All Hallows Eve?


Officer SOE/LoE/Where's "here"?
Here it is again, the Holiday that is gaining more and more ground in the U.S. calendar, Halloween. Based on All Hallows Eve? Without presenting my own axe to grind too much I would like to ask what is your take on it as a Christian? If you are like me you could present several walls of text concerning it, please try to refrain, simple answers are sometimes better and more easily understood. This is an issue that I have watched becoming more and more important in the Church over the last 40-50 years. I have a friend from Mexico who has been puzzled about all of these little children running around in costume, so remember traditions vary, so try and keep it focused on what affects us here in the U.S. and Canada.
As a Christian in today's society, I feel it's what you choose to make of it for yourself, your family, your children, your peers and to God. I live in the US and I've always been dead set on celebrating Halloween right along side the young kids who simply cherish the holiday as an excuse to get free candy and dress up. I enjoy checking out kids and their creativity, especially those that make their own costumes. It's a chance to be expressive, creative, and to some, artistic.

I have a friend who is a professional artist and greatly enjoys the darker sides of Halloween like zombies and gore. He teaches those how to paint faces and bodies to look more realistic and even does very basic work to those that request it. In addition, I love going to haunted houses and other attractions, but I have friends that would rather just dress up and enjoy the day. I even had a chance to work a haunted attraction this year by working at a haunted hayride. For those that don't know, it's a giant wagon that is pulled by a tractor and they lead you through various attractions, usually in a wooded area, as actors jump out and show off their scary attractions to scare you. It was interesting to see all of the hard work many groups spent days and weeks putting together for this event.

For others, we don't have to dress up in gory costumes to have fun either. I had another friend who dressed up as Ursala from "The Little Mermaid," and aside from her top, she made almost the entire costume. After attending a costume contest, she won best dressed and was honored for her hard work.

All and all, I think it's what you make of it. Halloween back in the time of the Lord was a lot different than how it is today. If my children ever came up to me and asked what the origin of Halloween was or how it started, I'd be happy to explain it to them. But I wouldn't want to ruin their fun in today's world. I'd want my kids to enjoy the holiday of "free candy" as much as I did as a kid. Now a days, as an adult, the only thing I want to be concerned with around Halloween is making sure my kids don't eat the entire bag of candy in one night. Haha
One of my favorite holidays. Never is there another day in the entire year that all my neighbors come to MY door. It is fantastic and a huge holiday for Christians to be home and welcoming to neighbors, not hiding at church or in the basement. You can bet I will be sitting on the porch with a bunch of guys from church inviting other dads to chill and have a beer while the wives take the kids around in "fellowship" groups.
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Definitely one of my favorite holidays. I find myself being more inclined to shun the more occult elements of it. To me it is what it always has been, a night where kids get to dress as their heroes and go out seeking candy. To me it is a fun night to come up with a clever costume for my kids, though lately I have been lazy on that front.

My first halloween after having twins was my last clever costume for them. Superman and Clark Kent.

I don't feel that supporting the holiday as a costume-wearing candy grab goes against anything in my faith. I don't let those who think it is some kind of occult day have any power in my life though, I tell them the same thing...its about kids, costumes, and candy.
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

There are ditches on both sides of the road. It's an occult celebration that has been stolen by mass marketing and rendered impotent. But the same could be said of almost every holiday.

Should it be avoided by Christians? Yes. Does it make you a bad Christian if you participate? No.
I believe a church here celebrated a "Fall Festival" instead of "Halloween" distancing the day from it's origins. Secular groups on the other side have followed the same reasoning trying to replace merry Christmas with generic terms. I'm ok with a silly, spooky, costume candy day, but not the homage to evil that can go along with it. Evil is not cool and I'm against anything that would make it seductive to children.

Note: Wolfe made my point about the mass marketing, holiday realignment thing, just before I posted doh :p .

Edit: Not really liking the TF2 Halloween update this time. It doesn't take Hell seriously like we should. Though it might be used as a discussion starter about real Hell and how to avoid it.
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Strangely enough, there is a bit of an academic split on whether or not this holiday is descended from pagan observances or whether it is a Christian holiday. There are many Christians who observe this as a day to remember the dead and pray for them. Most Christians I know here in Canada seem to treat it as it is a commercialized pagan holiday.

So either it is a pagan holiday that has been commercialized into a candy fest or it is another Christmas, turned commercial by the masses.

Either way, I do not feel it should be avoided by Christians but instead we should "take it back"
I am pretty ambivalent. Of course my kids have out grown it.

I only ask for consistence. If you shun Halloween you have cannot do a full frontal hug on your Christmas Tree or Easter Eggs. IF you claim Halloween has evil origins you need to acknowledge the other Holidays do as well. It is only Christian history that has 'saved' those Holidays. So, if those can be redeemed so can Halloween.

I do tend to agree more with Ewoks. Redeem a social holiday and make Christ real to those around you.
As a comment, Halloween originated as a vigil celebrating martyrs and Christians who had "fallen asleep" as St. Paul put it. Evidence suggests it was celebrated as early as or earlier than 100 years after the birth of Christ. Long before the rise of Druidism.

The Druids found it rather creepy to believe that the saints long dead could be active in the world -- or at least heaven -- so they made the holiday into something more sinister.

