Growing up, I always looked forward to dressing up for Halloween and extorting candy from my neighbors. I am sure many readers will fondly recall trick-or-treating throughout their neighborhoods. Although my fellow revelers are in the majority, I have met a few people since I came to Mississippi State University who shun Halloween altogether. According to this group, Halloween is not just a time for candy. Rather, it is a Satanic holiday that Christians should not celebrate.
On one hand, this argument does hold some water. If you had to pick any holiday to label Satanic, Halloween does certainly stand out. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the holiday has its origins in the ancient Celtic holiday Samhain, when ancient Irishmen would disguise themselves to fool ghosts who had wandered into the mortal world. In Wicca, witches view Halloween as a sacred time.
According to Wicca Living, the "veil between the spirit world and the mundane world is at its thinnest" on Oct. 31, and magic and prophecy will get a boost in efficacy.
Films such as "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" and "Flatliners" associate supernatural happenings with Halloween.
In place of Halloween, some Christians instead celebrate Reformation Day (Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Cathedral on Oct. 31, 1517) or do not celebrate anything. Although I would disagree with this approach, I do respect those who follow it. It is rarely easy to stick to your convictions, especially when everyone else is doing the opposite.
On the other hand, just because Halloween is not explicitly Christian in nature should not be enough of a reason to not engage in it. There is nothing inherently sinful about eating too much candy. Are there people who view Halloween as a time of witchcraft and Ouija boards? Of course, but as long as you do not participate with that mindset, you should not fear any demonic influences.
Christians are called to be involved in the world. Staying inside on Halloween or mingling exclusively with a Christian community is not a healthy outlook and is a good way to get your house rolled. Instead, interact with the wider neighborhood and be engaged with others. Dress up, watch scary movies and buy the good candy, not the cruddy kind.
In fact, Halloween has a strong argument as the best holiday. Christmas and Easter are religious in nature, but the pews are filled with people who do not care about God, only about fitting in with Southern culture. Halloween is unambiguously secular; no one worries about going to church on Oct. 31. Anyone who dresses up on Halloween does so because they enjoy it.
Christmas and Easter have been perverted from their original design. Commercialism has seeped into these dates, overwhelming the Nativity and the Passion. Thinking of Christmas inevitably brings to mind decorated pine trees, an array of presents and watching old festive films. Easter has more connotation with an oversized bunny and wicker baskets filled with Cadbury products. Is that wrong? Of course not, but it gives Christians an actual issue to address.
According to the Pew Research Center, a declining amount of Americans opt for church on Christmas. For Christians who want to take a stand on holiday matters, this is the area where they can have the biggest impact. Before abstaining from Halloween, first, focus on revitalizing Christmas and Easter. Christians should seek out those who need Jesus and strike up a relationship with them, encouraging them to visit church on Christmas and Easter and not stigmatize a relatively harmless holiday. If you denigrate Halloween but are content to attend church with the same people every year, you need to rethink your priorities.