Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

The Haunting History of Halloween!

Like Christmas and Easter, the true origins of Halloween are eons old and some of the true meanings of the traditions of these celebrations have been distorted over time. Why do people living in this age -- especially "Christians" -- desire to be a part of any pagan worship? This pagan belief of Samhain/Halloween, even celebrated by "Christian" churches today, celebrates divination, death, darkness and decay -- coupled with spiritism, immorality and wanton destruction. The origins and practices of Halloween are detestable to YEHOVAH God!

by HOIM Staff

It's that time of year again. Vampires, ghouls, ghosts and skeletons will be haunting our doorways. American retailers celebrate a 5 billion dollar a year candy, card and costume business ($1.5 billion in Canada).

Most people think of Halloween today as simply a day when children dress up in costumes and go from home to home to “trick or treat” and collect enough candy to make any parent cringe. Halloween was much more significant in ancient times, however. October 31st was a very important day to the ancient Celts of Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain. No kidding around in costumes and trick or treat bags; Halloween was much more serious to the non-Christian Cults a thousand years ago.

Halloween remains a popular day in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Ireland, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Children get to dress up in their favorite costumes and ring doorbells throughout their neighborhood to collect as much candy as possible. In the United States Halloween is the second most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating and reaps a huge financial bounty of retail selling of frightening costumes to children and adults alike, decorations and candy. But for eons, the history of Halloween encompassed ancient beliefs about the world -- both living and dead.

The name “Halloween” is a shorter form for the Gaelic name All-hallow-evening. Pope Boniface IV instituted All Saints' Day in the 7th century as a time to honor saints and martyrs, replacing the pagan festival of the dead. In 834, Gregory III moved All Saint's Day to Nov. 1, thus making Oct. 31 All Hallows' Eve ("hallow" means "saint").

But, Halloween is not just a time for cornstalks, pumpkins, apples and cute and not-so-cute costumes. There is much, much more. Before deciding to celebrate or not celebrate any holiday, it is important to understand the history of that holiday.

Understanding the history of Halloween can perhaps help you decide what to let your children take part in, and what to keep your children away from. Also, knowing the origin of Halloween and its history can also help Christians view the adult, youth, and child activities associated with Halloween celebrations in the light of YEHOVAH's truth.

Before we look at the history and what the Bible says about pagan holidays answer these questions:

* How would you feel if your spouse kept photos of his or her former girlfriend of boyfriend?

* How would you feel if he or she celebrated an anniversary of special times with another after marrying you?

* Our God is a jealous God demanding exclusive devotion (Exodus 20:5). Do you think He cares if you encourage your children to partake in a holiday that honors Satan, the god of this world?

What Is The History of Halloween?

Halloween originated among the Irish Celts, Scots and Anglo-Saxons in Britain long before the Christian era. The Celts were first described as a fierce, warlike, terrifying people, many of whom would have strings of human heads tied on their bridles. Halloween was their main holiday, called Samhain. It was a festival that honored the Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. The Celts related this with human death. It was a time when they believed the division between the worlds of the living and the dead became very thin and when ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished. They believed the Samhain allowed souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for that evening.

On the evening of the festival, the Druids, the priest and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their hearth fires. The Druids then built a huge New Year's bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacrificed. They burned animals, crops, and even human beings as sacrifices. Then each family re-lit their hearth fire from the New Year's fire. This was to ensure protection from the dead spirits. The Celts believed the evil spirits would come to your house and you would have to treat them or they would trick you.

The lighted jack-o'-lanterns used today are symbols of fires and torches. During the celebration people wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes by examining the remains of the sacrifices.

On the night of Samhain, it was believed spirits of the restless dead and mischievous spirits would freely roam about with humans and during this one night spirits were able to make contact with the physical world as their magic was at its height. The Celts believed that by allowing the dead to have access to the world on this one evening, they would be satisfied to return to the land of the dead. The Celtic people would put out food offerings to appease the spirits who might inflict suffering and violence on them.

Samhain was also a time when it was customary for the pagans to use the occult practice of divination to determine the weather for the coming year, the crop expectations, and even who in the community would marry whom and in what order.

Regional Halloween customs developed among various groups of Celts. In Ireland, for example, people begged for food in a parade that honored Muck Olla, their sun god. The leader of the parade wore a white robe and the head of an animal. In England, families sat by the fire and told stories while they ate treats such as apples and nuts.

When Rome took over their land in 43 A.D. and ruled what is now Great Britain for almost 400 years, the Samhain was integrated with two other Roman festivals: Feralia and a festival to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Apples became associated with Halloween because of this festival. By the time Christianity come on the scene, Halloween had already taken root from the pagan beliefs and was integrated into Christian practices. As the Europeans found their way to the New World, they brought with them their traditions which soon evolved to fit their new country.

Many customs still observed today come from these ancient beliefs. For example, the elaborately carved jack-o-lantern is said to have been named after the Irish story of a greedy, hard-drinking gambling man, Stingy Jack, who tricked the Devil into climbing a tree and trapped him there by carving a crude cross into the trunk of the tree. In revenge for being stuck in the tree, the Devil cursed Jack and made him walk the earth at night for eternity. The jack-o-lantern of today is carved with a scary face to keep Jack and other spirits from entering their homes.

A problem for the Celtic people was...if the souls of dead loved ones could return that night, so could anything else, human or not, nice or not-so-nice. So, to protect themselves on such an occasion, these superstitious people would masquerade as one of the demonic hoard, wearing masks and other disguises and blackening the face with soot to hopefully blend in unnoticed among them. This is the source of modern day Halloween costumes portraying devils, imps, ogres, and other demonic creatures.

