I spotted a number of young cute children running and dressed up in their own Halloween costume when I was at the mall. They were all set to compete in the atrium’s finest costume contest, which would be viewed by hundreds of mall patrons. Is this only applicable to the Philippines? No! On October 31st, millions of people throughout the world honored the ancient holiday season known as Halloween.
What is the origin of this custom?
Can we, as God-fearing Christians, dress up as cute witches, hilarious vampires, comedic zombies, humorous mummies, lively werewolves, and other characters for fun?
Should we allow our children to participate in the trick-or-treat festivities that are taking place in many malls, villages, and communities?
Should we hang spider webs, scarecrows, and warlocks’ mask heads on our front doors?
What is the origin of this ancient custom?
Halloween is thought to have been brought to the United States by Celts of Irish and Sottish heritage several centuries ago. Many academics believe the practice began more than 2000 years ago among European Celts to honor their deceased loved ones. The festival’s true purpose is to honor the dead, which entails providing sacrifices and crops. They believed that now is the best moment to communicate with their deceased loved ones. With Pomona for the harvest and Feralia for the day of the dead, this practice was eventually incorporated into Roman festivities.
To be fair to the Roman Catholic leaders, they would prefer to draw their followers’ focus away from this pagan commemoration of the dead and toward a more Christian one. In AD 600, Pope Boniface IV established All Saints Day here. The date was then changed to November 1 by Pope Gregory.
At the very least, Christians who do not wish to participate in the pagan festival have another option. As a result, All Saints Day surpassed the pagan celebration as a prominent European event. “All Hallow’s Evening” or “All Hallow’s Even,” where the word “hallow” referred to “saints” or “holy” people, gave rise to the phrase “halloween.” This word is now recognized as Halloween all throughout the world.
After 200 years, the Roman Catholic Church established All Souls Day on November 2 to commemorate the church’s deceased members. To counter this Roman Catholic habit, Protestants established October 31 as a day to remember the lives of Reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and others who served as catalysts for the spiritual Reformation. We recently commemorated the Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary (1517-2017).
Unfortunately, the spiritual enemy was able to introduce occultism into the picture as a result of this Roman Catholic ruling. This day of remembering the dead in connection with occultism is currently observed in nations such as Japan, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, United States, and many more. On October 31st, Neopagan religions such as Wicca and Witchcraft take advantage of the opportunity to ride on this event, making it muddier than ever before.
If this is the case, we should abstain from participating in dark deeds. Let us act as a source of salt and light. Allow people to understand that we are Christ-followers who do not compromise our convictions (beliefs). Dressing up as a cute witch, amusing vampire, comedic zombie, humorous mummy, lively werewolf, or a laughable corpse is not a fun way to commit wicked acts. I am not opposed to any costume party as long as it does not encourage Satanism, witchcraft, warlocks, ghouls, mummies, zombies, or demons, regardless of how amusing they appear.
The spiritual enemy, on the other hand, would prefer to downplay the gravity of occultism during this Christmas season. Let us not raise children with feeble faith and convictions. But let us remind them to stand and be on the lookout. As folklorist Jack Santino explains,
“Wearing costumes and demanding treats can also be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when food and drink were left out to placate wandering souls, fairies, witches and demons. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. By the Middle Ages, masked solicitations were associated with All Souls’ Day and other holidays in countries influenced by Catholicism.” [Jack Santino, “Halloween: The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows”]
The Jewish people do not mark the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which sometimes falls in the months of September and October, as a day of the dead, but rather as a time of atonement and sacrifice for their sins. Let us also take use of this once-a-year opportunity to communicate what the Bible says about someone who died for us to sacrifice for our sins. And that He did not remain in the grave but rose from it. We will be saved if we repent (Gk. metanoia, change our minds) that we are not saved by works but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. – Ephesians 5:11, ESV
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? – 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, ESV
And so the Lord says, “You must leave them and separate yourselves from them. Have nothing to do with what is unclean, and I will accept you. – 2 Corinthians 6:17, GNB
Be alert. Be firm in the Christian faith. Be courageous and strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13, GWT
We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him. – 1 Thessalonians 4:14, GNB
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, – Acts 3:19, ESV
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