roman god of merchants and merchandise. Mars, protector of Rome, was the god of War and Neptune identified with the Greek Poseidon and thus became a deity of the sea. Similarly, Tuesday was named after the Norse god Tyr, Wednesday, or "Woden's day" was associated with Odin, and Thursday was named after the Norse god Thor - god of thunder and lightning.

However, we are not just talking about the origins of the word "Halloween" which, in fact, derives its name from the old English term - All Hallow's Eve. What concerns us is that the traditions and customs that Christians participate in date back to the Druidic religion of pre-Christian Gaul and Britain, specifically the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-en). In other words there is no issue with what the festival is called but what we do on that day. On Halloween...

     The vast majority of the population, including Christians, embrace the dark and evil side of the spiritual world. Not only are devils, ghosts, vampires, witches, werewolves, monsters and even, in some cases, blood and gore are put on display, but considered part of the "fun".

     The old pagan traditions continue to be observed, albeit in a slightly watered down fashion.

     The visual symbolism of death in the form of skeletons, skulls, graves etc. are front and center.

Halloween vs. Samhain
Although they have the same roots, Halloween and Samhain have evolved very differently. Psychotherapist, teacher, writer, and Wiccan priestess Selena Fox points out the difference...

    "Halloween has evolved to be both a family-oriented children's holiday as well as an occasion for those of all ages to creatively express themselves and engage in play in the realm of make-believe and fantasy .... In contrast, Samhain and its related Christian holiday counterparts continue to be religious in focus and spiritually observed by adherents." [01]


Origins of Halloween
 According to history.com

    The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth... [02]

In an article on the web site of the American Folklife center, Jack Santino, professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University says

    The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons--all part of the dark and dread. [03]


The Attempt to 'Christianize' a Pagan Festival
All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows in honour of all known and unknown saints is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church on the 1st of November.

In the early 7th century Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome, formerly a temple to all the gods, as a church dedicated to Saint Mary and the Martyrs, and ordered that date, the 13th of May, should be celebrated every year. It became All Saints' Day, a day to honour all the saints.

It is interesting that Lemuria or the "Feast of the Lemures" on which malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated, was also observed on this very date. The Romans believed that

    The Larvae are Roman spirits of deceased family members. These malignant spirits dwell throughout the house and frightened the inhabitants. People tried to reconcile or avert the Larvae with strange ceremonies which took place on May 9, 11, and 13; this was called the "Feast of the Lemures". The master of the house usually performed these ceremonies, either by offering black beans to the spirits or chasing them away by making a lot of noise. [04]

It was Pope Gregory III (731 - 741) who had the day moved to the 1st of November which was when the Celtic feast of Samhain was celebrated.  Although Samhain was a harvest festival, it bore certain similarities to the Roman festival of Lemuria. The 1st of November has subsequently become All Saints' Day for the western Church.

However, the evening before All Saints' Day, i.e. 31st October each year, became known as "All Hallow's Eve", which was soon shortened to 'Halloween'. On All Hallow's Eve, Christians in some parts of the world visit graveyards to pray and place flowers and candles on the graves of loved ones.

Pope Gregory's choice of Nov. 1 for this celebration was significant. Lesley Bannatyne, an American author who writes extensively on Halloween explains:

    "That the date coincided with Samhain was no accident: the Church was still trying to absorb pagan celebrations taking place at this time …

    Villagers were also encouraged to masquerade on this day, not to frighten unwelcome spirits, but to honor Christian saints. On All Saint's day, churches throughout Europe and the British Isles displayed relics of their patron saints. Poor churches could not afford genuine relics and instead had processions in which parishioners dressed as saints, angels and devils. This religious masquerade resembled the pagan custom of parading ghosts to the town limits. It served the new church by giving an acceptable Christian basis to the custom of dressing up on Halloween.

    In addition, the Church tried to convince the people that the great bonfires they lit in homage to the sun would instead keep the devil away ..." [05].

