It is believed that most of the ideas behind the night we now call “Halloween” originated with the Celtic religion of Druidism which flourished for around 300-350 years between the second centuries BC and AD.
For the Druids, this night meant that the “lighter” part of the year was coming to an end and the “darker” part was beginning. They further believed that on this night the veil between the living and the dead was its thinnest and that Samuin, lord of the dead, would call forth evil spirits to do mischief. In response to this belief, bonfires would be lit and some would dress themselves with masks and/or paint, apparently all in the hope of warding off said spirits.
Through the years, such ideas have been intermingled with other fall or harvest festivals from various cultures until we come down to what we have today. What does Halloween night mean for most of us in America? Simply put, it’s the fun kind of “scary stuff” we enjoy. It’s kids in costumes mooching candy, then going on a hayride and afterwards having popcorn balls and smores. Halloween means jack o’lanterns, fake spider webs and bobbing for apples at parties decorated with orange and black.
Sure, there are a few who see Halloween as a special night to dabble in the occult, but no one I know either does or promotes that. That kind of thing just never even comes to mind for most of us.
Two questions seem important to me to ask here. First, “Is this, holiday, intrinsically evil?”. In my experience, it is not. Even the practices of the Druids were intended to avoid contact with evil. I’d promote that, how about you? My second question would be, “Does Halloween provide any opportunity to do good?”.
Again, according to my experience, it certainly does. Year after year I see young families enjoying each others’ company as they go from house to house with their costumed children who squeal with innocent delight at the haul of goodies happy homeowners dole out. I still remember how much fun it was when my older brother and sister took me trick-or-treating!
Sometimes we simply gather in Christian fellowship around our own bonfires, toasting marshmallows and deepening relationships, warming ourselves both inside and out in the cool night air of early fall.
Now if your view of Halloween is different from someone else’s, don’t despair. Paul said in Romans chapter fourteen that each of us has the freedom in Christ to observe such days according to our own opinions:
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. Romans 14:5-6
So be at peace with others regardless of how you see the day, and give thanks to God for it!