October 31, 2017

[About the Halloween Day] - Eunice J. Lee

October 31 is the Halloween Day. We see that Halloween has become a cultural phenomenon in many parts of the world today, from TV ads to children’s books. I’d like to share a few things with Christian parents in regard to the correct understanding about this phenomenon and also suggest a rightly contextualized counter-measure, since we have been bestowed godly responsibility to raise our children in biblical ways.

Halloween traces back all the way to the era of Celts who dominated the United Kingdom and Ireland, etc. Back then, Celtic priests comforted evil spirits returning to earth by making a bonfire and offering grains or animals on October 31, the day before the Celtic New Year. Afterwards, when the Christianity spread to Europe, Pope Gregory IV decreed November 1 to be observed as “All Hallows Day” in all the Western Europe. This decree was to commemorate the saints and Christian martyrs instead of the dead or evil spirits. In other words, Halloween is a custom produced by a mixture of Celtic tradition, Catholic saint veneration, and unbiblical medieval Catholic tradition that was distorted from the Bible. This custom has maintained its presence in the regions of the Catholic-dominated Ireland and eventually immigrated to the United States. Irish people used to make a sport of their neighborhood by asking for food door to door in costumes of demons and evil spirits, and over the years it was modified as a typical Halloween custom in America today. However, a danger, even for Christians, is that many consider Halloween as merely a cultural event. It may not be easy for some Christian parents to precisely explain to children why it is wrong to play a demon and evil spirit for fun. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to know that many sincere Christians in America still endeavor to keep their children from the worldly Halloween cultures. Some churches even invented and introduced a contextualized outreach programs to alter the Halloween fun and replace it with a godly event.

The greatest danger of Halloween is that it encourages children to befriend Satan, demons and many evil concepts. While intriguing with it, children may get confused about the concepts of good and evil. To many children today, the “fun” has become a standard of good and evil. Culture that promotes fun over right is rampant. Apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; “But test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” He reminds us again in Romans 12:2; “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Because of the development of mass media, our children lie almost unguarded to the cultures of this world. In fact, Halloween deposits more secular ideas in the minds of our children in today’s growing capitalistic and consumeristic society. Therefore, we’re in a desperate need of teaching our children God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. We ought to remind them that following Christ is not only exciting and joyable but may also lead us to suffering. It is my sincere prayer that we’ll take advantage of this festivity to teach our children genuine faith that acts in accordance with God’s pleasing will rather than the worldly funs.