Halloween in the United States

In the United States, many early American settlers brought with them various customs such as the above. However, because of Christianity among so many of the settlers, Halloween celebrations were not celebrated until the 1800's when several immigrants from Ireland and Scotland introduced their Halloween customs. They brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs. German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft.

All Saints Day, a day the seventh century church set aside for remembering early Christians who died for their beliefs, was first celebrated in the month of May. By the year 900 the date was combined with the pagan rituals to be celebrated November 1. Another name for All Saints Day was All Hallows. October 31 was known as All Hallows Eve which was shortened to Halloween. The church made a grave mistake trying to combine pagan worship with Christianity. This is not scriptural! Because of that unwise decision, Halloween remains a holiday in America today.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

For Christians, the origins, history, and current practices of Halloween has its root in Satan, the author of deception.

"He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).

While some might say that Halloween is now only a fun children's holiday, it should be noted how much the modern day American practices and modern day witchcraft have in common with the ancient beliefs of the Celtic people. Modern day Halloween has thus become a mixture of ancient beliefs, occult practices and a highly commercialized children's holiday. As we have seen, the historic Samhain was a festival that honored the Samhain, the Celtic lord of death -- and was a time for sacrifices, ghosts and spirits, Druids and the worship Satan. The satanic celebrations now observed on Halloween is a more recent invention of more contemporary Satanists who have focused more on this season as a time when the dead can easily communicate with the living therefore making divinations and sacrifices more attainable.

While some people consider celebrating Halloween to be a sin, others simply feel that Halloween quite simply shouldn’t be a holiday at all! A few Southern states have been known to ban trick-or-treating on Halloween, especially when it happens to fall on a Sunday. Halloween parties are renamed “fall festivals” and children replaced scary costumes with costumes of Bible figures, historical figures, or no costume at all.

Considering that Satan is the father of lies, it can be understood how many are confused and deceived about this holiday. Like Christmas and Easter, the true origins of Halloween are eons old and some of the true meanings of the traditions of these celebrations have been distorted over time. Traditions surrounding Halloween have followed the same fate. All too often we think of Halloween merely as a time of dressing up in costumes in going trick or treating around the neighborhood. In antiquity, the traditions of Halloween were of enormous significance throughout Scotland, Ireland and Britain.

Apart from the religious controversy surrounding Halloween, many families have also been struggling with even normally well-behaved children who are driven by unseen forces to destructive behavior. Vandalism and wanton disregard for the property of others is common on Halloween night. Police officials everywhere report a great increase in such activities on Halloween. Worse yet are the horrifying accounts of poisoned candy and fruits booby-trapped with razor blades and needles. Such threats are so real that many hospitals offer free X-rays of Halloween treats in order to prevent children from being harmed. Who but Satan could inspire such monstrous actions on this so-called harmless children's holiday?

Scriptures warn us that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the third and fourth generations. "You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me" (Exodus 20:5).

Those who disregard YEHOVAH's warning and make contact with occult spirits risk terrible repercussions in the form of misery, sickness, insanity and even early death.

Why do people living in this age -- especially Christians -- desire to be a part of any pagan worship? This pagan belief of Samhain/Halloween, even celebrated by Christian churches today, celebrates divination, death, darkness and decay -- coupled with spiritism, immorality and wanton destruction.

Although the Bible doesn't specifically mention Halloween by name, it makes it very clear that the origins and practices of Halloween (adapting pagan customs or borrowing the ways of those who worship a false god and using them to worship the true God) are detestable to YEHOVAH God (Deuteronomy 12:29-32). The Bible clearly teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

"Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:14).

"When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who...practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium, or spiritist or who consults the dead" (Deuteronomy 18:9-11).

Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of YEHOVAH God. Yeshua the Messiah would not go to a party to honor the feast of the Samhain. Moses did not come down from Mount Sinai and combine the Israelite's Passover holiday with the idol worship that was going on. Allowing children to dress as witches and sorcerers or hanging evil decorations in our windows is imitating that which is evil.

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the LORD. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."

The verse says, "come out from among them, says the LORD." Does that mean come out from among them -- but don't deprive your children from all that fun and candy -- celebrate the same pagan ritual in your church building? The Bible is very clear about Christians being involved in such celebrations. Ephesians 5:8-11 says,

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."

Halloween is more than childish fun. Witches have eight special holidays during the year. Halloween is their day above all days. Witchcraft is not child's play. It is an abomination to YEHOVAH God. Johanna Michaleson, former occultist and author of The Beautiful Side of Evil said, "For a true Christian to participate in the ancient trappings of Halloween is as incongruous as for a committed Satanist coming from blood sacrifices on Christmas Eve to set up a nativity scene in his living room singing Silent Night, Holy Night with sincere devotion to baby Jesus!"

One thing Halloween should not be for the Christian is a time of fear. It should be a time to rejoice in the fact that the first-born Son of YEHOVAH God died for this purpose, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). This is a time of spiritual warfare. October 31 should be spent in prayer for the community and children; a time of worship by singing praise to YEHOVAH God. This can be a good time to teach our children to sacrifice by not sharing in the rituals because you love the LORD. Whatever your family decides to do on this day, ask yourself, "Does it glorify YEHOVAH God?"

"...they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons" (Leviticus 17:7).

Will you drink of the cup of the LORD and push the cup of the demons as far from you as possible? The choice is up to you.


Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.

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