Thursday, October 22, 2009


As a young girl, after the Halloween celebrations at school, my siblings and I would don our costumes once again and head for town. Our goal was to cover every street of our small community, displaying our costumes and collecting our grocery-bag full of treats. It was an exciting time not only for us, but for the adults who treated us at their doors. I never gave much thought to why we did this. It was just something everyone always did.

However, my excitement toward and celebration of Halloween began to change in my early years of counseling. I recall very clearly the first person I’d counseled who had been involved in ritualistic abuse. As someone who had escaped the cult, she was trying to deal with her heinous past; much of which occurred on Halloween. Initially, I had difficulty believing that her stories were even true. However, had I known in years past what I discovered from my follow-up research and training, Halloween would have never been a day of celebration for me.

Taking a look at its origins with the pre-Christian Celts, we discover:

• Samhain, November 1, marks the end of the Pagan year. This festival of the dead can be seen in nearly every culture since Babel.
• Beginning at dusk on October 31, the Eve of Samhain was the most important time of the celebration and considered to be very holy. The thin veil thought to be between the spiritual and physical worlds on this night supposedly made it possible for the dead to return to the places where they had lived.
o The finest food and drink were set-out and doors were left unlocked giving the dead free passage into homes = the origin of "trick-or-treat."
o Because not all spirits were friendly:
 images of spirit-guardians were carved onto turnips and set at their doors to detour “unwelcome visitors” = the origin of jack-o-lanterns.
 to protect themselves from the spirits, people masqueraded as demons hoping to blend in and go unnoticed = the origin of wearing costumes of demonic creatures.
• The focus of the festivities was a great bonfire (derived from “bone fire”).
o used to aid the Celtic Priests in their fight against dark powers. Being ritually devoted to the gods, the bones of sacrificed animals and human were set ablaze. This practice of burning humans was legally stopped around 1600.

As Christianity spread to parts of Europe, Samhain was renamed “Halloween”, meaning “Hallow eve” (an evening set apart for holy use). But…., “holy” to whom? Instead of abolishing the pagan customs of Samhain, they were blended in with Christianity. Weren’t the Israelites warned against such blending when they entered the Promised Land [Deuteronomy 18:9-14]?

People today typically excuse their involvement in Halloween by declaring that it is simply “innocent fun”.
Yet, who can deny that Satan is glorified when we dabble in pagan customs
such as masquerading as evil creatures and decorating with occult symbols?
Isn’t this what defiled the ancient nations [Leviticus 18:24-30]?

Incredibly, according to Sandi Gallant, a nationally recognized expert on occult crimes investigations, although they are skilled at hiding their practices, many who oppose Christ are known to observe Samhain today, preserving the practices of the ancient Celts; not unlike the stories reported to me in counseling.

Yes, Halloween is highly celebrated. According to a national survey done in 2008, Halloween spending was estimated to reach $5.77 billion! However, as followers of Jesus we need to guard against being compromised by accommodating ourselves to the world. Although we may not be participating in the gruesome practices of the pagans, why do we want to be a part of this pagan holiday at all? Doesn’t our Lord warn us to:

"Abstain from all appearance of evil" [1Thess. 5:22]?
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." [Romans 12:2]
"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils:…” [1 Corinthians 10:21].
“have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" [Ephesians 5:11].


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