"The Christian church never truly Christianized Halloween - the Roman church merely baptized it with its own unique, if unbiblical, beliefs concerning sin, the saints, and purgatory". [06]

As so rightly pointed out by the United Church of God, "Pagan festivals from time immemorial have had a curious way of worming their way into Christianity over the centuries." In this case, the Catholic church rationalized taking an ancient pagan festival rooted in death and demonism and adapting it for use as a "Christian" celebration". And, as they go on to say, this

    flies in the face of God"s explicit instruction to not use pagan practices to worship Him. He clearly states in Deuteronomy 12:30-32: "... Do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods … Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it." [07]

In any case, the strategy failed miserably

 In a book about "The Hallowed Eve", Jack Santino also wrote that, throughout Ireland, an uneasy truce existed "between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and those associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived." [08]

He also writes

    The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche, to be satisfied with the new, more abstract Catholic feast honoring saints. Recognizing that something that would subsume the original energy of Samhain was necessary, the church tried again to supplant it with a Christian feast day in the 9th century. This time it established November 2nd as All Souls Day--a day when the living prayed for the souls of all the dead. But, once again, the practice of retaining traditional customs while attempting to redefine them had a sustaining effect: the traditional beliefs and customs lived on, in new guises.

    All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows (hallowed means sanctified or holy), continued the ancient Celtic traditions. The evening prior to the day was the time of the most intense activity, both human and supernatural. People continued to celebrate All Hallows Eve as a time of the wandering dead, but the supernatural beings were now thought to be evil. The folk continued to propitiate those spirits (and their masked impersonators) by setting out gifts of food and drink. Subsequently, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Hallowe'en--an ancient Celtic, pre-Christian New Year's Day in contemporary dress.  [09]


Origin of The Customs
A very large percentage of Americans claim to be Christians. Yet the nation's second-largest commercial holiday remains deeply rooted in the occult. In fact, there does not seem to be a single Halloween, custom or symbol that does not originate with the pagan occult brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine.

Trick-or-treating
Since the Celts considered not all spirits to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom could have evolved into trick-or-treating. On the other hand, some believe that the custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called "souling".

    The custom of baking bread or soul cakes for "all crysten [christened] souls" was well established before the Reformation. This food was conventionally distributed to all relatives and poor neighbours who offered to pray for the souls in purgatory, underscoring the belief that prayers and ritual practices could smooth or speed a soul's passage to heaven

    Souling is important to our investigation of Halloween in two respects. First, the rituals surrounding souling, in which supplicants moved from door to door asking for food in return for a prayer for the dead, bear a resemblance to modern Halloween customs, specially since soulers went from house to house with hollowed-out turnip lanterns, whose candle connoted a soul trapped in purgatory. In other words, with what we might describe as mobile jack-o'-lanterns. [10]

As often happens, it is entirely possible that, over the years, two separate traditions may very well have merged into one.

Carving Pumpkins
The practice of carving out pumpkins and lighting them with candles placed on the inside originated from an Irish myth

    There is an old Irish legend about a man named Stingy Jack who was too mean to get into heaven and had played too many tricks on the devil to go to hell. When he died, he had to walk the earth, carrying a lantern made out of a turnip with a burning coal inside. Stingy Jack became known as "Jack of the Lantern," or "Jack-o'-Lantern."... The jack-o'-lanterns are meant to scare away Stingy Jack and all the other spirits that are said to walk the earth on that night. [11]

The tradition was brought to the United States by Irish immigrants in the mid nineteenth century. Although the first jack-o'-lanterns were made out of rutabagas, turnips, or beets, pumpkins were more readily available in America.

Costumes
As said by history.com

    The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter. [12]

for those who believe that dressing up as witch or ghoul is only a bit of fun, remember what the Bible says about imitating "detestable things".

    "When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. "For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. "You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. "For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14 NASB)

    Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good...  (3 John 1:11 NASB)

Bobbing For Apples

    By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween. [13]


Samhain as a Pagan Festival
There seems to be absolutely no evidence that Samhain was the name of the Celtic 'Lord of death' or 'god of the dead', which I have read on numerous Christian web sites. As McBain’s Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language points out, Samhain (Irish spelling. The Gaelic spelling is "samhuinn") comes from sam (summer), and fuin (end). [14]. In other words, Samhain literally means "end of summer".

However, although Samhain is not a God of death, it is a yearly observance of the death of a God.

