Around Halloween every year a fair number of Christians express disgust at the idea of celebrating a "satanic holiday." To some Christians the very idea of Halloween is repulsive. Halloween and everything involved in it seems to strike a chord deep in the hearts of the most adamant Christian believers. It appears to be contrary to everything a Christian believes is good and holy with all of the evil ghosts, devils and witches floating about. But is Halloween really the evil satanic holiday that some Christians think it is?
The best place to begin is... at the beginning. There is a lot of literature available on the history of Halloween, including web sites and books. Some of it is even accurate! Most of it boils down to a few simple facts. Halloween appears to have started with the Celtic people. I say it "appears" to have started with them because they didn't write much down. They had a strong oral tradition much like American Indians. What we learn about Celts often comes from the writings of non-Celtic people (often their enemies). While there's a bit of truth to it, the writing obviously has to be taken with fair amount of skepticism.
What we do know with certainty is that the early Celtic people were not Christians. The Celts believed that there was a natural world and a supernatural world. They had gods, spirits, elves and fairies controlling and influencing their lives. However, since they weren't Christians, there was no concept of Satan! This means that from the very beginning Halloween was never intended to be a satanic holiday.
The earliest form of Halloween was a harvest festival, more like Thanksgiving than anything else. The Celts thanked their gods for the harvest and they consulted them for predictions about the next year. They believed that the natural and supernatural worlds were close enough to almost touch on Halloween so they did their best to use the
opportunity to get some helpful insight for the next year. Life was tough back then and they were trying to figure out how to make it through another grueling year in Ireland. Stories of worshiping the lord of the dead around this time are just that... stories.
Fast forward a few hundred years and we have people dressing up like pirates, Batman, witches and Elvis while they go out drinking. Meanwhile masked children are roaming the streets in search of candy. There are also a few obscure cults and Satan worshipping religions that have attached special meaning to Halloween. The question any Christian should be asking is whether any of those things matter. Is it wrong to dress like a pirate and ask for candy? I'm sure if you ask the question "what would Jesus do" that's probably not the answer you'll get, but that doesn't make it necessarily wrong. You'll have to measure whether dressing like a giant M&M and asking for candy is right or wrong based on your own values.
The cults and dark religions are a different issue. What if a group of people started sacrificing animals to Satan on Christmas? Would that make Christmas a satanic holiday? What about 500 years from now? Sadly, that is what has happened to Halloween. It has been hijacked over the years by different groups using it for their own purposes. Its meaning has been distorted over the years (purposely by some Christians) but the original intent was never to be anything other than a harvest celebration.
Perhaps it's time to take Halloween back. The next time you hear a Christian saying they don't believe in Halloween or they think it's evil, take a few minutes to set them straight. Tell them to take this opportunity to thank God for the harvest and ask for His wisdom for the upcoming year. After all, that's what the holiday was intended for. If you go out and get a bunch of candy, well then it would be a good thing to thank God for that harvest as well (you might want to pray for good teeth too).
This Halloween, instead of fighting against the holiday embrace the original meaning of it and use it as an opportunity to educate others. After all, it could be that the Celts had it partially right. Maybe on this one day, we're closer to the supernatural world. Maybe just maybe, if we use the opportunity to pray for wisdom we'll be able to get some of our own divine guidance for next year!