Perspective 1: the history of Halloween
How did Halloween start? It was actually started by Christians! Back in Medieval times they began to stretch out their celebration of All Saints’ Day (or All Hallows’ Day, 1st November) into the previous evening, All Hallows’ Eve. The concept was simple: knowing that when the morning of All Hallows’ Day dawned, they’d be celebrating how all followers of Jesus find that He overcomes darkness and evil, they make a mockery of all the evil forces the night before. The clear message was, “Evil – your days are numbered!”
This is something that is still true today! New evils mix with old, but all will fall away when Jesus returns in glory one day. Evil will not have the last laugh.
For a more artful explanation of the above, check out this video by Glen Scrivener!
Perspective 2: the culture of today
Fast forward several hundred years to the present, and what do we find? People are a lot less sure these days about what exists by way of spiritual forces, whether good or evil. As a culture we have forgotten (often forcefully and deliberately) the hope offered in Jesus, as well as suppressing the truth that we all have some of that evil in our own hearts.
So it’s no wonder that Halloween, and the way we celebrate it, has shifted significantly from its origins. Now instead of celebrating the demise of evil we’re celebrating – what? It rather looks like we’re celebrating evil itself!
In the Medieval times I think people’s tendency (being in many ways more superstitious than in 21st Century Britain) was to have too much fear of the devil and evil. In that context, having a laugh at it all in the form of Halloween was a relief and perhaps a helpful way of bringing balance. Today it’s quite different! Now the tendency is not to fear the devil and evil forces but to ignore them and deny their existence and power. Then we can dress up as whatever we want and call it, “a bit of harmless fun”. But is it? I think that our culture needs to be more afraid of evil forces than we are.
Well-known Pastor J. John wrote an article a few years ago detailing 6 reasons why celebrating Halloween is more harmful than helpful in today’s culture. Check it out here.
Writer C. S. Lewis once wrote, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
Which error are we more likely to fall into? That might help you to make up your mind how to approach this Halloween.