This was probably not a time that the ancients looked forward to. The warmth and life of summer would gradually give way to a perilous time of darkness and extreme cold. Many animals and people would not make it through the winter succumbing to hunger or cold long before the warmth of spring enabled them to plant new crops and take their animals out to pasture.  However, since most modern civilizations are not near as subject to the mercies of the elements and seasons , Samhain has become more of a spiritual celebration. A night when many reflect on the past year, rid themselves of the old and prepare for the new season to come. 

Selena Fox (cited earlier) tells us that...

    "As October turns to November, thousands of Witches, Wiccan, Druids, and other Pagans across America, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere observe the sacred time of Samhain. Samhain is a festival of the Dead. Meaning "Summer's End" and pronounced saah-win or saa-ween, Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest half of the year. For many practitioners, myself included, Samhain also is the beginning of the spiritual new year." [15]

Note: Paganism is a revival of the "old religions" and usually includes a belief in the living spirits in nature, the worship of the earth and the all encompassing "Mother Goddess." Most neo-Pagan groups including Wiccans, Shamanists and Witches do not even believe in Satan, much less worship him.

Pagans of various traditions commonly celebrate eight annual festivals at the beginning and midpoint of each season. The four most important ones being...

    Samhain, the beginning of the Winter or dark half of the year. It is a Celtic festival that marks the end of summer, a time of plenty which gives way to the darkness of winter, when the earth "dies.

    Beltane (April 30th / May 1), which we might know as May Day is the beginning of the Summer or the light half of the year.

    Oimelc or Imbolc (February 1-2) is a precursor to the end of winter.

    Lughnasadh (July 31st - August 1st) signals the beginning of the harvest season.

The others are celebrated on the Winter Solstice (Midwinter), the Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice (Midsummer)  and the Fall Equinox.

The Spiritual Roots
There is no question that the above mentioned festivals and celebrations are tied to the seasons and thus firmly rooted in the natural world. In fact, the Druids who were the 'priestly class' of the ancient Celts held their rituals at natural springs and in groves. On the other hand, as described on one Wiccan site, these festivals are not only imbued with the spirits of various gods and goddesses but they celebrate certain repeated events in the life of one or other of them. For example,

    Samhain festivals include candle-lit parades of thousands costumed to represent iconic pagan figures such as the God and Goddess, harvest deities, and the dead. [16]. Also, "in the European traditions, Samhain is the night when the old God dies, and the Crone Goddess mourns him deeply for the next six weeks". [17]

In other words, some Wiccans conceive of the Horned God dying on October 31, and being reborn on Winter Solstice, December 21.

    Oimelc or Imbolc is especially sacred to the Celtic Fire Goddess, Brigit [18].

    Lughnasadh is associated with Lugh (pronounced 'Loo'), the sun god.  "As autumn begins, the Celtic Sun God enters his old age, but is not yet dead. The God symbolically loses some of his strength as the Sun rises farther in the South each day and the nights grow longer". [19]

    Beltane means "fire of Bel; Belinos being one name for the Sun God, whose coronation feast we now celebrate.... In the old Celtic times, young people would spend the entire night in the woods "A-Maying," and then dance around the phallic Maypole the next morning. Older married couples were allowed to remove their wedding rings (and the restrictions they imply) for this one night." [20].

    Beltane, comes at the beginning of the fertile season; all are encouraged to eat and drink of the new growth, of Spring lambs and wine; but most especially to engage in an orgiastic pursuit of sexual pleasure to ensure a fertile growing season. It is here that the young Horned God meets and mates with the eternal Goddess: She comes to us as Demeter, Medusa, Hecate, Isis... [21]


Divination and Communicating With The Dead

Most pagans believe that the boundary between the worlds is exceedingly thin on Samhain As said by Dr. Benjamin Wiker

    On the night of Samhain, the Celts believed that the heavy veil dividing the world of the living from the dead was mysteriously thinned, and the beloved dead as well as malignant spirits roamed the world. The beloved dead were helped back home by fires and candles lighting the way. The evil spirits were warded off by frightening masks, or, with the Celtic Druid priests, by religious rites including, sometimes, human sacrifice. [22]

