Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Time to ask that question that divides Christians almost right down the middle: Should Christians have any participation in Halloween activities? Ben Witherington adds some thoughts on the matter.

His post begins as follows:

Ghosts and Goblins, tricks and treats, houses of horror and costumed heroes and villains.  Should Christians have anything to do with such practices, or is it just harmless fun?  Believe it or not, Christians are about equally divided on this issue.  Perhaps a little history is in order to help us decide this matter.

In the first place, the term Halloween is in fact a modified form of All Hallow’s Eve, that is the day in the Christian calendar before All Saints Day. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the British celebration of Guy Fawkes Day (i.e. a celebration of the attempt to blow up Parliament) or the modern or more ancient practices of Bonfire Night, which may or may not derive from the ancient Celtic celebration of Harvest Night or Samhain.

The Wikipedia article on the subject suggests the following conclusions—-
“Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating “imaginary spooks” and handing out candy. Halloween celebrations are common among Roman Catholicparochial schools throughout North America and in Ireland. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church sees Halloween as having a Christian connection. Father Gabriele Amorth, a Vatican-appointed exorcist in Rome, has said, “[I]f English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.”[1]

Most Christians hold the view that the tradition is far from being “satanic” in origin or practice and that it holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children: being taught about death and mortality, and the ways of the Celtic ancestors actually being a valuable life lesson and a part of many of their parishioners’ heritage.

Other Christians feel concerned about Halloween, and reject the holiday because they believe it trivializes (and celebrates) “the occult” and what they perceive as evil. A response among some fundamentalists in recent years has been the use of Hell houses or themed pamphlets (such as those of Jack T. Chick) which attempt to make use of Halloween as an opportunity for evangelism.

Some consider Halloween to be completely incompatible with the Christian faith due to its origin as a pagan “Festival of the Dead.” In more recent years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has organized a “Saint Fest” on the holiday. Many contemporary Protestant churches view Halloween as a fun event for children, holding events in their churches where children and their parents can dress up, play games, and get candy. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Halloween for they believe anything that originated from a pagan holiday should not be celebrated by true Christians.”

Read more:

Now it’s your turn to weigh in on the matter.  Trick or retreat?

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