HALLOWEEN AND CHRISTIANS
Can Christians join the celebration of Halloween?
Filipinos are proud Christmas celebrants. As early as September, we can hear Jose Mari Chan flooding the airwaves with his Christmas carols. In some places, Christmas trees are already erected and ready to be lit once the darkness of the night closes in.
But in the middle of the jolly Christmas season, every October, these trees are seen to have accumulated cobwebs. Skeleton printouts, thin, white sheets acting as ghosts, and “Happy Halloween” signs occupy nooks and crannies of offices, restaurants, even schools. It seems that this season, although it cannot surpass the popularity of Christmas, is now on a rise.
Because of its popularity especially in the urban areas, children and parents alike prepare for their outfit for Halloween celebration in malls and work places. Your mom’s lipstick is spent within five minutes because hello, fake blood on your face. Halloween became institutionalized because of its commercial value. Everyone is riding the hype, including Christians.
But should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Most people, even some Christians, do not know the origin of Halloween, which was a feast by the Celts in Europe and Asia Minor. On those days, Celts believed they can reunite with their dearly departed because they were told that during Halloween, the barrier between the living and the dead is broken. By wearing ghost costumes, they make it easier for the spirits to dwell with them.
“Our understanding is that this is the day that spirits of our dearly departed are commemorated and then our belief is that their souls go back from the afterlife and then they visit us. That’s the reason why we have a custom of candle lighting we put it outside our doors so that the ‘souls’ of their loved ones will find their homes,” shared Pastor Ramil Corpuz of GotQuestions.Org (Tagalog).
The history of Halloween being a pagan practice was brought to the Americas, which in turn was brought to the Philippines when the Americans occupied the country. Since then, the Filipinos have been celebrating Halloween with trick or treating and costumes, albeit more reserved compared to other countries where most houses give out candies to children.
What does the Bible say about Halloween?
The Bible does not directly say anything about Halloween. But there are principles and commands that are related to the celebration of Halloween.
Think about it. Halloween is a pagan practice of witchcraft and sorcery, which is what the Bible, in Leviticus 20:27, warned us about.
“A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:27a NIV)
In Deuteronomy 18:9-13, it says that we should stay away from abominations like witchcraft, sorcery, or those who calls up the dead because “these things are an abomination to the Lord.”
We can also read from Acts 8:9-24 the story of Simon, a sorcerer, and how occultism and Christianity do not mix.
“If we would talk about the Biblical perspective, it is God’s command for believers to stay away from any guise of the devil. So Halloween activities today teach wrong doctrines and it is often characterized by exaltation of imaginary evil characters like Dracula and zombies,”Pastor Corpuz added.
Professor Fe Atanacio-Blas, a sociologist and Christian, also said, “If you’re really a devout Christian, you would think it’s not biblical. Second, it contradicts your basic faith and belief. It’s against the belief of the Christians regarding cultism and witchcraft so this is the time of the year that even the church, will warn the people and condemn the practice.”
You may ask, “But I’m not wearing anything evil, I’m just there for the candies and for fun.”
Pastor Corpuz has this to say: “If the celebration itself is done in such a way that you do not participate on the darker side (of Halloween), I think it is okay to God if your motive is for you to share the gospel to those who don’t believe.”
For Pastor Corpuz, this is the time when our Christian discernment and conviction matters. For him, it is hypocritical for Christians to also act “holier than thou” and shun those people who join celebrations like Halloween. He reminded us that we are in this world, and we are walking in the midst of unbelievers. Instead of seeing Halloween in a bad light, we can also see it as an opportunity to connect with other unbelievers.
In Philippians 1:27, Paul said that “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
As Christians, we do not have to compromise our beliefs with the traditions of this world. Rather, we can use this time to shed light on the topic.
Halloween is still controversial on whether believers should celebrate it or not. But we have to be reminded that not everyone is aware of the roots of the practice, and whether they are intentional or not in spreading the possible evil we usually associate with Halloween.
One thing’s for sure — Christ’s death on the cross fills this world of goodness even if evil is lurking.
Written By: Sofia Monica Regalado