Withstanding the social pressures of Halloween
Between October 31 and November 2, people around the world honour spirits of the dead with various festivities. These include Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and Samhain, an important event for Wiccan witches. As followers of Jesus Christ, it is contradictory for us celebrate Easter and such festivities. Easter honours Jesus who conquered death. On the other hand, Halloween honours and seeks to appease spirits of the dead. How it must grieve God to watch us to take communion during Easter and then exchange candy at Halloween.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:21 ESV … You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
The commercialisation of Halloween has made it more attractive to more people. Today, it is America’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas. But that hasn’t changed the true meaning of Halloween. (See a description of Halloween on history.com.)
Halloween celebrates necromancy, which God calls an abomination
The Bible clearly states that we will become spiritually defiled by turning to necromancy, which is the practice of interacting with spirits of the dead. Pagan traditions state that on October 31, the boundaries between the spirit world and this world became “intertwined”. Everything at Halloween revolves around pagan superstitions that are done to interact with and appease these spirits.
Leviticus 19:31 ESV “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 ESV “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you … anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.
Each time we take part in Halloween parties, decorations and trick-or-treating, we submit to the lie that these spirits have some sort of power over us, ignoring the fact that Jesus has triumphed over them and given us all authority over all ungodly spirits in His name. This profanes God and takes His name in vain, an attitude that He will not let go unpunished.
Also, see Lies we believe from horror stories.
Colossians 2:15 ESV He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Exodus 20:7 ESV “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
The social pressures of Halloween
1. Pressures from our children
Jesus loves children and warns us not to hinder them from Him. As parents, this is a useful reminder for us all.
Matthew 19:14 ESV but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Satan knows how to captivate the young with candies and dressing up. Children do not have the wisdom to choose what’s best for them, they just follow what others do – even to the point of “play-acting” necromancy practices during Halloween. Every child that participates in Halloween unwittingly gives Satan a foothold in his or her young life.
Satan also knows how to use our soft spots for children to his advantage. Our enemy knows it is hard to say no to a pleading child. As adults, we need resolve and discernment to provide the wisdom our children lack. The Bible reassures us that “all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Hebrews 12:6,11 ESV For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
A good test of our hearts’ resolve will be to ask ourselves, “Will I feel comfortable doing this for my children when I picture Jesus standing right next to me?” The reality is, He is always by our side and sees everything we do. Let us gently train our children in the ways that honour God, instead of feeding them Halloween candies, costumes, cartoons, or books on witchcraft and pagan traditions that honour Satan.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Instead, we can use Halloween as a good opportunity to teach our children about the realities behind the festival from young. It is invaluable training that our children learn how to discern between good and evil from an early age and how to withstand the pressures of the world. Such qualities will help them in all other areas of their lives later on too.
Proverbs 22:6 ESV Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Moreover, dress-up parties and gift exchange can be held any time of the year. There is no need to do it primarily at Halloween. We can always celebrate Easter and Christmas with children’s parties. These are great occasions to share Jesus’ love with other children and their families.
2. From our neighbours, schools, family, co-workers, and friends
We are often tempted by neighbours, family, co-workers, and friends to follow the ways of this world, usually with good intentions. In the midst of this, we must be careful not to fall into spiritual traps and deceptions that other people are unaware of.
The Bible points out that the world around us is under the control of Satan, the evil one, but we are “not of this world“. Disciples of Jesus have never blindly followed the world’s patterns. We are to follow God, because “whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
1 John 5:19 ESV We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
Proverbs 1:7,10,15 ESV The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. …my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,
Romans 12:1-2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Proverbs 29:25 ESV The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
We may even be “hated” for not following others. Let us keep in mind that the social rejection we face will never compare to the shame and rejection Jesus Christ endured on the cross for our sakes.
John 15:19 ESV If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
What’s more, most of us “have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood” like how Jesus bled for us. Jesus will remember whether we choose to honour Him or the world first. Let us be careful not to test His patience and grace.
Hebrews 12:1-4 ESV … let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
1 Corinthians 10:9 ESV We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,
Seeing past common justifications
1. “Don’t abandon your family and friends.”
We may face judgment and condemnation from family and friends today, but we will all also face God’s judgment one day. As believers, we are called to revere and fear God, not man. People should not be allowed to determine what happens to us on Judgement Day, only we can.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
2. “Don’t spiritualise Halloween, it is just a harmless festival.”
