Halloween – trick, no treat!

We went shopping in Lakeside on Wednesday and saw something you don’t see everyday. A witch was walking around the Food Court handing out sweets to children. I doubt that she was actually a practising witch – just a woman wearing what we traditionally think of as a witch’s costume, complete with pointed hat. But she was part of the animated display of spooky ghosts complete with eerie screeching noises.

It used to be just a day. Now it’s a Halloween weekend – more than that HALLOWEEN is a whole month of themed shopping! In some shops, HALLOWEEN is almost as big as as Christmas & Easter. All kinds of sweets everywhere. Costumes of all sorts – Dracula, Frankenstien’s monster, Werewolf, etc. Decorations everywhere (Pumpkins, & Witches Flying on Brooms) Not to mention Horror videos and DVDs and films on television. Some primary schools even choose Halloween as a topic for weeks of study. One local school was organising a day where all the children would come in Halloween costumes. I was very happy to hear that a Christian teacher stood up against that idea and that in the end the children were allowed to wear any kind of fancy dress.

But what should be our Christian response to Halloween? Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Absolutely not! Should Christians even participate in Halloween activities? Absolutely not!! Let me give you three reasons this morning why not!
Christians should have nothing to do with Halloween,


Let’s look at the history. Long before Christ was born Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France were inhabited by the Celts. The Celtic people had an elite intellectual class known as the Druids, who served as religious priests, judges, lawmakers, and scientists. They were the first to celebrate the traditions we associate with Halloween and most of the today’s traditions and symbols came from their practices.

The ancient Druids were nature worshippers and held elaborate pagan religious festivals. The most important Druid celebration was the Fire Festival held in honour of their lord of the dead, called Samhain (pronounced summa-heen) and that was the most solemn and important night in the Celtic year. The Celts believed that on this night the barrier between the natural world and the supernatural was removed, and the souls of the dead were able to move freely among human beings. On this festival of Samhain (summa-heen), they hoped to scare away the evil souls by lighting great bonfires on the hillsides and some Druids offered human sacrifices. Some people think that the Druids built ’Stonehenge’ as a temple for sun worship and that they offered human sacrifices there on October 31st.

After the Roman Catholic Church brought Christianity to the Celtic peoples in the seventh century, some of their traditional folk customs were Christianized. In 835 A.D. Pope Gregory IV moved the church’s “Feast of All Saints” from the spring to November 1st to replace the observance of Samhain (summa-heen). Many Christians still celebrate All Saint’s Day to honour all believers who have died. The night before, which used to be a sacred vigil in church, became known as “All Hallow’s Eve,” or Halloween. But by the tenth century, witchcraft was more popular than Christianity in England and its followers became known as witches. While All Hallows’ Eve originally had been a strictly Christian holiday, the pagan influence from earlier traditions gradually crept back in while the Catholic Church’s influence faded. Halloween became a secular feast. The 14th Century saw the rise of all kinds of occult practices. Witchcraft grew and witches held weekly meetings as well as their annual Sabbaths especially at Halloween and Mayday. Magic became more widespread as people searched for knowledge to control the forces of nature.

So Halloween is definitely not a Christian festival. For centuries it has been a pagan festival dating back to the Druids.

Trick or Treating had its origins in Druidic practices. The Druids believed that on the night of Halloween, wicked souls that had died in the past year returned to their original homes. To exorcise these ghosts or to free yourself from their evil influence, you had to set out food and provide them with shelter for the night. If food and shelter were not provided – the Druids believed that the ghosts would cast a spell on you and reek havoc in your home. It is said that the Druids would then go around collect the food and burn it as a sacrifice to their gods. It is also said that they tended to burn your house down if they arrived and the treat was not at the door! That tradition was revived in Ireland a few hundred years ago. And those ancient pagan traditions continue today as children dress up as ghosts, skeletons and demons and go ’trick or treating’ – begging for food “or else!”

The carved pumpkin is actually an ancient symbol of condemned souls. Even before the legend of Jack O Lantern, the pumpkin lantern was a symbol used by the Druids and pagans to determine who was in agreement with them and deserved mercy from their tricks. People used to light a jack o lantern to show the Druids “we are one of you.”

