In the United States, Halloween has become one of the most popular unofficial holidays...Kids and even many adults love getting dressed-up for Halloween. And they love the candy, of course. It’s just innocent fun, isn’t it? But let’s think carefully and biblically about the history, nature, and impact of the holiday.When did this holiday begin and why?...How should Christians view this day in general?
To understand these questions further, we need to go back to the roots of Halloween.When Did Modern-day Halloween Get Started?In the early 1900s, the migrating Irish and Scots brought Halloween traditions to the United States. Over time, Halloween catapulted into mainstream culture.The holiday, though, has roots reaching much further back. Some researchers claim that the holiday can be traced back about 2,000 years to the Celts of Europe, who occupied what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. It was a pagan festival called “Samhain” (pronounced “sow-in”) that celebrated more or less the honor of the dead and involved the offering of large sacrifices of crops and animals. Although no original written accounts of this festival exist today from the ancient Celts, there is some reference to it in Roman records from when the Romans conquered Celtic lands around AD 43. With Roman rule, the day of Samhain was influenced by Roman festivals of the time. The first was called “Pomona,” which was a type of harvest festival, and the next was “Feralia,” the Roman day of the dead. Interestingly, both Feralia and Samhain were festivals of the dead and celebrated at the end of October.
The Name “Halloween”Around AD 800, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day in an effort to give a Christian alternative to this pagan holiday. Christians who did not want to celebrate pagan festivals celebrated something of positive spiritual value—in this case honoring the saints and martyrs. With the overwhelming expansion of Christianity in Europe, All Saint’s Day became the dominant holiday.5In fact, the current name of “Halloween” originates from the day before All Saint’s Day, which was called “All Hallow Evening”; this name was shortened to “All Hallow’s Eve” or “All Hallow’s Even.” The name changed over time and became “Hallowe’en”.A couple hundred years later, the Roman Catholic Church made November 2 All Souls Day to honor the dead. ...it is significant to note how many cultures throughout the world have celebrated a “day of the dead” (often with sacrifices), occurring at the end of summer and fall.
...Why Sacrifices?Proper sacrifices in the Bible were associated with sin and death. This goes back to the first sacrifice in Genesis 3:21 when the first two humans (Adam and Eve) sinned against God. The Bible says that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:22). Due to their sin, Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nakedness. So, God made coats of animal skins to cover their nakedness. God sacrificed animals to cover this sin. In a fashion similar to God, Abel offered sacrifices from his flocks (Genesis 4:4), and Noah did the same after the Flood. Later the Israelites did this as well, giving sin offerings of lambs, doves, etc. as God commanded. But the blood of animals is not enough to remove sin; it is only enough to cover it temporarily (Hebrews 10:4): finite animals could never really take the infinite punishment from an infinite God. These instances of sacrificing animals were foreshadowing Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God—who, as the perfect infinite sacrifice on the cross, fully paid for our sins so that everyone who trusts in Him will be saved and given eternal life.With most of the celebrations of the “days of the dead,” sacrifices were involved. This suggests that cultures around the world understood this concept of sacrificing to God to cover sins.
....Even evil acts such as vandalism, fires, destructive pranks, pretending people are something they are not by dressing up, particularly by glorification of sensuality, death, and demons, etc. are painfully in opposition to the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19–23). So, a word of caution must be given to Evangelicals who promote the questionable modern practices of Halloween.If anything, an alternative in opposition to Halloween should be offered by Christians. Psalms 24:1 points out that everything belongs to the Lord. Therefore, there is no reason to let Satan have Halloween. It is not his day in the first place. When Satan tried tempting Jesus, he offered Jesus something that was not his to offer (Matthew 4:8—all the kingdoms of the world). Jesus obviously didn’t succumb because it wasn’t Satan’s to give, nor did Satan exercise any authority over Him. Many today believe that Halloween is Satan’s day and recommend staying away from it. But recognizing such a thing would be to disregard that Satan owns nothing and that all days belong to God...
Year Halloween-related Sales in U.S. dollars
2004 3 billion
2005 3.29 billion
2006 4.96 billion
2007 5.07 billion link
Fox news this morning estimated the Halloween spending this year would top six billion dollars.