Whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween has been a controversial topic for decades. Some view dressing up, eating candy and enjoying the festivities harmless and innocent, while others view it as an offense to their faith. Americans spend nearly $6.9 billion yearly making it the second largest commercial holiday in the country. As commercialized as the celebration has become, many of its roots are completely paganist. Is this a cause for Christians to avoid the entire celebration?
This is a time of year filled with debate, but not necessarily politics. Many Christians are convinced that Halloween is a satanic holiday while the rest of the world has found their sweet spot complete with costumes and candy. Children and adults have the opportunity to dress in accordance with their imagination, confirming from its haunted history to modern festivities, this holiday is a big deal. With decorations, candy, parties, and costumes, the average American spends up to $75 in the spirit of celebration.
Halloween is the holiday that links the seasons of fall and winter. Reportedly, it originated with one of the ancient Celtic festivals; an event where people would wear various costumes and light bonfires in hopes of warding off roaming ghosts. However, by the late 1800s, Americans shifted the theory of Halloween into a holiday centered on community and fun events. The focus, for many, has transitioned from witchcraft and ghosts to neighborhood celebratory events. With the evolving of the focal point, should Christians change their stance to celebrate the holiday?
Despite having at least partial roots from a Christian tradition, the relationship between Halloween and Christians has long been complicated. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther essentially started the Protestant Reformation in Wittenberg, Germany, when he nailed his 95 Theses to a door. Many of the early Christian groups that came to America rejected this holiday as pagan. The Protestant Reformation heavily influenced the Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers, and Baptists causing the great majority to frown upon it. However, that did not prevent Halloween from finding its way to American shores.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III dedicated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The holiday became widely recognized as All Saints’ Day. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve, which later became Halloween. The word “hallow” originated from the Old English word for “holy” and “e’en” is an abbreviation of “evening.” As such, Halloween represented the night before All Saints Day.
Over time, Halloween advanced into a secular, community-based holiday branded by child-friendly activities that include costumes, neighborhood trick-or-treating, and more recently, trunk-or-treating. Along with a variety of pumpkin-flavored foods, Parties for both children and adults have become a very common way to celebrate the holiday. Some Christians still choose to lock themselves indoors with the lights off, but others have found freedom in their faith and are at liberty to decide when and how to participate.
In multiple countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to escort the winter season in with candy-coated gatherings and a wide range of costumes. Halloween is a celebration that allows people of all ages to participate. Nonetheless, the question remains, “Should Christians celebrate?”
Due to the efforts of community leaders and parents, Halloween has lost most of its illogical and religious undertones and is now more about imagination than spooky interpretation. There is nothing sinful about a Christian dressing up and participating in fun, non-threatening, celebrations. As a result, many Christians find no harm in dressing in costumes, attending parties and festivals as well as allowing their children to participate in school and local activities.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Kidsville News: Around the World – October 2015
Grace to You: Christians and Halloween
Top Image Courtesy of Billy Wilson – Flickr License
Inline Image (1) Courtesy of Richard Vignola – Flickr License
Inline Image (2) Courtesy of The Forum News – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of John Nakamura – Flickr License