So the traditions and customs of Halloween today have their roots in pagan religion. They may seem harmless – but just because something may appear harmless doesn’t necessarily mean it will be.
Halloween customs may seem like harmless fun – but when we see the beliefs behind them Christians will want to avoid them like the plague!

Halloween is actually a celebration of the belief that on this day the souls of the dead rise from the grave to haunt the living. On various occasions I have been asked to go to houses which people believed to be haunted. Now I don’t believe ghosts exist. The Bible tells us that once a person is dead they are dead and there can be no contact between this world and “the other side”. But the Bible tells us that demons do exist and I know that is true because of the number of situations in which we have encountered the demonic. And demons can and do sometimes appear as “ghosts” or even imitate real people who have died for their own evil purposes.

Ephesians 5:11 warns us very clearly Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
As Christians we totally reject false and evil beliefs about the souls of the dead walking the earth. So there is no reason on earth why we would want to join in pagan celebrations of such beliefs on Halloween.

But secondly we will want to avoid Halloween


The words “witch” and “witchcraft” have a whole range of meanings. Witchcraft in the Bible does not mean the same thing as witchcraft in today’s films and novels and television programmes. Witches in Dennis Wheatley horror books are very different to witches in Narnia or Harry Potter books. Witchcraft as it is practised by “Wiccans” today means something very different to witchcraft as it was in the middle ages. And witchcraft is not the same as Satanism or devil worship, although some witches are Satanists. But anything which encourages anybody (and especially children) to dabble in witchcraft and magic is a bad thing. Because witchcraft and magic are not harmless fun and games. Witchcraft and magic are dangerous things!

In USA Witchcraft now has more than a million practitioners. That makes it the FIFTH LARGEST organised religion in USA. It is usually known as Wicca, “the Craft”, or “white witchcraft” or sometimes as Neopaganism, “New Paganism”. Wicca has grown up over the last 50 years especially in USA and Europe based on some books by Gerald Gardner. The number of followers of Wicca is estimated to be doubling roughly every two years. There are thousands of books about Wicca or NeoPaganism listed on Amazon.com and hundreds of thousands of web sites on the subject of Wicca!!! Its influence is spreading. For some years now some hospitals have been obliged to give so-called white witches the same access to patients who request it as Christian chaplains have. For witches Halloween is a pagan celebration – the witches’ high Sabbath.

Wicca is not Satanism. But some witches do worship the devil. A few years ago a sailor in the Navy gained official recognition for his religion of “Satanism”, guaranteeing him freedom to practise satanic rituals on board ship and the promise that his funeral will be carried out according to the traditions of Satanists, whatever those traditions may be. Satanists believe that Halloween is a night when demons and the Devil are given special powers. In some places animals are sacrificed and in some countries even ritual human sacrifices.

Some people think Wicca is harmless fun. Wiccans claim it is harmless. Its most important principle, the wiccan rede says “An it harm none, do what you will”. That could mean, “don’t do any harm.” Or it could mean, “as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody, you can do whatever you like.” Doesn’t sound too bad. But any wiccan who casts a spell, or casts a circle to create their own sacred space, or attends a wiccan gathering, is worshipping false gods. They are rejecting God their creator and worshipping created things. Their eyes are blinded and their minds are closed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft;…. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Bible condemns witchcraft and magic, and Christians should have nothing to do with witchcraft or magic in any form! But the dangers of Halloween are broader than simply witchcraft. Christians should have nothing to do with Halloween


Not just wicca but all kinds of occult practices are now spreading like wildfire. It is curious really, since the word “occult” means “hidden” and for centuries these things were kept hidden for the inner circle of practitioners. Nowadays the occult is getting more much more free publicity than ever before. Films like the Exorcist, TV programmes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the X-files and Charmed, books and films like Harry Potter, all making evil seem “cool”. Ordinary people and especially children are being introduced to all kinds of occult practices. Psychic fayres and New Age shops will sell you anything you need to do all kinds of things from casting spells to contacting the dead. And the world wide web is luring curious people deeper and deeper into evil.

