Tuesday, October 02, 2007


The following story is used by permission from Rev. Larry Davies, of Sowing Seeds Ministry.

Halloween and All Saints Day - Part 1

(One of the more controversial stories I've written was about Halloween. The story below is edited and rewritten but to really appreciate the story, be patient and read the reactions and my response to come over the next few weeks.)

I have a confession to make! This is going to be hard for a preacher to admit. Gulp! I always liked Halloween. No, I'm not kidding -- I like Halloween! I like the candy, scary costumes, more candy, horror movies, jumping out of the bushes screaming, "Boo!" Hmmm, did I mention the candy?

Our elementary school held Halloween carnivals with costume judging, cake walks, bobbing for apples and other games. Inevitably, a few of the wilder boys would bring water balloons and bomb the crowd until we ran out of ammunition or were collared by a teacher. Halloween brought out the prankster in us. After all, when else can you knock on a stranger's door, scream "trick or treat" in your scariest voice and receive free candy? Halloween is a great day to be a mischievous kid!

But there is another side to Halloween that is not so innocent.

After becoming a preacher, I learned of the dangers surrounding Halloween. "If you allow your children to participate in Halloween (Trick or Treating, costume parties, etc.) you are allowing them to play on 'the devil's turf,' and Satan will definitely press his home court advantage." wrote William Schnoebelen. Stories abound of witches and devil worshippers meeting throughout the night and many of these stories are all too real.

Which view is right? "All of the above. No, I mean none of them! Larry, what do you mean?"

The custom known as Halloween began with the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in the British Isles. November 1 was a day of honoring the dead and celebrating the New Year. Christians combined the ancient practices and came up with "All Saints Day," today a sacred Christian holiday to honor Saints of the church who died the previous year. The night before All Saints Day became known as All Hallow's Even or "holy evening," later shortened to Halloween. In others words, Halloween is a unique blend of pagan and Christian rituals all designed to help us remember and honor those who died.

Paul says to the Corinthians, "I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ." (9:22) I like this attitude because we are urged to love people and find ways of connecting before sharing our faith. Halloween is an opportunity to find common ground and bring them to Christ.

So, both views are right. We can participate in Halloween activities with caution but we also honor those who passed away. Many churches now offer alternative Halloween celebrations that allow children and adults to have fun within a safe environment. In addition, people who seldom venture inside a church are provided opportunities to experience Christians in action. So, if we participate we should be cautious but we can say to evil, "I am not afraid of you. I will not give in to you."

One anonymous story goes: "After someone was baptized, a co-worker asked what it was like to be a Christian. Caught off guard the new Christian didn't know how to answer but she saw a jack-o'-lantern on her desk and answered: "It's like being a pumpkin."

"What do you mean by that?" the other worker asked.

"Well, God picks you from the patch and brings you in and washes off all the dirt on the outside that you got from being around all the other pumpkins. Then he cuts off the top and takes all the yucky stuff out from inside. He removes all the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then he carves you a new smiling face and puts his light inside of you to shine for all to see. It is our choice to either stay outside and rot on the vine or come inside and be something new and bright."

Halloween is a reminder that evil forces may occasionally have their day, or night but as sure as the sun comes out the next morning, All Saints Day will belong to God and the Saints of the church who will all rise from their graves on their way toward the promise of heaven. Now that I think about it, I may never look at a pumpkin or Halloween the same way again. But, I still like the candy.

To read the rest of the story, visit Sowing Seeds Ministry and sign up for his newsletter.

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Talk..to..Grams said...

Hi, I have a lovely award over at my place for you!!

I love giving out the candy to the little ones! I just don't care for all the other stuff that goes with it.
A lot of churces around our area have Harvest Night and it is realy great!! Love and Hugs, Carolyn

Maxine said...

This is very interesting--I never heard it presented quite like this. It is really food for thought. We used to tell children who would visit that "Halloween is the only holiday we don't take part in, but if you come back at Thanksgiving, we'll have a gift packet for you." They never came back, but at Thanksgiving we would go around to the ones in the neighborhood and give them little gift packets of candy and toys with tracts in them. Most of the time this made a positive impression on the parents. We didn't take part in what we considered Satan's day, but yet we weren't acting like a bunch of fuddy duddies. And also, it was an opportunity to witness.
I have to admit, thought, that Halloween IS a lot of fun!

Mimi said...

I always liked Halloween as a kid also... before it became so controversial ...
now our church does a harvest fest... which is basically the same thing we did as kids..without all the scary stuff.....
we do NOT allow any witches or horror costumes