Should Christians be celebrating or taking any part in Halloween? How do we think biblically about this holiday?
It’s hard to find agreement on Halloween among Christians.
Some believe it originates with All Hallows/All Saints Day, which was a day devoted to commemorating the memory of past Christian saints. Other believe it has pagan roots that were later Christianized as Christianity covered Europe.
In either case, Halloween does have a darker side.
Many occultists, Satanists, witches, etc., treat Halloween as a time to practice and observe their rituals. Consequently, Christians should take caution not to appear to dabble with images (such as witches, devils, etc.) that aren’t morally neutral. Since these things mean something and are associated by some with evil spiritual forces, I think it would be wise to avoid them.
For the majority of people though, Halloween is seen as simply a fun night where the kids dress up in costumes and go trick or treating. It can be fun for the kids and also a chance to open your door to the neighbourhood. A rare opportunity in our day.
How should we handle Halloween biblically?
Some may disagree with me, but I’ve primarily relied on Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 to discern what to do about Halloween.
Applying Paul’s instructions about meat and idols to Halloween
Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 8
In New Testament times, much of the meat sold at markets had been used in idol sacrifice before being sold. The question was raised: “Should Christians eat such meats?” Paul argued that since Christians knew that idols were nothing more than hunks of wood or stone, there was nothing inherently evil with meat that had been laid in front of them. Their knowledge in Christ gave them freedom to eat such meat.
However, Paul also acknowledged that some believers didn’t quite see it this way. There were some who felt conscience-stricken about eating sacrificial meat. To break their conscience on such matters would be leading them into sin.
In this case, Paul warned that if taking part in something you knew was ok would cause another brother or sister in Christ to sin or stumble in their faith, then you shouldn’t do it. In such cases it’s proper to surrender your own freedoms for the sake of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 10
In Chapter 10 Paul carries on the same theme. He maintains the same view on meat as he did in Chapter 8 (“eat whatever is sold in the market without raising questions of conscience”; 10:25).
But he does warn that participating in the actual meal associated with idol sacrifice is sin. That’s because the rituals themselves are not spiritually neutral. They actually engage a person in participating with demonic forces.
This is something a Christian can’t do. Not only because it will lead them into sin, but also because it would be actively encouraging others to worship demons.
Questions to ask yourself when deciding about Halloween
How is Halloween observance generally understood in your community?
Do most people see it as harmless fun for the kids?
Or, are there notable segments of your community that seem to highlight the spiritual significance of Halloween?
Depending on your answers, you may want to avoid participating if doing so will serve to reinforce Halloween as a spiritually significant occasion to the people in your community.
How is Halloween treated in your church community?
Would participating be a significant stumbling block for any of your brothers or sisters in Christ?
If so you probably shouldn’t for the sake of your brother/sister’s conscience. This is how we honour Christ and love his body the church.
What does your conscience tell you about celebrating Halloween?
Don’t overlook the Holy Spirit’s role in guiding your conscience.
If you can’t give a good biblical reason for not taking part, but still feel unsettled or not at peace about it, then err on the side of caution and take that as the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Pray for wisdom
This isn’t a question, but of course you should commit the matter to prayer and specifically ask God for wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5).