Halloween Revisited

Dear Reader,

I posted recently on why we don’t celebrate Halloween. Since then I have read more about why other Christians do celebrate Halloween. It has made me think. In the end though, I don’t think I would change my position for our family. Now that I have had more time to think, here are my thoughts in what is hopefully a more orderly fashion:

1. The history of Halloween. There are some Christians apparently who argue that Halloween does not have pagan roots. That it’s roots are actually in Christian tradition and therefore we should reclaim the holiday. This is one of many issues where I feel I am at the mercy of my sources. I can’t evaluate the evidence myself. But overall, the preponderance of sources seem to say that there is at least some paganism behind the holiday. Having said all of which, I have never been the type to get too tied up in the past. I don’t believe a word’s meaning is determined entirely by its etymology. And though I believe Halloween has pagan roots, that isn’t the whole story.

2. All Saints’ Day. Even if Christians acknowledge some pagan roots to Halloween, they will argue that it was melded with the Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day (as Christmas and Easter were also intentionally melded with and absorbed pagan holidays). Therefore, they say, there is a Christian celebration here that we should reclaim.  I will admit my first reaction to this was “why on earth would I want to celebrate All Saints’ Day?” Being an ex-Catholic this is probably a knee-jerk reaction. So to be fair, I looked up what this holiday is officially about. It is apparently celebrated not just by Catholics but also by Lutherans, Methodists, and others.  I am none of these, however, so that alone is not enough for me. My source for most of this is Churchyear.net. It seems to be a Catholic site so I am assuming it gives a good description of their beliefs. The foundational idea is not one I would argue with. It is that there is a Communion of the Saints. That is, that God’s people whether still alive or now in glory with Him are one body. The dead as well as the living constitute the church, the body of Christ. This much I think is supported by Scripture. But it seems that Catholicism moves too quickly on to the assumption that the dead can and do intercede on our behalf. I do not see this in Scripture. And having been raised Catholic, I know that praying to a saint to ask him or her to intercede for us leads all too quickly to a more worshipful kind of prayer that exalts the saint rather than the Lord.  And though we here on earth pray for one another, it is important to remember that we do not need another intermediary other than Jesus Christ. He is the only Way to the Father. So I guess my question would be why we need or should celebrate All Saints’ day. If it is to ask for the intercession of the Church Triumphant (those believers already in heaven as opposed to those of us still on earth, the church militant), then this is to me unnecessary at best. And if it is to honor those who have come before, then I would ask what it means to “honor” them and at what point honor becomes worship.

3. Mocking. Another argument I read, not necessarily mutually exclusive with the others, is that on Halloween we mock evil instead of celebrating it. The popular image of the devil (red, hooves, horns, etc) is meant to diminish and mock him. Similarly with other aspects of Halloween. Is this true historically speaking? Maybe. I don’t know. I do know that the people all around me are not mocking. As a said in my other post, Halloween in Salem, MA, about an hour’s drive from where we live now, is a huge celebration. And they are not mocking. They are celebrating the evil. Even my more harmless neighbors I don’t think view themselves as mocking the evil powers of this world. To take this mocking view of Halloween to me would be like making a joke nobody else gets. It is saying something sarcastically that everyone around you takes seriously. It doesn’t get you anywhere.

4. Christian conscience. If I haven’t said this clearly enough before, let me say again that this is what we do in my family. That does not mean it is the right choice for every Christian. This is a meat sacrificed to idols issue to me. And maybe I am the one with the weaker conscience because Halloween bothers me.

So I guess my conclusions are:

a) There are dangerous aspects to Halloween that we need to be wary of. Evil spirits are not something to play around with.

b) Though the history of Halloween does not particularly turn me off it, neither do I feel the need to celebrate its Christian counterpart, All Saints’ Day.

We do, however, celebrate Reformation Day (also 10/31). I think I will save the reasons for that for another post. Stay tuned.



3 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for the good logical thoughts here Nebby. So many Christians seem to have cop out reasons why it is okay to celebrate Halloween.


  2. […] is not going to be a post on why we don;t celebrate Halloween. I did those last year (here and here). What I am wondering is how you explain your position to people. It is only the beginning of […]


  3. […] Halloween Revisited […]


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