Sue, who describes herself as an "eclectic solitary Wiccan" says Samhain

    Samhain, also known as November Eve, (31st October) is a time for reflection, of looking back over the past year, of coming to terms with the one phenomenon of life over which we have no control - death. It a time when Wiccans remember their ancestors and all those who have gone before. It's a time when the veil between the living and the dead grows thin, according to Wiccan theology, and spirits can easily cross the divide. [23]

An excerpt from Samhain History says

     if you've had a loved one die in the past year, this is the perfect night to celebrate their memory. If we're fortunate, they will return to communicate with us from beyond the veil, and offer advice, protection and guidance for the upcoming year. [24]

Coven of Midnight, which provides tools and resources for Pagans of all walks of life, says

    Food is set aside for ancestors and protective spirits and rituals honoring the dead take place. Some celebrate Samhain with a ritual to guide the dead home by opening a western-facing door or window and placing a candle by the opening. [25]

Elysia Gallo, the Senior Acquisitions Editor for Witchcraft, Wicca, Pagan, and magickal books at Llewellyn, says

    A major aspect of Samhain is the brief connection it opens to the Otherworld. This has always made it a time to communicate with the deceased. Grimassi writes, "An ancient European belief held that the borders between the natural and so-called supernatural worlds became passable. It was thought that the spirits and souls of the departed could come and go as they pleased during this period of time." Hence we have the tradition of "dumb suppers," or eating an entire meal in silence with plates of food set out for passed on family members. Favorite foods are cooked especially for departed souls to invite them to the table, and in some countries this is the time to visit cemeteries, leaving candles burning and tokens of affection on their graves. You can also use this time to quietly commune with the dead and listen for their answers. [26]

The piece goes on to say

    Because of the ethereal, transitory quality of this period, it was also considered an excellent time for divination. [27]

wicca.com has this to say

    It is one of the two "spirit-nights" each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort. [28]

The Bible does not mince words regarding any form of divination or necromancy

    There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. "For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord... (Deuteronomy 18:10-12 NASB)


What the Bible Says About Pagan 'gods'
The question is whether pagan deities are simply "myths" or made up stories told in ancient cultures to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence. Although they were believed by many people, there was no truth to them.

Or, on the other hand do the specific characteristics of false gods such as nature, gender and authority stem from the fact they are neither imaginary nor fictitious, but actually exist? 

The Biblical condemnation of idolatry, usually defined as worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a monotheistic God, is very strongly worded and found all through Scripture. In fact, it is singled out in the Bible as the most abominable of sins. A search on the word idols in the Bible turns up well over 100 results, most of which have to do with God's opinion of idols and His warnings as to what will eventually happen to both the idols themselves and those who worship them.

    Note: an idol is a representation or symbol of a deity that has been ascribed with divine power and is the object of worship.

Many might protest that they do 'worship' these various gods. The word 'worship' comes form an Old English word which meant the "condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown,. Sense of "reverence paid to a supernatural or divine being" was first recorded c. 1300. [29]. In other words, 'worship' is defined as the reverent honor and homage paid to something or someone regarded as sacred, and includes the formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor.

In summary, any symbol or image of a supposed deity and any ceremony that formally honors them is worship.

God did not condemn idolatry throughout the Bible for no reason. False gods are clearly associated with the demonic. For example, the word translated "idols" in Psalm 96:5 ("all the gods of the nations are idols" ) is daimonia or "demons" in the Septuagint, which is the ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures. (See The Septuagint). From cover to cover, the Bible does not differentiate between sacrifices made to idols and sacrifices made to demons.

    They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread. "You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth. (Deuteronomy 32:17-18 NASB)

    They [the Israelites] did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and learned their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. (Psalms 106:34-37 NASB)

In the New Testament, Paul was very clear that the Gentiles sacrificed to devils.

    What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-21 NASB)

In short, from antiquity to modern times those who practice paganism are guilty of worshipping demonic forces - the images or symbols simply providing a point of focus. Deities as Zeus, Amun-Ra, Demeter, Isis and Apollo are real personalities; Osiris was a genuine underworld fiend; Hecate actually lived, and still does! The Hindu gods Shiva and the eight-armed Kali are far more than man made images.

Similarly, the Celtic gods and goddesses including the Horned God and The Crone are simply classic names given real live spirits.


