Halloween – From Paganism to Acceptance
By Jim Josephsen

“They look so cute with their costumes. After all it’s just for fun; trick or treating, what’s the harm?”

Over the past thirty years, Halloween has become a holiday that is not just for kids any more. Halloween has fast become the party holiday of adults and parents. It ranks number two behind Christmas in decorations and annual sales within the United States. The National Retail Federation estimates Halloween-related sales in the United States alone at $5.77 billion in 2008. Halloween has made its way into retail stores, card shops and candy counters as early as Labor Day. Many neighborhoods display trees festooned with a body-figure hung on a noose or orange orbs; yards and windows decorated with witches, ghosts, pumpkins, and headstones, all clearly visible by the first week of October. Office and house parties, local bar celebrations are in the making, even now.

If there is one thing people seem to love, it is a party, celebration, pleasure, and revelry. Among all walks of life, economic strata, and social status; among every culture and religion, people find an opportunity to party and arrangements are made.

Interestingly, within mainstream Christianity, celebrations and party-like festivities have grown to take precedent over once considered sacred religious holidays. Holidays, as ordained by the Catholic Church millennia ago, have transformed into a pleasure-providing, gratifying celebration of merriment and revelry. The elements of the sacred have readily diminished, while common consumerism, entertainment and pleasure proliferate.

For example, the religious solemnity once associated with the observance of the birth (as erroneously taught) of Jesus Christ has morphed into a mostly commercialized seasonal celebration, fraught with elements, fables, cartoon-like characters and activities that have very little to do with the namesake of that celebrated day. Consider another mainstream Christian holiday. Easter has developed from a “sacred” religious celebration of the resurrected Christ to a mostly commercialized seasonal celebration filled with childish activities and fables, animal figures and clothing that has directed the day away from its original religious solemnity.

The historical facts reveal that both Easter and Christmas have little to do with the Bible and even less with the truth of God; rather much to do with ancient heathen, pagan practices. However, the way people celebrate these holidays today, demonstrates the point. Today, the association with commercialism and consumerism, party celebrations and sensory pleasures take precedent over the "sacred” all the more masking their pagan origins.

Over the past century, mankind has transitioned the “sacred” into hedonistic secularism, into pleasure pursuits, into opportunity for party and commercial gain. The Scriptures explain, “in the last days, perilous times will come … they will consider nothing sacred … they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” “2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 4”. This fact is evident today. What is considered “sacred” (although not sacred to God), is tossed aside for pleasurable interests.

Not only have we seen these so-called “sacred” holidays develop into opportunities for party and pleasure but we are witness to the unabashed acceptance of a completely demonic, evil holiday morphed into a celebration of revelry - Halloween!

The history and origin of Halloween should come as no surprise. From bookstores to the internet, one can learn all about this day; from its Celtic origins to all the themes and trappings associated with it.

All Hallow’s Eve, the evening of October 31st was originally given “sanctification” as the night commemorating All Saints Day (which was legitimized on November 1st by the Catholic Church under Pope Gregory IV in 835 AD). Originally, the Catholic Church’s intention was to overshadow the paganism by allowing their adherents to honor the saints of the church, thus sanctifying that day. This “sanctification” on the surface may detract from the idea of Halloween being an evil night of demonic frenzy, but the reality is still evident.

Today, the themes of Halloween, “trick or treat,” bobbing for apples, jack-o-lanterns, witches, haunted houses, childish, fanciful, supernatural and ghoulish character costumes and bonfires have nothing to do with religion and most certainly nothing to do with God-approved behavior. The activities and accoutrements associated with this day clearly define it as destitute of righteousness, deprived of anything acceptable in the sight of Jesus Christ.

Unlike, Christmas and Easter (the origins of these two days also concocted by the Roman Catholic Church in their desire to appease pagans, forcing them to accept the gospel of salvation while distorting the written Word of God through altered pagan rituals), Halloween has no scriptural basis whatsoever.

Yet, like Christmas and Easter, many thousands of Christians throughout the world observe Halloween.

Mainstream Christianity confesses diverse attitudes about this day. The fact that All Saints Day and Halloween occur on two consecutive days has left many mainstream Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike, uncertain how they should handle the day. Most Christians place no negative significance to Halloween since the day is treated as a purely secular holiday dedicated to celebrating imaginary spooks and fictional characters. Some Christian (so-called) ministers have promoted the idea kids should dress up as Bible characters, as though this somehow legitimizes the day; somehow makes Halloween acceptable to Jesus Christ.

