Every October this question brings about some healthy debate and some ugly name-calling. Halloween is a pretty controversial topic in Christianity today. Some Christian teens feel that the holiday is a celebration of the occult, and they avoid it or denounce any celebration of the holiday. Others feel it is a fairly harmless holiday, as many of the pagan meanings associated with traditions have dissipated. Still, even others believe that there are Christian roots in many Halloween traditions, and they use Halloween as an attempt to evangelize.
Halloween as Occult Practice?
Is there are Biblical basis for not celebrating Halloween? There isn't a simple answer to this question. There is no direct reference to Halloween in the Bible . As with many controversial issues, choices are often made based on interpretations of certain scripture. Those against Halloween often cite Deuteronomy 18:9-14 that warns against participating in sorcery or witchcraft or even imitating it:
"Soon you will go into the land that the LORD your God is giving you. The nations that live there do things that are disgusting to the LORD, and you must not follow their example. Don't sacrifice your son or daughter. And don't try to use any kind of magic or witchcraft to tell fortunes or to cast spells or to talk with spirits of the dead. The LORD is disgusted with anyone who does these things, and that's why he will help you destroy the nations that are in the land. Never be guilty of doing any of these disgusting things. (CEV)
They believe that Halloween is a celebration of the occult, and so this scripture warns them not to participate. However, others take the scripture more literally, and believe that as long as you are not actually practicing sorcery, casting spells, sacrificing children, or acting as a medium, you are not sinning. Christian teens who continue to participate in Halloween activities often believe there is no spiritual connection between trick-or-treating and the occult. For them it is all in good fun.
Halloween is of The World
Another scripture often used by those who denounce Halloween is Ephesians 5:7-12 that warns Christians not to get so attached to the world around them that they forget their faith:
"So don't have anything to do with anyone like that. You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honest and truthful, as you try to please the Lord. Don't take part in doing those worthless things that are done in the dark. Instead, show how wrong they are. It is disgusting even to talk about what is done in the dark." (CEV)
These verses are not used as often as Deuteronomy, but some Christians feel that Halloween is a "worldly" celebration and useless in God's view. These believers feel that they have to remove themselves from worldly things in order to walk in faith, so Christian teens should not celebrate Halloween or participate in the holiday activities. Opponents of this viewpoint see opportunities for evangelism and harmless fun. They take Halloween as just an opportunity to laugh and have a good time while following 1 Corinthians 9:22:
"When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can." (CEV)
Learning to Disagree
Halloween is one of those topics that tends to divide Christians - even those that attend the same church or live in the same household. Is there one right answer? We may not know until we see God face-to-face. However, prayer, study, and discernment can help Christian teens find their own answer to this question. We also need to respect one another on the varied answers to this question. For instance, some Christian teens may not celebrate Halloween, because they have a history with the occult. The symbols and traditions may bring temptations to fall back into old practices. Respecting each other's opinion and opening up healthy discussion allows us to learn more about God, how He works, and the Bible.