Besides Christmas and Easter, Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year. Halloween began as a Celtic festival called Samhain. There were massive bonfires and lots of dancing to celebrate the end of the harvest season. It also began the “time of darkness” which we would consider now as the winter season. There was a belief that the “gates” between our world and the spirit world would open at this time. The general belief was that good and bad spirits would be free to walk in our world and potentially cause chaos.
During the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved the Christian holiday of “All Saints Day” to November 1st. All Saints Day commemorated the martyrdom of the saints. Christians would pray to the saints (or any dead loved ones) and ask them to advocate on their behalf so that God would grant their prayer requests. Christians also celebrated this holiday with a large feast and festival. October 31st became known as “All Hallows Eve” or what we know today as “Halloween.”
In today’s era, the Christian holiday of “All Saints Day” is overshadowed by the mostly secular celebration of Halloween. The idea of goblins, ghouls, witches, and magic taking over the evening has created much controversy surrounding Halloween, especially in the Christian community. Christian perspectives vary widely on whether or not to celebrate it. Does it celebrate evil? Give attention to Satan? Or is it simply a harmless candy eating and pumpkin carving event? Some people believe the Pope moved All Saints Day to November 1st to claim this time period as a holiday for Christians to celebrate, counteracting the pagan New Year.
Whether or not you feel comfortable getting into the activities surrounding Halloween, there are some great alternatives to the darkness and death that can make Halloween more honorable to God.
Share Your Love of God in Creative Ways
Halloween brings the entire neighborhood together. Everyone is out walking around. This is a perfect opportunity for some creative evangelism. Design a Bible card with your favorite scripture on it, attach it to some candy, and hand it out when people come knocking for treats.
Host a Harvest Party
The holiday was originally meant to celebrate the harvest bounty and to prepare for the winter months. Decorate your house or yard with yummy pumpkins, squash, and any other seasonal fruits or vegetables. Hold a small prayer time at your party to thank God for how he has provided for your family over the year. Ask everyone to bring a colorful dish to share in the fellowship. Perhaps also ask everyone to bring their favorite scripture to share with everyone. Costumes could be optional.
Enjoy a Carnival
Plan a Fall Carnival as an outreach to the community at your local church. Create a pumpkin patch to sell pumpkins to the community. Use that money as a fund raising opportunity for your church. Provide games, contests, and other entertainment to draw a big crowd. The main event surrounding all the fun could be to provide a Biblical message to the participants.
Honor your ancestors with a love letter
This is completely different from actually grieving over your deceased loved on
e. This is simply a letter to them and God thanking them for their life and how they impacted yours. You can customize this how you see fit. You can light a candle and lead a prayer time to honor God and your loved one.
Organize a Bake Sale
Have everyone bring their favorite baked goods and candies to sell at your church. Decorate the sweet treats and packaging with various fall seasonal colors. Attach a small flier about your church and short faith-based message to the carry-out bag.
Decorate your house or yard with God’s words
If you live in a neighborhood where everyone must decorate their houses or yards, be creative in your decorations. Create a traditional grave yard scene, but on the tombstones write out messages from the Bible about heaven and the hope of salvation. That way you are still participating in the neighborhood event and still sharing your faith with the neighborhood. When people come closer to read the scriptures, you would discuss Jesus with them if you feel led.
The celebration of Halloween is a disputable matter that lacks clear, direct, specific direction from the Bible. We must decide for ourselves and our families how we choose to celebrate it, if at all. Remember, Halloween doesn’t always have to be about witches, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. It can be turned into something to glorify God and is also safe for the family.