Notably, within the United States, this so-called Christian nation, so common and readily accepted is this day that Halloween has become more than a one-day event. Halloween has actually transitioned into its own season. Some examples are Disney World’s “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party,” which started this year on September 5th. Other examples are found in Illinois with celebrations all trademarked under the term, Fall-O-Ween. Included are Scarecrow Festivals, Fright Fests, and Pumpkin Festivals.

In Ohio’s Cedar Point Amusement Park, HalloWeekends run each weekend from September 12th thru November 2nd. At Orlando’s Universal Theme Park, Halloween Horror Night runs from September 26th thru November 1st. These are just some of the scores of examples of festivities and activities that extend the observance of Halloween beyond a one-day celebration.

Ironically, Salem, Massachusetts, acclaimed for the infamous witch trials of 1692 started a Halloween celebration 27 years ago as a one-day event for children now promotes Haunted Happenings, this year from October 2 until November 2.

Many Christians hold the view that far from being a satanic holiday, Halloween should hold no threat to children. Rather through the innocent celebration of fun and gaiety, Halloween should be a way to strengthen the spiritual lives of the youth by teaching them about death and mortality. What?

In a perverse way, Fundamentalist Christians use Halloween celebrations as a way to evangelize. Halloween tracts have been written and distributed at “Christian” and secular Halloween parties, communicating the idea that Halloween is a carefree day of playing dress-up and getting free candy. What better fun for children! Nevertheless, children need to know that while trick or treating on Halloween is fun, the best treat of all has been given to us by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So this message is taught to the children of Christian churches.

What blasphemy! Talk about deceit! Christians should know better. We are reminded in our world today, even among those who confess Christ, pleasure comes before God and the pursuit of pleasure causes the truth of God to be of little importance.

Christmas, Easter and Halloween along with the many other Catholic and mainstream Protestant sanctioned holidays are known, documented, and clearly exposed for what they are. These days are pagan in origin and an affront to Almighty God. They deceive and spiritually shipwreck those who observe them. Observance of them reflects disobedience toward God. These days all distort the perfect truth of God and deflect the understanding of God’s rich truth as found in His only authorized and ordained seven annual Holy Days.

Satan, the devil who is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9), is the author of all these days. Ironically, Satan wears the greatest costume of all, masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). See our publication Satan’s Greatest Deception.

The increasingly accepted seasonal celebration of Halloween is yet one more example of a fundamental problem in this country and a sin plaguing mankind today; outright disobedience toward God Almighty. As the Scriptures reveal, “in the last days, people will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”

So pervasive is the acceptance of the revelry and celebration of Halloween that even many of those who call themselves Christians celebrate this heathen holiday. This celebration is yet one more witness of sin, disrespect, and disobedience toward the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 

Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news stories added 6 Oct 2008
 
Further reading:
Booklets
Halloween Is Pagan!
How Seasonal Holy Days Reveal God's Plan
Did God Create a Devil?
 
21st Century Watch
Hallowe'en--What's It Really All About?  [Volume 1, Number 8]
 
Quote by Garner Ted Armstrong:
"No true Christian with common sense, and a desire to OBEY God, would ever be involved in a hideous "celebration" of Satan, demons, witches, and death."  21st Century Watch - Vol 1, Number 8
 
Resources
EA Feature Page:  Halloween Is Pagan
EA Feature Page:  "Tis The Season to be Jolly" (or is it?)
EA Feature Page:  Passover or Easter?

Booklet: Witchcraft, Sorcery, and "Harry Potter"
Sound bite by Garner Ted Armstrong: Harry Potter and Witchcraft
Sermon by Garner Ted Armstrong: Sorcery and Harry Potter  Play  Download  MP3


Samhain
Samhain: Season of Death and Renewal
Halloween and Samhain
Trick-or-treating
How Hallowe'en Works from How Stuff Works
 

Photos:
Left: Halloween Horror Nights is one of the largest Halloween events in the U.S., presented annually at Universal Orlando Resort.

Center: Halloween greeting card: In this Halloween greeting card from 1904, divination is depicted: the young woman looking into a mirror in a darkened room hopes to catch a glimpse of the face of her future husband.

Right: jack-o'-lantern source