In the Garden of Eden, Satan told Eve something very similar as he tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit. He tried to convince her that her actions had no spiritual consequences. He lied to Eve and said, “you will surely not die.” Eve didn’t die immediately but her actions brought curses (spiritual death) onto her and her future generations. Similarly, we cannot take part in something that God forbids (necromancy) and hope that we, and our children, do not need to pay the spiritual price.
Genesis 3:4 ESV But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
The devil continues to spread lies today. Let us not fall for them.
John 8:44 ESV You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
3. “Christians have adopted pagan practices in the past. This is just another one.”
Over the centuries, pagan practices have indeed been blended into Christian ones. Pine trees, mistletoes and presents have been added to the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Easter eggs and bunnies have been added to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. These additions and compromises make Christians look more like the world, not more like Jesus. In His Priestly Prayer for us, Jesus prayed that we will not follow the patterns of this world and be kept out of Satan’s traps. By adopting worldly patterns, we indirectly spurn Jesus’ desires for us.
John 17:1,14-17 ESV When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you… I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
4. “You can attend and not dress up or take part.”
As believers who are called to follow God’s commandments, we might want to remember that anyone who willingly accompanies a friend to commit a crime is by law, considered an accomplice and liable to criminal conviction. This is similar to God’s Law. Passive accomplices to necromancy do not escape from judgment either.
1 John 2:4 ESV Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
5. “You don’t love us when you don’t join us.”
Emotional blackmail can be hard to retreat from because no one wants to be labeled as bad or unloving. True love or friendship should not have to depend on such blackmail. A true friend will accept and defend our choices, rather than pressurise us into submitting to theirs.
Proverbs 18:24 ESV A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
6. “Don’t miss out. It’s the biggest party this year.“
God lovingly warns all people, believers and non-believers alike, to stay away from the wide and easy gate to destruction. The narrow path to eternal life may be harder, but it is the only way to God. Just because everyone is going to a big party doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. God has already forewarned us that what the masses usually choose won’t lead to Him.
Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,
Matthew 7:13-14 ESV “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Turning away from participating in Halloween in the past
If we have participated in Halloween in the past, praise God that He will readily forgive us – as long as we confess and repent sincerely.
God’s Word makes it clear that we cannot celebrate evil and death, even if it is dressed up as entertainment, a community activity or harmless. A trap disguised in festive colours is still a trap. God calls us to “walk as children of light and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” and not to take part in “the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” God calls His children to “abstain from every form of evil”. We are to separate ourselves from the idolatrous practices of this world and not even touch their things.
Ephesians 5:6-11 ESV Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 ESV Abstain from every form of evil.
2 Corinthians 6:16-17 ESV What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
Here is the testimony of C, whom the Holy Spirit convicted of the unclean spiritual nature of Halloween. Here is her story.
“My university friends invited me to Ocean Park’s “Halloween Bash” in 2009. That was about 10 years ago. Back then, I was already a Christian but I thought it was fine to go to these events as it was just like going to an amusement park with ghost houses. I didn’t know the spiritual meaning behind it. But, two months after I went to that event I started experiencing insomnia and it lasted for many years.
In the past year, I have been seeking to draw closer to God. Then recently, I had a nightmare. I dreamt I was at Ocean Park’s Halloween Bash again. I saw myself running away from the amusement park because I was so scared of the atmosphere. Next, I saw myself in a room struggling with insomnia. In my nightmare, I got up and went into a toilet where it was filled with excrement. No matter how hard I tried to wipe it away, it was still there.
I woke up terrified. So after my nightmare that night, I prayed and repented for attending the event. I asked Jesus to cleanse me.
Praise God! After my prayer, I have been sleeping very well with no insomnia and nightmares at all.”
Be loving vessels of God’s light at Halloween
As believers, we need to gently and respectfully guide others to the true reason to celebrate – Jesus Christ – even if it means that we are mistreated or mocked for choosing Him over Halloween.
1 Peter 3:15-16 ESV but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
There are many who are ignorant of the truth that have already entered the wide easy gate to eternal destruction. It would not be very loving for us to imitate their ways or to endorse their destruction. Let us pray for opportunities to share the truth and lovingly guide people towards Jesus instead. Our Heavenly Father longs to welcome many prodigal children back into His arms.
3 John 1:11 ESV Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.
Hebrews 11:25 ESV Choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
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