We don’t celebrate Halloween. People think we are weird…I’m okay with that. About 10 years ago, I watched a video about the history of Halloween and its implications even today. I was disturbed, to say the least. Everything from the trick or treating to the costumes to the jack o lanterns has roots in pagan celebrations.
PS: Before you read this, you have to know that I am not asking you to believe like me or live like me. The Bible is clear that “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” What that looks like in your life is not for me to decide.
**the following information was gathered by me from various sources (I googled halloween history). I tried to compile the consistent stories and to the best of my knowledge got my facts straight**
The original celebration surrounding this time of year was a celtic harvest celebration. Folks in Ireland considered this the beginning of the new year as well as a time when the barrier between the living and the dead was temporarily suspended. They believed the dead wandered the streets ruining homes and crops. To combat the dead and keep them away, it is said that people would dress like ghosts and goblins and cause mischief to confuse the dead and keep them away.
The Catholic church at the time answered this celebration by creating a holiday to honor the saints. It was originally held in the spring, but was moved to the fall in hopes that people would abandon the Celtic customs. Eventually the holiday became about praying for the souls of the dead (they believed that people could go to heaven if enough people prayed for them after they died). Poor “Christians” would go door to door begging for food and in exchange would promise to pray for loved ones. The food they received was called “soul cakes”. Incidentally, after the protestant reformation, most Christians abandoned the practice. Early Americans rarely engaged in the holiday and thought it absurd to send their children out begging for food.
” The original jack o’lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets. People have been making jack o’lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed ” Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years. Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.” In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns.”
All this coupled with the claim that the occult takes on this holiday forms our family’s conviction to not participate in Halloween. I don’t think that I will lose my salvation or that God will love me any less if I celebrate Halloween(or that He will love me any more if I don’t). My husband and I made this decision for our family based on what we know of the holiday itself and the Word of God. The devil masquerades as an angel of light. I think he would have us believe that Halloween is harmless and fun. But the devil is evil and he delights in evil things. I prefer to not flirt with him.