"All Hallow's Evening"

Each Thursday, I will do my best to answer your questions. I don't pretend to be an expert, but I know it's not easy being a wife and mother. It can be frustrating and discouraging, yet very rewarding. I'd be glad to listen to you, pray for you, and share some of my thoughts with you.

Dear Vonnie,

I'm not sure what to think about Halloween. Some things seem fun, but other things are outright creepy. Should I encourage my kids to participate in Halloween activities?


Dear Spooked,

From a young child, I didn't like Halloween. I cried when I saw myself in a homemade mask. My parents grew up with clean, fun Halloween parties and trick-or-treat and wanted the same for me. I enjoyed creating fun costumes. I liked hayrides, the candy, and even haunted house games. I'll have to admit there's a certain thrill in being frightened-
of getting close to danger-
of being scared...

...but not when it crosses over into the evil spookiness.

I looked up the history of Halloween. It gives me the shivers just to read it. It began with the Celtic observance of the Day of the Dead-lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off evil spirits.

The name "Halloween" comes from the Catholic church instituting November 1st as All Saint's Day or All Hallow's Day, thus making October 31st All Hallow's Evening or Hallowe'en.

The practice of trick-or-treating was a way to prevent the evil spirits from playing tricks on you. Costumed pranksters kept their identities hidden. Jack o' lanterns come from a legend of a man who made a deal with the devil and was banned from both heaven and hell.

When my oldest children were young, I had fun dressing them up as bunnies and storybook characters. We took them trick-or-treating on our road and to Halloween parties. But when Halloween landed on a Sunday, I took a good look at the holiday. I couldn't mix the Lord's Day with the devil's day. That was the year we stopped observing Halloween.

II Corinthians 6:14
"... for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

Gospel Tracts

We live in the woods, so we don't have children come to our door very often. If I lived in town, I'd probably hand out tracts and home-made cookies, also making my house as non-Halloween as possible, with light and warmth and good music playing. I would want to "avoid all appearance of evil",so that those that came to my door would see that we are different.

Dressing up is fun, but I think it ought to be done at a different time of the year. Having "good" parties on the same day is much like saying, "We'll just stand as close as we can to the fire. We'll just pretend to play with it. We won't get burned." You can't help but smell like smoke or get burned...or maybe the person following you will be burned worse.

another History of Halloween link

Galatians 5:19-23
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

Do we want to walk after the flesh or after the spirit?

Each season has its blessings. This time of year we can celebrate the bounty of the harvest and all of God's gifts to us. We can spread Thanksgiving over the whole season instead of just a couple days. (Look in later posts about ways to show your thankfulness.)

Philippians 4:8
" Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Lord, help us to shine for YOU in this dark world. May others see Your life in us. Show us how to teach our children to stand strong against wickedness and sin. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


LauraLee Shaw said...

A lot of great wisdom in this post, Vonnie. Love you.

Vonnie said...

thanks, Lalee...love you, too!

Sue Dent said...

There are many origins for stories surrounding Halloween and what one chooses to believe has no real bearing on which one is accurate.

I've done quite a bit of research myself on the origin for my Christian vampire and werewolf series. I found that Samhain correctly translated meant the end of summer for the Celts. They celebrated with bonfires and such. Nothing particularly evil though. It was simply the end of summer and time to celebrate the harvest.

With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints' Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween.

I absolutely love Samhain for the very reason the Celts probably did. It marks the end of a season that ended in a good harvest.

There certainly is a lot to read out there concerning the day though. :)

Vonnie said...

thanks, Sue

kerry said...

excellent, yvonne

Vonnie said...

thanks, Kerry, pray...

Debbie said...

How about safety?

I don't think it is the safest thing you can do with children these days. I remember the year (back in the 80's)that the local hospital offered to xray treat bags for foreign objects for free. That pretty much did it for me.

However, I now work for the town and we do Halloween. We have meeting after meeting on how to keep everyone safe.

And what about the current flu scare and the potential for exposure?

Lots of things to consider....

M said...

Love the Philippians 4:8 application! :) Meredith

Karen said...

I suppose it depends on if you are celebrating Samhein or Halloween.

According to the first link you sent, Vonnie, it says that the church created All Saints Day (or All Hallow's Day on Nov. 1) to honor saints living and dead and to replace the Celtic celebration of Samhein (the holiday that focused on Celtic sacrifices and the dead). The church reclaimed the night before (Oct. 31) and named it All Hallow's Eve and Nov. 2 a Christian day to honor the dead. The church collectively called these Hallowmas or Halloween. So it appears as soon as Christianity moved into the land and learned of the Samhein celebration they began fighting it with their own similar but Christian celebration.

I do not believe in a devil's day. I believe every day is God's day and I believe that's what the church did by turning the focus back to God during that holiday.

This is the first time I've read any background on Halloween. I've always enjoyed the silly Halloween stuff. If we T or T, we hand out invitations to our church. More often than not, we attend our church's fall festival which is used as a community outreach tool. As long as you keep the focus on God, I see no problem in celebrating Halloween since, according to this link, it was intended to be a Christian replacement for Samhein.

I think the worse thing we can do as Christians is hide and not shine our light on Halloween night. That gives the devil a power he doesn't deserve.

Lydia said...

I can't understand how one could argue that Halloween is an attempt to bring a pagen holiday back to God, but the attempt failed miserably. Halloween can not be considered a "Christian" celebration; it can be considered a Catholic celebration, but even then, it has the same negative spin as Mardi Gras (which is a day set aside to break rules, be glutenous and mischievious before spending 40 days on good behavior). I can't see anywhere in the Bible that advocates taking a day to sin and "get it out of your system" before having a "Holy" day.
There is a lot of evil in the world. Even if the roots of Halloween did not advocate it, the day is now used to celebrate Wica in a huge way! The Bible is very clear that witchcraft is sinful and evil. Christians should avoid all association with it!
I do agree that Christians should not remain silent, however. Give out tracts, use it as an opportunity to share the gospel and show that Christians are different!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I don't have anything to do with Haaloween. I want to avoid all appearance of evil.


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