In Britain today only 26% of us now believe in a personal God. Less than a quarter believe that the Bible is the unique Word of God. 44% believe in some kind of spirit or life force – so nearly twice as many believe in the kind of Force described in ‘Star Wars’, rather than in the personal God described in the Bible. The popularity of that New Age understanding of an impersonal “Force” controlling destiny and events has come primarily from those films! 69% of people think we have a soul, and 25% of people believe in reincarnation. But only 48% of people say that we belong to a particular religion – and that is a decrease of 10% in the last ten years Only about 8% of people call themselves atheists, and this figure has stayed consistent. But in 1990, 54% of people considered themselves “religious’. Today, that figure has halved to LESS than a quarter! 31% of people now prefer to call themselves ‘spiritual’ but NOT religious. 38% of have some kind of awareness of God and 29% claim to have experienced a ‘sacred presence’ in nature. 33% believe in a way to God outside of organised religion. 16% have tried astrology. 17% have tried fortune telling or Tarot.

This change in spiritual climate is not due to people converting to other religions at the expense of Christianity. This is a move away from established religions and towards the private spirituality of the “New Age movement.” “New Age” is an umbrella term which includes all kind of spiritual activities, Many New Age ideas come from far eastern mysticism, or ancient Celtic pagan beliefs and practices. For very many people following aspects of “New Age” teachings, Halloween is the New Age equivalent of Christmas and Easter all rolled into one.

But these New Age ideas which are spreading like wildfire today are not just harmless fun. The NEW AGE is an OLD DECEPTION. Many of the practices of the New Age movement are just the old lies of paganism and eastern mysticism neatly repackaged and remarketed for today’s consumer society.

Listen carefully to God’s warnings in the Bible about the dangers of the occult.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 Let no-one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practises divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.

So nobody can be led astray, let me just list for you now some of the more obvious “New Age” practices which the Bible completely condemns and which Christians must both avoid and oppose.

MAGIC – Manipulating the spirit world to gain power over enemies (black magic) or to help friends (white magic).
wicca, witchcraft, White Witchcraft
spells, curses,
charms, fetishes, occult books and objects, magic healing, crystal healing
levitation, astral projection, ‘‘out of the body experiences’’
blood pacts, Satan worship and praying to the devil

FORTUNE TELLING – The aim is power through knowledge.
tarot cards, runes, crystal gazing and palm reading, reading tea leaves (etc),
astrology and horoscopes, dowsing, psychometry,
CHRISTIANS SHOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO with any form of fortune telling

Attempting to communicate with spirits of the dead for various purposes.
ouija boards, table turning, automatic writing, séances, mediums, trances,
spiritualist ‘‘churches’’ and spiritual healers.
CHRISTIANS SHOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO with any form of spiritualism
Remember that the Old Testament commanded the death penalty for mediums and any form of spiritualism.
Leviticus 20:26 You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. “`A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'”
Then there are other things which can be very dangerous

ghosts and poltergeists, telepathy and ESP,

Eastern Mysticism – especially ancestor worship and idol worship.
Tribal pagan and animistic religions including witch-doctors.
Aspects of Alternative Medicine and some Martial Arts
Ancient Celtic religions and traditional British mysticism
The many faces of the ‘‘New Age’’ movement.

The problem with all these aspects of the occult is that each and every one can be a doorway to danger! Each one can lead a person away from Jesus Christ and each one can expose a person to the demonic. Demons are very real! What begins with the appearance of harmless fun, ends up for some people in all kinds of evil, grief and pain.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Absolutely not! Should Christians even participate in Halloween activities? Absolutely not!!
1. Because of what Halloween represents
2. Because of the dangers of witchcraft in particular
3. Because of the dangers of all the other forms of the occult
All these are doorways to danger. They draw people away from God and can ultimately open their lives to demonic attack and even demonic control.

1 Peter 5:8 ¶ Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Lord lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

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