God, Christians and Halloween
The question then becomes whether God's people can symbolically participate in celebrations that not only trivialize the evil side of the spiritual world, but celebrates pagan gods/spirits.

Here are some very pertinent some questions that every Christian needs to carefully consider. 

    1. When a festival is both traditionally and currently associated with the occult and pagan gods, is it possible for us to venture into Satan's territory and not be affected in any way.

    2. The Bible says "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB). Is it possible to participate in a pagan festival to 'the glory of God'?

    3. When we participate in Halloween are we not helping publicize and promulgate, however indirectly, what is possibly the single most important day in the world of the occult?

    4. Is it not true that when we send our children out trick-or-treating we are allowing them to enact either the practice of the ancient Celts who left treats out to appease the spirits who were afoot that night, or the Catholic tradition of 'souling' when food was distributed to all relatives and poor neighbors who offered to pray for the souls in purgatory.

    5. By allowing our children to participate in Halloween, are we not risking their eternal future by allowing them to become familiar with the occult. Even if our children are dressed up as angels, they are also bound to come into close contact with other children dressed as vampires, zombies, witches and ghosts They are also going to walk up to houses decorated with symbols associated with death, evil and the occult. Could this exposure not pique their interest in all things evil?  Unfortunately, as clearly evinced by the popularity of the Harry Potter books, all too many children are fascinated by the magic, spells, demons, and other things that the Scriptures warn us to stay away from.

    6. Are we not dulling our children's ability to distinguish between what is dark and evil and what is light and pure. 

    7. Ephesians 5:8 says "for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light" (NASB). It is okay to walk as children of Light 364 days a year, and walk as a child of Satan the other night? Similarly, is it okay to dwell on "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise" (Philippians 4:8) every night but one?

    8. How can one possibly be an imitator of God (Ephesians 5:1) when one is imitating the occult?

    9. How can God take anything but a very dim view Christian children dressing up as devils, witches, ghosts, and monsters? when His words very specifically tells us to come out from evil and be separate. Can Halloween be considered, at least in some sense, "walking in the darkness"?

    ..Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9 NASB)

    Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their god, and they shall be My people. "therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "and do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17 NASB)

    Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. (Ephesians 5:11-12 NASB)

    abstain from every form of evil.  (1 Thessalonians 5:22 NASB)


Having Fun Vs. Keeping His Commandments
Most Christians who participate in Halloween do so on the premise that it all in "fun" and has no pagan or occult significance for them. In other words, we can take advantage of our Christian liberty because we do not engage in the original practices and do not have the same intent. "Some parents even think that somehow God excuses all the evil associated with Hallowe'en as long as the kiddies dress up as Bible characters instead of witches and goblins or have "Harvest" or "Reformation Day" parties!" [30]

Unfortunately, the desire for 'fun' runs counter to the commands of the Bible that repeatedly tells us not to imitate the evil practices of the pagan nations. So why exactly do we think it is okay to have fun by copying which the ancient occultists did on Halloween.

    When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. Deuteronomy 18:9 NASB)

    Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good...  (3 John 1:11 NASB)

    Thus says the Lord, "Do not learn the way of the nations... (Jeremiah 10:2 NASB)

To be in a right relationship with God means keeping His commandments... There is nothing ambiguous about the connection the New Testament makes between the two..

    The Bible says "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; (1 John 2:3-4 NASB).

Yet Christians blatantly and unapologetically disobey the Lord's very explicit command to not learn to imitate the detestable things of the nations around us?

    Note: Simply professing Christ as Lord, attending church, reading the latest "Christian" book, or attending the never ending "Christian" conferences (whatever those are), or drinking your coffee from a mug marked with a Bible verse, will do nothing for you. To obey is all important, and takes precedence over everything else. If we do not do so, we will hear the same words that Saul did... "The Lord has rejected you". See Myth of Faith Alone


Conclusion

Even if they happen to be dressed up as innocent, even Biblical characters, our children are not only imitating practices that have their origin in supernatural and magical beliefs, but are doing so on a night that, even today, has special significance to pagans and occultists.

Celebrating Halloween cannot do anything but encourage occult activity.

