Many think Halloween comes from America, but actually it is a Celtic pagan festival from Britain and northwest Europe, dating from at least 500BC. The Celts worshiped many gods & goddesses, encouraged by a secret priestly society known as Druids. They engaged in occult arts, especially the worship of nature, and gave supernatural qualities to oak and mistletoe trees. Even the Celtic kings feared the Druids. When a king became too old to lead in a battle, the Druids would sacrifice him, cutting him up while still alive and use his organs for divination.
The Celts had at least 400 gods, and one of them, “Samhain,” their god of death, was worshiped on October 31st, the last day of the northern autumn (their New Years Eve). They believed that on this night the Lord of Death gathered the souls of the evil dead who had been condemned to enter the bodies of animals, and then decided what animal form they would take next year. The souls of the good dead were also believed to be reincarnated as humans. They even falsely believed that the punishment of the evil dead could be lightened by sacrifices, prayers and gifts to the Lord of Death. And on this night, Samhain allowed the spirits of those who had died during the previous year to return for a few hours to associate with their families.
Druid priests wore long black robes, and carried a hollowed out turnip or pumpkin with the face of their “Familiar” – a demon – carved into it with a small candle inside for light. The lamp was often fuelled by fat from a previous human sacrifice. These lanterns were known as Jack-O-Lanterns, allegedly named after a miser trapped between heaven and hell and rejected by both. The Druids would go house to house demanding special foods. If supplied obediently, they would leave for the next home; but if not, the household were cursed with trouble. Often a hex sign would be slashed into the door with the threat of death of the oldest child within a year. That’s the original “Trick or Treat!”
As the centuries passed, the Romans conquered much of Europe. The Druids declined in numbers and power, allowing the common people to pick up the practices of Samhain and more. Many things were done to invoke “good luck” – meaning trying to find favour with the evil spirits many people believed controlled their lives.
By the 8th century, the Christian church (now more political than spiritual) attempted to overlay many pagan festivals and holidays with a “Christian” veneer. To counter Samhain, the Pope decreed November 1st as “All Saints Day” to honour the Christian dead, particularly those martyred for their faith during earlier Roman persecutions. This attempted substitution didn’t work.
Witch on a broomstick – The Dark Ages saw a revival of witchcraft and paganism. Mediums (often thought of as witches) were employed to convince the nature spirits to allow a good harvest of crops such as grain. These mediums, usually women, would ride their broomsticks naked and leap about around the growing crops as part of their fertility ritual. The height they leaped was alleged to become the height of the crop. This leaping on a broom was often confused with Astral Travel when witches went out to spy on others or cause mayhem. The Black Cat was often inhabited by a familiar or evil spirit. The Raven had a similar reputation.
The use of Masks arises from the idea that it was best to hide one’s identity from the visiting souls of the dead by wearing costumes as a disguise. There may also be a connection with the use of masks in many other pagan festivals, which change the personality of the wearer and allow communication with the spirit world.
This form of ‘celebration’ is not unique to the Celts. The Hindus have their night of Holi, the Indian have their feast of the dead (every 12 years), and in Mexico the day of the Dead begins on November 2nd and lasts several days.
Halloween was brought to North America by Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine during the 1800’s. Promoted by pagans of various kinds, along with commercial interests, Halloween has gripped once God-honouring nations with its occultic tentacles.
God isn’t a kill-joy. We believe He wants us to have fun, but without the occultic snares of Halloween. Children need to be warned about the abuse and evil history associated with Halloween. Scriptures which advise us to stay away from events like Halloween include: Deut 18:9, Jer 10:1-3, Rom 12:9, 1 Thes 5:22, 3 John 11, Eph 5:11. Also Halloween and similar subjects desensitise us to evil; it isn’t good to expect rewards on demand; the benefits of acting out modern versions of old pagan rituals are questionable; tell children good things such as the true story of God’s love for us sent through Jesus Christ.
In the Bible we are instructed to measure things by their fruit. Halloween’s fruit in modern America has been increasingly bad. Children knocking on doors are open to “Stranger Danger,” and there are regular reports each year of children disappearing on this night of death, or who receive sweets or fruit laced with drugs and even parts of razor blades. We invite people to write to their local school principal and School Board of Trustees and politely request a thorough investigation of Halloween, its history and its consequences. If Halloween is permitted to be promoted in our public schools, then traditional Christian, Jewish and other religious festivals should receive at least equal time in teaching and promotion. If Halloween is to be taught in schools, then teachers must be prepared to tell the whole story.
Perhaps rewards could be made for acts of kindness towards those less fortunate than themselves, especially the elderly – this would help produce better character. We also invite Christians to organise prayer in your church or community focused on protecting children from occultism in all its forms, including Halloween, Harry Potter, TV programs and related toys/games etc.
Since Halloween is promoted by commercial interests almost as much as the witches, (and sometimes they are the same) walk past the stands of Halloween costumes, Pumpkins, etc. in your local stores.
One Presbyterian Church in a city has been organising an “Angels & Saints” party – they had over 700 children, and now they plan to hold it in four venues to cope with the growth of interest. In a totally different suburb, six local churches joined together and had a combined “Hero’s” party – with children to dress like their hero’s. Most came in the uniform of their favourite sport – and some national sports representatives who are Christians came along to encourage and to say a few words. The first time these churches did this brought 600 children – plus over 400 adults – and a great time was held by all.
“Light Parties” are also a great alternative, and have now grown through several nations, having commenced in New Zealand by a concerned mother. “Have nothing to do with the things of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11. Jubilee Resources International Inc. (edited)