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The History of Halloween

The atmosphere of Halloween celebrations is marked with fun, mischief and the evil forces of nature, but the origins of this celebration are quite solemn. Celebrated on October 31st, Halloween is one of the oldest holidays—having originated thousands of years ago!

The belief system behind Halloween came from the druids, the priests of ancient Gaul and Britain. The druids believed that witches, demons, and spirits of the dead roamed the earth on the eve of November 1. Halloween originally was a Druid holy day called “The Vigil of Saman.” In early Britain it was called the festival of Samhain, which is pronounced sow-en. This festival would last for 3 days and many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of animals.

The spread of Christianity did not make people forget their early customs. When Roman Catholicism became a world political and religious power the pagan customs were still widely celebrated. On the eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, people continued to celebrate the festivals of Samhain and Pomona Day. In 800 A.D. the Roman Catholic Church moved “All Saints’ Day” from May to November 1st. All of the “saints” who did not have a special day to their honor on the Catholic calendar were to be honored on All Saints’ Day—a time to pay respect to the dead by visiting their graves. The “new day” that was to replace the pagan vigil of the dead was called “All Hallows Day”. It soon became the custom to call the evening before, “All Hallows Eve”, which was soon shortened to Halloween. The Halloween we celebrate today includes all of these influences, Pomona Day’s apples, nuts, and harvest, the Festival of Samhain’s black cats, magic, evil spirits and death, and the ghosts, skeletons and skulls from All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day.

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As Christians, what do we do?

Remember the name of the holiday is the only thing that has changed; Halloween still carries some of its pagan significance and there is no Christian significance to be found in Halloween. Jesus Christ is conspicuously absent! Wise parents are replacing Halloween with family night activities. Others are having “Hallelujah nights” or “Glory Gatherings” where all references to Halloween are removed and wholesome games are played, Christian songs are sung and Christian videos are shown. Others are using Halloween as a night to pass out Gospel literature.

Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don’t understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
– 2 Cor. 4:4 (NLT)

Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.
– Ephesians 5:11 (NLT)

We need to beware of its origins, its history and its dangers. From Romans 12:21 (NLT) we can be encouraged, Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Choose to use the good things like families getting together, enjoying one another to conquer the evil in this world. Consider also sponsoring a Harvest Festival Night which provides safe candy, games and an opportunity to meet Jesus through music, puppets and a gospel message. Many kids and even whole families can have the opportunity to make decisions for the Lord.

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Relevant Scriptures

For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, [11] or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.
– Deut. 18:10-11 (NLT)

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. [23] And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes.
– Romans 1:21-23 (NLT)

You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too.
– 1 Cor. 10:21 (NLT)

So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. [17] The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. [18] But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law. [19] When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, [20] idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, [21] envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
– Galatians 5:16-21 (NLT)

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Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.
– Ephes. 5:11 (NLT)

For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
– Ephes. 6:12 (NLT)

Keep away from every kind of evil.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NLT)

Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.
– 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

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