Halloween helps support pagan beliefs and practices such as animism or the belief that it is not only humans who have souls, but unique and individual spirits indwell both natural objects like animals, plants, trees, mountains, rivers, and phenomena such as thunder, lightning and wind. Because animists believe each of these spirits can either help or hurt them, they "use magic, spells, enchantments, superstitions, amulets, talismans, charms, divination or anything that they believe will help to protect them from the evil spirits and placate the good spirits that are found everywhere in everything." [31]

Halloween encourages people to take an interest in all aspects of the occult including dangerous practices like divination which is based on the belief that spirits can provide guidance and answer questions. Perhaps the most common of all modern methods of divination is the very dangerous Ouija Board which is one of Halloween's 'party games'.


Christian Alternatives?
There are two schools of thought among Christian conservatives.

For example Sue Bohlin of Probe Ministries points out that when God commanded us to stay away from items and practices of witchcraft and divination (Deuteronomy 18) the strict guidelines are for our own protection because they can be "doorways to the occult". Therefore, we need to "stay away from anything that glorifies the occult. Witches, warlocks, sorcerers and sorcery, casting spells, mediums, magic, ouija boards, crystal balls, tarot cards, and astrology are doors to the kingdom of darkness. Satan/Beelzebub masks and costumes have no place on a Christian or in a Christian family - not even "adorable"(??) little baby devil costumes complete with horns and pitchfork".

As she goes on to say "If you can get away with ignoring it, wonderful! That would be the best solution. But,  because it's pretty hard to hide under a rock for the whole month of October, you may find yourself in a place where you want to provide some way for your kids to have fun in a Halloween-immersed culture without compromising on our Christian values and beliefs... If your church sponsors a Halloween alternative event such as a fall festival, that's a great idea to allow kids to have fun within pre-set boundaries. (Note: it's important to specify what kind of costumes are NOT welcome!). Apart from the clear representations of the occult, God calls girls and women to dress and act modestly, decently and with propriety (1 Tim. 2:9). Costumes of movie and TV characters that represent anti-biblical values are inappropriate for believers (and believers' children). [32]

Also See How Should Christian Women Dress? and   Modesty Matters on THIS Page

However, I tend to agree with Albert Dager who wrote

    No matter what the evil, parents are forever searching for alternatives in order that their children not feel deprived of the world's fun. When it comes to Halloween, Christians decide to substitute their own parties for the worlds. Instead of calling their festivities "Halloween parties," they call them "Harvest Festivals" and dress them in biblical costumes.

     But that's what Halloween is: a harvest festival.

    Besides, many children wear biblical costumes for Halloween anyway, so what's the difference except in the compromise of their minds? You can be sure that to most children it's still Halloween that they're celebrating...

    It is a religious spirit that persuades Christians that, by substituting angel costumes for witches' costumes they are somehow pleasing God. His Word calls for separation, not compromise.

    It isn't going to traumatize children if they aren't allowed to join in some things just because "everyone else is doing it." It's the responsibility of Christian parents to teach their children the truth from the beginning; not to wait until they have been sufficiently infected by the world that they must be deprogrammed at a later date. Children who are taught to love Jesus will understand that, because of that love, they shouldn't have anything to do with the celebration that glorifies the power of God's enemies. [32]

Finally, here is what one Christian mother says

    Let's say that we do let our kids be involved. We get them a cute Barbie or Bat Man costume, decorate the house up like a graveyard, and buy lots and lots of candy. Harmless right? You hit the road on Halloween and your little one starts to see other children dressed as witches, demons, and other assorted monsters. What do you say? Now think about this - don't answer too fast. You are building a foundation here that will mold how they think about the occult.

    If you say, "It's OK honey, it's just for fun." - Your child will remember that it is OK to emulate evil. If you say, "Just ignore them, they don't know any better" - Your child will learn not to care about the lost around them. Any response that you give that tries to smooth over the representation of the occult in Halloween will dull their ability to determine what is dark and evil and what is light and pure.

    Let’s say that you do choose the popular road of "it's all for fun." Your children accept that and they completely enjoy Halloween all through childhood. Maybe they have even dressed up as a witch once or painted blood on their face, ‘all in fun’. Maybe you let them read ‘Goosebumps" books and watch a few scary movies too, 'just for kicks'. Then your son comes home from a sleep-over and you discover that they have been playing with a ouija board and some strange stuff happened. How do you respond to that? His attitude is that it has been 'all in fun'. Your son has heard you say all his life that it doesn’t hurt anything if you didn't mean it to be serious.

