Hey everyone! Today is the day everyone refers to as “Halloween”, or, in ancient times, All Hallows’ Eve. Today’s post will be explaining some of the history of Halloween, and icons associated with it (such as black cats and the Jack-O’-Lantern). They will also explain why I do not celebrate Halloween as a Christian.
Fact #1: What are the origins of Halloween? Halloween is, by most accounts, attributed to the ancient Celtic people. These people believed that, on the evening of October 31st, Saman, the lord of the dead, called forth hosts of evil spirits (sounds like the devil and demons to me).
According to Sir James Frazier, who wrote a secular and respected work on the occult in the nineteenth century, Halloween was the night when the souls of the departed were supposed to visit their old homes, warm themselves by the fire, and comfort themselves with the good cheer their living kinsfolk provided for them.
Bonfires were major events during Halloween, and that was because they were rumored to attract the dead and evil spirits, and keep them away from the living people’s homes until their journey to the underworld was complete. Sa-ween, as the Celtics pronounced it, was the single most important festival concerning the dead in the Celtic world.
Fact #2: What about witches, vampires, werewolves and other Halloween creatures? Well, those are connected to this same topic. You see, the Celtics didn’t just use the bonfires to keep the dead from their homes. No, they had a ritual which they believed help tell the future on this terrible night. So, they would construct a basket, place a human or animal inside, and burn it. They believed that as the victim died, they could see the future as the victim passed from that world into the next. The individuals who did this were known as Druids, or, in modern language, witches.
Even today, witches still sacrifice animals on Halloween all over the world. It’s also interesting to note that in large American cities, arson on the night of Halloween has become a widespread problem.
While most of today’s Halloween bonfires (hopefully) are not to sacrifice humans and animals, its original purpose represents the horrendous practice of the witches, and the Bible clearly denounces such practices (Deut 18:10-12,14). The Lord condemned King Ahaz and others for forcing their children to be burned in fire (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3), and Ahaz was later defeated by his enemies.
As for werewolves, vampires, and other creatures, they too originate from the Celtics Sa-ween celebration. They didn’t think that the dead were the only ones patrolling on the night of Halloween, but they also believed in fairies, which would masquerade as anything from hobgoblins, vampires, and werewolves, or any other sort of mythical creature. In fact, these “fairies” were identified with demons, meaning that a vampire, a werewolf, and a hobgoblin are, in fact, demons.
Fact #3: What about trick-or-treating? Unfortunately, trick-or-treating also has its roots in the occult. The Celts, as well as other peoples, believed that the spirits of the dead required food and drink. During the festival of Sa-ween, therefore, people would leave articles of food outside to please the spirits (like leaving or giving kids candy today). And they didn’t just leave their leftovers. They left the best of the best, for if they supplied nothing or low quality foods, the angry and irritated spirits might intrude into the house and take one’s belongings (thus the “trick” part of trick or treat).
This was even more serious when one thinks of the times. Food could not be preserved very easily, and since Halloween marked the beginning of winter, food became scarce. By giving what little food they had to the “spirits”, many people starved.
The wearing of costumes also originates here. As stated in Fact #2, the demons were often thought to masquerade as vampires, werewolves, and other mythical creatures. They were supposed to go from door to door, along with the spirits of the dead and the food and drink left out would hopefully satisfy them.
Later, people began dressing up as these dreadful creatures in order to get offerings of food and drink, and that has evolved into the present day version of trick or treating. And doesn’t it seem strange that even today, the popular costumes of Halloween seem to be of witches, ghosts, and skeletons of the dead?
All around the world, traditions exist in which people who dress up as a certain god or demon are purported to gain special powers and given presents. Why? Because idols, and masks of idols, represent something. 1 Corinthians 10:19-22 says “What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. 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. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?” That makes it clear that the idols represent demons, demon actually being the word used in the original Greek text.
Offering of foods to idols is offering food to devils, and today’s practice of trick-or-treating is reminiscent of that practice. In fact, children often masquerade as demons, as candy is given to them under the guise of “a trick or a treat”.
Fact #4: Where did the Jack-O’-Lantern originate from? You know, those pumpkins that you carve creepy faces into? Well, first, their purpose was to light the way for the errant ghosts seeking their food. Actually, in Europe where the legend began, the original Jack-O’-Lantern was actually made of turnips.
The legend begins with a blacksmith named Jack making a deal with the devil. He would be given powers by Satan that would make him the best blacksmith in the world for seven years. Then, in seven years, Satan would demand Jack’s soul.
Some years passed, and one day, the Son of God, with the apostle Peter stopped by, seeing that Jack needed some religious indoctrination. The two worked several miracles in Jack’s presence, but to no avail. Finally, Peter offered him three wishes, which Jack accepted. He first wished that whenever he told someone to climb a nearby tree, they would, and they couldn’t come down until he said. He made the second and third wishes the same, only with his armchair and purse. Peter said he chose foolishly, but gives him the wishes.
Jack, however, used these three wishes to trick the devil when he came back for his soul. The first time, he tricked Satan into climbing the tree, and then wouldn’t let him down again until the devil promised him seven more years in return for his freedom. It happened a second and a third time, and then the devil just fled in terror.
But Jack couldn’t live forever, and finally he died. However, Peter would not let him into heaven, so Jack went to hell. But the devil wouldn’t let him stay in hell. Before Jack was kicked out of hell though, he managed to scoop up a burning coal from hell with a turnip he’d been eating. As the coal came from hell, it would burn eternally, and thus Jack was doomed to roam the earth with his peculiar lantern, his “Jack-‘O-Lantern”.
So then people began to hallow out pumpkins and turnips and put candles in them, so that any evil spirits who came near would see it and think Jack was there and it would scare them away.
The whole moral of this story seems to be you can get away with sin and outsmart God, and that it’s better to make deals with the devil than follow after God. Honestly, it feels like a story that mocks God, death, and the afterlife, three things that a person should take very, very seriously.
Fact #5: Have you ever wondered why black cats are associated with Halloween? Why not black dogs or something else black? Well, this is something I learned firsthand when I worked at a humane society. During the month of October, we would not sell any black cats, white cats, or cats with black on them. Why? Because witches and demonic people would buy them, if they were white or had some other color besides black on them, they would dye them black, and then they would sacrifice them to the devil on Halloween. As Fact #2 mentioned, Witches and Satanists still sacrifice animals to the devil today, and that is why black cats are associated with Halloween.
These are the five facts I decided to use to both explain the history of Halloween and show why I do not celebrate it. Much of this information was taken from the book Trick or Treat: The History of Halloween by Bill Uselton. I would highly recommend reading it, as there is much more in the book which I did not add in this post.
Some people might might say, “well, I don’t celebrate Halloween for those reasons, I just dress up and have fun getting candy”. I may ask them then, what is the reason for Halloween? Holidays are meant to honor things. Christmas honors Christ’s birth. Easter honors His resurrection. Memorial Day is to honor those who died to make me free. The Fourth of July is to honor the birth of my country. But what is the reason for Halloween? Well… look again at just the five facts I mentioned, and I think it’s clear that it’s meant to honor evil, and it’s also referred to as Satan’s holiday. So whether someone “means” to celebrate evil or not, by participating in the holiday, one is honoring the devil and all he stands for: fear, evil, and deception.
I must follow the Lord in everything I do and do not do. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.” Because I know witchcraft and the occult is an abomination to the Lord (Deut18:10-12,14), I cannot allow myself to participate in something which glorifies and honors the devil and his demons. So that is the reason I hold the conviction not to celebrate Halloween as a Christian. ~ Kay Leigh