Q. I have a 9 year old nephew that was told the other day by a classmate that Halloween is Satan’s holiday. With this “holiday” coming up I would appreciate any information concerning how to respond to questions such as these. I would also like to thank you guys for your website. It is truly incredible.
A. Our modern traditions apparently evolved from the Celtic belief that the spirits of the dead wandered around looking for bodies to inhabit every year on “All Hallows Eve” from which Halloween is derived . Since the living did not want to be possessed by spirits of the dead, some would put out their best food offerings on the doorstep to appease them. Others dressed up in costumes and paraded around the streets making loud noises to confuse and frighten the spirits away.
In addition, the new year began for the Celts on Nov. 1. So, Oct. 31 was believed to be a day that was neither in the year past or the year to come. Since it was in between, chaos ruled on that day. Often, people would pull practical jokes on others as a result.
Later, after the Catholic Church came along, people would knock on their neighbors’ doors offering to pray for them in return for a treat of some kind. After a while this practice devolved into the childish form of “Trick or Treat” blackmail we endure today.
For a variety of reasons, some believe that Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween. Their reasoning runs from the idea that it’s a pagan holiday with no Christian heritage so it doesn’t apply to us at one end of the spectrum to the belief that demonic forces are particularly strong on that day and believers should not unnecessarily expose themselves to such things at the other.
With the popularity of costumes that glorify characters many consider to be down right evil, and the danger of going out after dark in many neighborhoods, much of the innocent fun of the holiday is gone, and parents should consider their decision on whether or how to participate very carefully.