    Your child is confronted in school with tarot cards and she accepts a 'reading' from a friend. She is fascinated and starts playing with them herself. She reads about how she needs to be a empty vessel for the spirits to move through. How will she even know that it is a forbidden practice if you have not brought her up to know what the Word has to say about clairvoyants? How do you tell a 15 year old that it is a dangerous when you have allowed her to be involved in an occult holiday year after year? [33]

She's right!

 

End Notes
[00] Cost of Halloween in The United States. https://www.pricegun.com/cost-of-halloween-in-the-united-states/

[01] Selena Fox. Celebrating Samhain. https://www.circlesanctuary.org/index.php/celebrating-the-seasons/celebrating-samhain

[02] Ancient Origins of Halloween. http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

[03] Jack Santino. Halloween. The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows. http://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html

[04] Micha F. Lindemans. Larvae. Encyclopedia Mythica http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/larvae.html

[05] Lesley Bannatyne. Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History, Publisher: Pelican Publishing; 1st Pelican ed edition (August 31, 1998) Pgs. 9, 11

[06] John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on Halloween. Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2008) Page 34

[07] How Did a Pagan Holiday Become a 'Christian' Celebration?
http://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/how-did-a-pagan-holiday-become-a-christian-celebration

[08] Jack Santino. The Hallowed Eve: Dimensions of Culture in a Calendar Festival in Northern Ireland. Pg. 96. Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (March 26, 2009)

[09] Jack Santino. Halloween. The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows. http://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html

[10] Nicholas Rogers Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night.. Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 31, 2003). Pages 28,29.

[11] http://www.thepumpkinmaster.com/history/jack_o_lantern.htm

[12] Today’s Halloween Traditions. http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

[13] Ancient Origins of Halloween. http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

[14] http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/MB2/mb32.html#samhuil

[15] Selena Fox. Celebrating Samhain. https://www.circlesanctuary.org/index.php/celebrating-the-seasons/celebrating-samhain

[16] Kit Kimberly. Halloween: Paganism Celebrates The Forgotten Divine Feminine.
http://newsjunkiepost.com/2012/10/30/halloween-paganism-celebrates-the-forgotten-divine-feminine/

[17] http://www.witchway.net/halloween.html

[18] Imbolc by Herne. https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/imbolc.htm

[19] [Lughnasadh by Herne. https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/lammas.htm

[20] Beltane by Herne. https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/beltane.htm

[21] Kit Kimberly. Halloween: Paganism Celebrates The Forgotten Divine Feminine -
http://newsjunkiepost.com/2012/10/30/halloween-paganism-celebrates-the-forgotten-divine-feminine/

[22] Dr. Benjamin Wiker. The Ghost Of Halloween... What Ancient Pagans Knew That Moderns Risk Forgetting.
http://tothesource.org/10_23_2015/10_23_2015.htm

[23] Sabbats.  http://www.no-exit-studios.demon.co.uk/sabbats.htm

[24] Samhain History. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/samhainoctober31/p/Samhain_History.htm

[25] Coven of Midnight. Samhain Facts. http://coven-of-midnight.wikidot.com/samhain-facts

[26] Elysia Gallo. Halloween: A Time For Divination and Communication. The Llewellyn Journal.
http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1200

[27] ibid.

[28] Samhain by Akasha. Samhain Lore (October 31st) http://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/samhainlore.htm

[29] http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=worship

[30] http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/hallow/truth.htm

[31] http://www.gotquestions.org/Animism.html

[32] Sue Bohlin. A Probe Mom Looks at Halloween. https://www.probe.org/a-probe-mom-looks-at-halloween/

[33] Albert James Dager. Halloween. Should Christians Be Apart? http://www.mediaspotlight.org/pdfs/HALLOWEEN.pdf

[34] Kelly McCausey Why We Don't Celebrate Halloween.
http://www.christian-mommies.com/special-features/bible-studies/why-we-dont-celebrate-halloween/

 

Halloween 3

Index to The Occult’

www.inplainsite.org