As the second most popular holiday next to Christmas, it is easy to see why children and adults alike wait with bated breath for the one single night of the year when they can dress up, carve personalities into pumpkins, gather hordes of candy, and get a dose of supernatural thrill.
But is All-Hallows-Eve really the over industrializedand innocent day as it appears to be? Or is there a darker side lurking under the plastic jack-o-lantern that should send Christians running for the hills?
Fellow followers of Christ, if you are struggling with the question that comes around once a year to ”haunt” us ( To Halloween or not to Halloween?) I’m going to give you a slight glimpse into the history of this celebrated day so you can make an informed decision for yourself and those you love.
The Early Origins Of The Seemingly Harmless Pumpkin Smashing Day
We can trace the first beginnings of Halloween back to the ancient Celts, where it was originally named Samhain. This pagan autumn festival marked the end of the Celtic year, the calendar being divided into two main categories; the dark part of the year and the light part ( Or summer and winter).
October 31st was the turning point of the lighter part of the year towards the darker part, and to the Celtics, it represented the time where the veil dividing the demonic beings and spirits from us was thinned, allowing them to mingle among humans and wreck devilish havoc. Goblins, sprits, ghosts, witches, black cats, devils and other hellish beings were said to be spotted roaming about on that night, and thus we have the signature characters that make up this night of trick-or treats. Some of the Celtics would dress themselves in costumes made of animal bones and skin to protect their identity from any vengeful spritsthat might be lurking among them. To the founders of Halloween, October 31st was a time to placate the supernatural beings that controlled nature.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory the III made an effort to make the Samhain holiday a more “Christianized” event, thus forming All Saints Day on November first. Needless to say, a lot of the more demonic traits of Samhain stayed, and in the end didn’t effect it much.
How Did We Come To Decapitating Vegetables?
The history of the jack-o-lantern is a fascinating one.
Though there are many variations of how the story went, most agree that the jack-o-lantern is connected with the legend of a drunkard named Stingy Jack, who was a Celtic lad that loved his liquor, someone you wouldn’t want your children around, and whose ”ghost” struck terror into the hearts of ancient Celts.
A lazy yet shrewd man, he was stumbling around the countryside after taking a shot too many when he came across the devil. Realizing his time had come, he made a deal with the devil, and to make a very long story short, tricked him by using a cross to strip the devil’s power. Eventually the man died, but due to a earlier deal, the devil could not take his soul. So he gave him an ember from the ashes of hell, which Jack put into a random turnip he happened to have on hand.
Ancient Celts probably didn’t have access to pumpkins, so they found and carved out turnips to ward off the evil sprits lurking about on Samhain day and, ultimately, to ward off the ghost of Stingy Jack.
So in reality, the cute little plastic jack-o-lantern you just bought is a symbol used in pagan rituals to keep demons from stealing souls and dragging them into the gates of Hades.
Satanists Views On Halloween
In Satanism the high holy day is guess what?
Gee, I wonder why? Maybe it has something to do with the origins of this holiday.
Anton LaVey, founder of the church of Satan and author of The Satanic Bible, had this to say about Halloween.
“After one’s own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween.” (LaVey, Anton Szandor, The Satanic Bible, 1969, p. 96)
The official site for the church of Satan states on the FAQ that;
“”We see this holiday as the night when the mundane folk try to reach down inside and touch the “darkness” which for Satanists is a daily mode of existence. Particularly in the United States, Halloween is a time for celebrating monster films, wearing costumes of a macabre nature, and evoking the thrill of “fun fear.” Children (of all ages) can indulge their fantasies by donning costumes that allow for intense role-playing and the release of their “demonic cores,” the parts of their personalities often hidden from their friends, co-workers and families.”” (FAQ answer on the church of Satan website, emphasis added.)
And they have much more to say.
“”This night, we smile at the amateur explorers of their own inner darkness, for we know that they enjoy their brief dip into the pool of the “shadow world.” We encourage their tenebrous fantasies, the candied indulgence, and the wide-ranging evocation of our aesthetics (while tolerating some of the chintzy versions) even if it is but once a year. For the rest of the time, when those not of our meta-tribe shake their heads in wonder at us, we can point out they may find some understanding by their own All Hallows Eve doings, but we generally find it simpler to just say: “Think of the Addams Family and you’ll begin to see what we’re about.”” ( FAQ answer on the church of Satan website, emphasis added.)
An Interesting Quote From The Director Of A Horror Movie
While doing extensive research for this article, I came across a fascinating documentary produced by The History Channel on Halloween.
In one part of the show they interviewed the director of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the History channel had this to say about horror movies and Halloween. “…. A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, or Halloween, are inspiring leagues of growing kids to kill.” ( History Channel, The Real Story of Halloween)
Then director of a Nightmare on Elm Street says “To wear the mask of the killer or ghost or skeleton gives the kids a sense of a lot of power and safety, because the monster can’t get you if you are the monster at that moment” ( Wes Craven, director of A Nightmare On Elm Street, emphasis added.)
Although the director may have a twisted and sick point, surly there must be a better way for us to help our children get over their fears of a mass murder instead of letting them act and feel like a serial killer.
Soooo….Should Christians Celebrate All-Hallows-Eve?
My dear brothers and sisters, I can’t answer the question for you if you should or should not celebrate Halloween, instead I wanted to give you a peek behind the scenes at some of the history and meaningbehind those symbols associated with this day, so you could make an informed decision wither or not youand your family will participate in this day of apple bobbing trick-or-treating.
I know its not an easy choice to make ( I very much understand the dilemma!) but here are some Bible verses that may help you as you seek out His will foryour life.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22- “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstainfrom every form of evil.” (NASB)
3 John 1:11- “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good….” (NIV)
Ephesians 6: 12- ” For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV)
Ephesians 5:15-16- “Be very careful then, how you live. Not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil.” (NIV)