Unfortunately, we now believe most active spirits must be demonic, something we learned from the Druids.

We also totally forgot about the idea that "dead" saints are just as alive or more so than the rest of us.

As a secular holiday, Halloween is about giving gifts to children indiscriminately, forgetting to regard race and color. At least, when done right.

Those are my thoughts.

(I am not suggesting that all active spirits are not demonic.)
Ignoring it's origin. How does the world view it? For the most part, it's a celebration of spooky things. Ghost, goblins, witches and undead things.
Yes, it's become a commercialized, mass marketed version of itself that involves everything from ewoks and princesses to Jeff Gordon and zombies that revolves around giving out candy.

But it still viewed by the world primarily as a celebration of things associated with "The Witching Hour". And as Gerbil has already pointed out, anything we do that appears to put even a complicit stamp of approval on evil is dangerous. Our participation in Halloween can appear to trivialize the powers of satan and evil and the things associated.

As I said, there are ditches on both sides of the road. It's as easy to be overly-sensitive to the demonic associations Halloween has for the world as it is to ignore them. But me personally, I'd rather be overly cautious and not celebrate it because I know the lost are always watching the saved looking for excuses and I'd rather not be a stumbling block to them.
Thanks for the info Neirai :) . The Wiki on Halloween (not that they are always accurate) states it as "According to many scholars, All Hallows' Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Other academics maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots." So IDK? Though I'm not as much concerned with what it was as to what effect it has now. If the Church did create Halloween to usurp pagan practices, like Christmas was, perhaps we simply should redefine Halloween again, away from a celebration of evil.

I'm not in the loop anymore for an equivalent current reference, but I seem to remember Jason and Freddie being marketed to children, you know the ones from R movies. Kids don't need these role models, but they eat it up because they are powerful, always coming back (plus the taboo factor). Then there is playing with ouija boards and holding seances for fun party games. Yes these types of things aren't exclusive to Halloween, but they are marketed through it big time. Represent evil as something to avoid or, to a degree, with camp and I'm fine with it. It's when the portrayal of evil becomes alluring that I have a problem. It almost feels like there is a conflict of interest between two different Halloweens. The happy, silly, Halloween with people playing pretend, dressing up and eating candy. Then there is the satanic, gore relishing, one. I don't think the secular world draws enough of a line between them. That's particularly a problem when Halloween gets marketed towards children.

Hey I'm currently making a spooky TF2 map, but it's not going to have satanic imagery, demons or occult references. I take Hell seriously and it being Halloween is not an excuse to do otherwise.
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Romans 14:5-6a
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.
Romans 14:5-6a
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.

Romans 14:5-6a
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.

There was little context for this verse provided, but when referring to the mind in that verse, I don't think it's a decision we make by supporting it with worldly reason, such as has been intimated in this thread, see:

Romans 12:1-2 said:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This part of Romans seems to be more about judging others and not about what is right or wrong, in fact, right before Romans 14:5, Paul writes:

Romans 14:4 said:
Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Also, the context of the days under question doesn't seem to align strongly with this topic. I read the topic as not about a specific day, but about a specific celebration. October 31st is just another day, what we do on/with that day is what matters. And frankly that's what I think the verse is talking about. It's not giving license to celebrate anything one wants, its giving license to live/give any day to the Lord.

Even if Romans 14 was giving such license, we should also consider 1 Corinthians, and understand that by choosing to do such when brothers in Christ may be discouraged or encouraged to stumble may indeed be sin.

1 Corinthians 8:9-13 said:
But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

As several have hinted, some of the activities in some holidays might fall short of the litmus test in Philippians:

Philippians 4:8 said:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

In the end, we should understand that guidance comes from the Lord and just because we want to do something, or see value in it, doesn't make it right. Wisdom only comes from Him.

Proverbs 3:5-8 said:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

I cannot recall a single place in His word that exalts evil, or diminishes it, in the way that Halloween does. It matters what the roots are, but it matters more what it is.

I know that some of my brothers and sisters in Christ struggle with what this holiday does and what it means more so than any other holiday. Therefore, if Halloween makes my brother stumble, I will never celebrate Halloween, let I make my brother stumble. Whatever perceived benefits that Halloween provides, I trust that the Lord will provide greater in its absence.

For the record, I also don't celebrate Easter, at least not the bunny and eggs version.
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The replies to this post have been interesting to say the least, and it has been nice hearing from some we don't normally hear from. Lethalon has a well balanced post that could almost tie this up. It is clear that within the Body of Christ there are some real differences in views of All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. I just want to make sure no one has become angry or too frustrated by the responses here. It is one more reminder that when it comes to dealing with the world that Christians must tread carefully and be mindful of the fact of whose they are.
Most of the discussion has finished, but I'd like to add that just because a holiday may be popularly associated with something that it isn't does not, in fact, change the holiday. The same goes for the meaning of words. We argue today that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman; culturally, it's popularly viewed (in the first world countries) as anything one imagines it to be. Other holidays that have their basis in Christianity but are practiced as anything but would include St. Patrick's and Valentine's day, among others.

Something that is good does not "loose" its goodness because others practice it in error. It simply might be concealed or covered by the error, and simply needs the sheets pulled off of it, as it were.

At any rate, for the curious, here is a very thorough discussion on Halloween from the Catholic perspective: