Halloween – it’s one of those days where we can be unsure of how to respond as Christians. At a Parents Lab event in September 2018, Maralyn MacLeod shared her thoughts on Halloween. We then had a time where we brought up issues that we wanted to share. These notes are a record of Maralyn’s thoughts and our discussion.
We are taking the view that “celebrating” Halloween itself is probably not in our best interests. The reasons for this are outlined below.
In today’s world, our children are surrounded by secular views and opinions. Halloween can be a time where kids feel left out because their friends are talking about dressing up and how many lollies they hope to get.
If you have decided that you don’t want to participate in traditional Halloween festivities, I have prepared a Halloween discussion sheet you can use to discuss with your child. This sheet provides some ideas on Halloween alternatives.
Here at CV we hold a games night on 31st October as a fun and safe alternative to trick or treating or Halloween parties.
At the end of the day, as parents, it is up to you to decide what is best for your family. I hope these notes are helpful and thought provoking.
Andrea Neale, Children and Families Pastor at CV
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
History of Halloween
Halloween started in the Celtic world to celebrate the new year on 1 November over 2000 years ago.
To celebrate they would have a feast called “Samhein” (pronounced sow-in” with the “ow” like in “cow). On that night they believed ghosts came out so would put out gifts to appease the ghosts and keep them protected. The festival also had elements of a Roman festival for the goddess Pamona, goddess of fruit and trees.
It was also thought that at this time the veil between this world and the “otherworld” was at its thinnest, therefore, spirits from the “otherworld” could pass between the two worlds easily.
When Christianity came to Britain, instead of banning festivals such as these, they were incorporated into Christian tradition.
In Catholicism, the major Christian religion at the time, 1 November was All Saints Day where believers would remember those who had become saints and were now in heaven. The following day, 2 November was All Souls Day. On this day believers would pray for those who had died and were in Purgatory (the place where Catholics believed the souls of those who had died would go to be purified before they could go to heaven) to be released into heaven.
The 31st of October was called the Eve of All Saints or All Hallowed or All Holy Eve.
Because of the spiritual aspect of this festival, Satanists have made this festival their major event of the year. Satanists see this as the major night where they can become stronger and more powerful. Those at the high level will often drink blood.
The Spirit World
We know that the spirit world is real. There are stories where those practising witchcraft participate in astral travel (out of body experiences) who may try to enter homes but can’t because a Christian lives there.
“Growing up in Scotland, Halloween was a great excuse for a party. We would bob for apples and cut out witches hats. Trick or treating wasn’t a thing back then.
So later on when I had my daughters I continued this tradition of having a party. One year (before I was born again) we had a big party with friends and invited friends of my girls. I created the atmosphere with sheets in the garage and said “Shall we call someone” (meaning shall we see if we can contact someone from the spirit world). I was just joking though and next minute a ball of green came flying through the garage and I knew I had called up something. Everyone saw it and were terrified. I believe that because I had Christian family members who were praying for me that I was protected from whatever the green ball may have tried to do. “
Issues that come up at home
- How to respond to people coming to the house
- Kids feel left out in the lead up to Halloween as friends discuss dressing up and lollies
- Feels like Jesus says no to lots of things
- How to respond to un-Godly things we may have let into our home
Actions for Parents
- Spend time talking with your children about why we don’t participate in Halloween (using resources provided)
- Plan to do something special that night that you wouldn’t normally do – eg a special night at the movies, church event, make it so special that the kids wouldn’t miss or want to go out trick or treating
- If you plan on being at home, decide whether you will welcome trick or treaters or whether you will put up a sign asking them to stay away
- Pray for their friends going trick or treating, that they would be protected or lose interest
- Ask yourselves and your kids “Where is God in this?”
Actions for Church
- Provide resources for parents about how to discuss this with their children
- Host a family friendly event that families can invite other families to (here at CV we have had the Victory Games – expand this into a church family event)
- Incorporate this topic into our Sunday programme
What to say to your child
Refer to the Halloween discussion sheet.
Follow up resources
Darkness – The Unwelcome Visitor – a resource from Scripture Union (available at CV)