The Truth About HALLOWE'EN

The Hallowe'en customs the world observes on October 31st had their beginnings long ago. The origins and traditions can be traced back thousands of years to the days of the ancient Celts and their priests, the Druids of ancient Gaul and Britain. We know little of the Druids, but of certain is that they had an elaborate religious and political organization. Some were soothsayers, magicians, sorcerers, and barbs (composers and reciters of heroes and their deeds). Their religion worshipped numerous gods and natural objects, such as trees, wells, etc., in which magical practices were involved.

The Druids believed that witches, demons, and spirits of the dead roamed the earth on the eve of November 1st. Bonfires (literally "bone-fires") were lit to drive away the bad spirits. The great bonfires served another purpose as well -- on this night, unspeakable sacrifices were offered by the Druid priests to their Lord of Death (Saman). The celebration was called "The Feast of Samhain" (pronounced SAH-WEEN). The Druids would carefully watch the writhing of the victims in the fire (sometimes animals, sometimes humans). From their death agonies, they would foretell the future (divination) of the village. The local householders then each took a portion of the fire to their own hearths for good luck and good crops in the new year.

To protect themselves from the mean tricks of these spirits (like killing livestock), the Druids offered them good things to eat (sometimes food, sometimes female children). The Druids also disguised themselves in order that the spirits would think the Druids belonged to their own evil company, and therefore, not bring any harm to the Druids. They also carried "jack--lanterns," a turnip or potato with a fearful, demonic face carved into it, to intimidate the demons around them. And, thus, this "tradition" is carried over today as Hallowe'en and is celebrated by dressing up in costumes, playing trick or treat, wearing masks, and carrying jack--lanterns.

Much later, the Roman Catholic Church set aside the first day of November to honor all the saints who had no special days of their own. This was known as All Saints' Day, and was preceded by All Hallows' Eve (derived from the word "hallowed" or "holy evening"). Eventually, the two festivals (the old pagan customs and the Roman Catholic feast day) were combined, and All Hallows' Eve was shortened to Hallowe'en. Professing Christians were now provided a convenient "alternative" to the aforementioned pagan ceremonies.

Despite half-hearted attempts by the Catholic Church to destroy the pagan religious practices associated with Hallowe'en, they have survived. During the Middle Ages, such practices found an outlet in the practice of witchcraft, which was and is devoted to communing with the spirits of the dead and to the worship of Satan himself. While almost every major holiday has been tainted with some form of paganism, none are so deeply immersed in the occult as is Hallowe'en. To this day, one of the special "sabbaths" for Satan-worship continues to be October 31st -- HALLOWE'EN

The Bible is very clear as to its position concerning the so-called celebrations connected with Hallowe'en -- "Let no one be found among you who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, who practices divination [fortune-telling] or sorcery [the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits, especially for divining], interprets omens, engages in witchcraft [the practice of dealing with evil spirits via the use of sorcery or magic], or casts spells, or who is a medium or a spiritist [a male witch skilled in sorcery] or a necromancer [consults with the spirits of the dead]. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord" (Deut. 18:10- 12a). And, "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4-5).

Yet, we still hear professing Christians claim that, "Letting the kids dress up in costumes, playing trick or treat, wearing masks, and carrying jack--lanterns doesn't mean anything pagan or occultic to me, so I'll exercise my Christian liberty and partake in all of it." (Some parents even think that somehow God excuses all the evil associated with Hallowe'en as long as the kiddies dress up as Bible characters instead of witches and goblins or have "Harvest" or "Reformation Day" parties!) Obviously, if one were to take such a cavalier approach to the physical world (e.g., "I can drink rat poison because I choose not to regard it as poison"), it would likely lead to a quick physical death. Why then, do Christians think they can avoid spiritual harm by ignoring God's spiritual warnings?

Biblical Discernment Ministries