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Celebrating a Christian Halloween

Updated on October 14, 2013

The Joy of Halloween!

Halloween is again, right around the corner, and I must admit, personally Halloween is my second favorite holiday right behind Christmas. Surprisingly (or maybe not), America agrees with me: Halloween is the second most popular Holiday in America. I believe the appeal of Halloween lies in the mystical--we are inherently spiritual beings, we yearn for spiritual things, and Halloween draws on that most human desire and forces us to wrestle with questions of life after death, mystical and cosmic forces, and good and evil. I'll admit too, I like being scared in the horror fashion. I hate heights, needles, spiders, and enclosed spaces, but I love a good fright night (it's a guilty pleasure). However, many Christians are skeptical of, if not downright against, the celebration of Halloween because of the evil and demonic influences that are presented to us, and especially our children. Frankly, I don't blame them for being apprehensive; such things must be practiced with caution. However, though Halloween is based on pagan practices (like every holiday), it has decidedly Christian influences that have fallen away in our current society. This can be difficult because so many kids love to celebrate Halloween. So now, I aim to present a few ideas on how to celebrate a "Christian Halloween".

The only thing scary about these trick-or-treaters is the amount of candy they'll eat.
The only thing scary about these trick-or-treaters is the amount of candy they'll eat.
Not all Jack O' Laterns are scary nowadays!
Not all Jack O' Laterns are scary nowadays!

All Hallows Eve

There are a large quantity of articles concerning both the pagan and Christian roots of Halloween, so I won't go into too much depth. However, for the sake of understanding, here's a brief overview.

Halloween, in the Christian sense, is all about praying for and remembering/celebrating the dead. It is decidedly Roman Catholic in origin because it celebrates the night before the Solemnity of All Saint's day, which in the "olden times" was referred to as "All Hallows" or Hallowmas". In the Catholic Church, a Solemnity is the highest feast, and thus it is celebrated starting the night before (in the tradition of the Jewish Sabbath). This is why we also celebrate Christmas Eve. The Day after All Saints Day is All Souls Day, in which we celebrate the faithful departed, especially those, in the Catholic tradition, who are still in Purgatory. However, along with this remembrance for the dead is a respect, or even fear, of evil spirits. This also, a "healthy respect" for evil forces, is something that the Church encourages.

Because of this, many of the symbols have to with supplication, remembrance, or even fear of the dead.  For example, the practice of trick-or-treating (which also relates to Christmas Wassaling) has its origins in Britain when the poor would go door to door asking for food in exchange for prayers for the dead.  The more food they received, the more prayers they would offer up.  On the darker side of the Holiday, the practice of carving pumpkins, and dressing up in costumes is to ward of demons.  Believers thought that the evil spirits would not want to encounter something as scary as themselves and thus instituted these symbols for protection.  Today, we use things such as prayer, crosses, bibles, and holy water, but the intent is still the same.

How to Celebrate

So how do we honor the dead while still keeping some of the fun of Halloween?

Throw your own Party

Believe it or not, there is no actual rule that says you HAVE to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, especially if you're above the age of 12 or have started growing facial hair. Instead throw your own religious-themed party. Bob for apples to celebrate the harvest, have a remembrance wall with pictures of your deceased relatives and friends to remember, and talk about good times. You can even have a contest to see who dresses up as the best religious figure.

Saint Costumes

Instead of dressing up as scary demons, pagan witches, or morally corrupt pop stars, dress up as your favorite saint or religious figure. Whether its Martin Luther, Jesus, or Michael the Archangel, people are sure to come up with some unique interpretations of history's best. This can work two ways--If you host your own party, you can have a contest to see who is the best, most accurate, funniest, etc. However, if you choose to go out and trick-or-treat this can be a wonderful means of evangelizing neighbors, kids, and parents.

Demon Awareness Night

Host a night at your Church (for either youth, adults, or families) to talk about the tests and trials the Evil One puts us through. In today's society many people choose to ignore the existence of demons even if they believe in God. Study scripture and examine with your group the power of Satan and how to over come them, as well as stressing that God is the ultimate power and the final battle is already decided! Depending on your denomination and charisms, this could include altar calls, physically praying over people, or an invocation of the spirit to help battle temptations.  Make sure this is appropriate for age level.

Remembrance Service

Finally, you could host a remembrance service, with your family, church, or community, to remember those who have gone before us and celebrate their lives. Have a prayer service, tell stories about them, and give support to those who may be suffering the loss. This embraces the true spirit of Halloween.

Enjoy the Celebration

Whether you decide celebrate the worldly Halloween or the religious one, fun is to be had for all.  I am sure I have only touched on the many possibilities for a religious twist Halloween.  If you have more feel free to share them in the comments--the more ideas the better!

© 2010 rdlang05


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    • rdlang05 profile image

      rdlang05 7 years ago from Minnesota


      I agree, Christians have some problems too, we all do. The important thing is that we try hard to live a good life!

    • profile image

      Rookie70 7 years ago

      Very good and thought-provoking hub. I personally think Christians are just too judgemental overall. They associate everything that other people do with evil. When children wear costumes and go trick-or-treating, they are not paying tribute to any evil source, and they are not doing anything of such human will. They do it because it is fun, and they enjoy being with their friends and doing things together, besides school work, homework, and having to face up to strict teachers. Even as a Christian, I must not forget what it was like to be a child. I too, wanted to have fun, but never with the intent to hurt anyone, or contribute to an evil cause. Christians don't have a problem celebrated Christmas, even after learning about its origin of pagan practices, and yet they continue to rush to the department stores to pick that perfect green leaf tree. The tree is symbolic of some paganistic belief. What is this thing with EAster, about the egg hunt? Christians observe Easter just like the non-believers do. My advice to Christians who want to speak evil about the observance of Halloween, here's a message from Jesus: "The blind can't lead the blind, first, remove the log that is in your own eye, so that you can then see well enough to remove the spinter that's in your brother's eye." We are living in times when self-professed Christians are mere hypocrites. I've even heard a Christian talk down on other Christians because they don't wear a suit to church. How Christian is that? The bible teaches "come as you are." This is my thoughts on the subject of judgement, and how it pertains to judging people who observe certain holidays. As for Halloween, I agree with the apostle Paul, "Let no man judge you in regards of a holy day...., one man regards one day as special, and another man regards all days alike." Such things are only a shadow of the things to come.

    • rdlang05 profile image

      rdlang05 7 years ago from Minnesota

      Thank you! Good to know it helps!

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 7 years ago

      I found this very interesting and useful!

    • rdlang05 profile image

      rdlang05 7 years ago from Minnesota

      Thank you much RevLady. I'm always willing to posit ideas to help better His kingdom!

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 7 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      Great hub and great ideas. Thank you for sharing.

      Forever His,