Halloween is one of the more controversial subjects a Christian can ponder, as we weigh whether or not a Christian can or should participate in a holiday so closely associated with the occult. It is my hope that this blog will shed some insight upon the subject. And, yes, of course I realize just how unseasonable this topic is, but why is Wal-Mart already putting out the candy and costumes then??
I don’t celebrate Halloween anymore.
An old Cornish prayer reads:
“From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us.”
Nowadays, we aren’t so much concerned with the ghosts, devils, or monsters that might be out roaming the streets on Halloween. We might worry about poisoned candy, unsafe drivers, and human monsters, but for the vast majority of Americans Halloween seems to be just clean, honest fun.
As a kid, I recall bobbing for apples, telling ghost stories, and inevitably trekking through various neighborhoods behind an uncomfortable plastic mask, make-up, or an old sheet with eyeholes, begging at every porchlight for candy and treats. I had a blast on Halloween! After all, what kid doesn’t like sweets? Or to dress up as a make-believe ghost, vampire, pirate, hobo, clown, super hero, or whatever? And like most kids, I absolutely loved a good scare! Halloween was cool.
So why don’t I celebrate Halloween now?
As a child, I didn’t know where Halloween had come from. All of the other holidays my family celebrated were either Christian (St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day are both named after Christian saints.), patriotic, or represented personal milestones.
I didn’t know that the name Halloween was actually another name for All Hallow’s Eve. All Hallow’s Eve is the day before All Hallow’s Day, also called All Saints Day. It’s a Catholic holiday (it pre-dates the Protestant Reformation, but Protestants do not generally celebrate it) in which they celebrate the deaths of departed saints.
I didn’t know that, originally, All Saints Day was celebrated in May, not on November 1st. In 608 A.D., the Roman emperor Constantine appeased the heathen tribes he’d recently conquered by allowing them to combine their ancient ritual of Samhain with All Saints Day. So on the night before Christians celebrated the deaths of saints, the pagans devoted their energies to their Lord of the Dead.
I didn’t know that October 31st was already one of the four major witches’ sabbats. Samhain marked the coming of winter and was said to be a time of “betwixt and between”, a sacred season of spirit conjuration and superstition.
I didn’t know that Halloween and Walpurgisnacht (April 30th; also called “Walpurgis Night”) are considered the two highest holidays by the Church of satan, after one’s own birthday.
I know these things now.
Yet the reasons that I don’t celebrate Halloween aren’t found in my childhood, nor in historcal fact.
They are found in Midian.
For those of you who don’t know my personal testimony, let’s just say I went as stereotypically bad as a backslider can get. The long and short of it is that as an adult I turned my back on God and my calling and eventually formed several metal bands, the most successful of which was Midian.
I can’t deny that in both the bar scene and throughout the band scene in general, Halloween is one of the biggest excuses to party available. Most bar owners anticipate phenomenal business on New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, and Halloween.
We still dressed up like ghosties and ghoulies, but now our approximation of “cool” included gore, grotesquery, evil, and anything of a sinister or lewd quality. There were still doll babies, princesses, clowns, and knights, but, by and large, the costumes were of a darker character.
As far as bands went, in the metal genre you could really rack up points on Halloween for an absolutely evl performance. Midian never failed to deliver.
On our first Halloween outing, we were the undisputed kings of evil. Our performance was absolute menace, hate, chaos, insanity, psychosis, evil, cool. I looked like satan himself, according to many there, and we all thought THAT was cool, too.
We out-did ourselves at our second Halloween gig. It was our debut as Hate, I Preach, our self-proclaimed “Symphony of Hate.” We’d gone harder, more intense, more deranged. My vocalizations twisted themselves around words in shrieks, rasps, and roars of thunder. The music was designed to rip and tear, to crush all opposition. Every lyric spoke of hate, rage, madness, cruelty, injustice, and the occult. We thought it was cool.
Halloween was a night when you were free to be as evil as you dared to be. As performers onstage, we conducted this frenzied dance of the macabre and fantastic.
I cannot deny that Halloween was a conduit for evil in the days of Midian. For everyone.
I thank God for saving me from myself.
I don’t celebrate Halloween now because I’m honest with myself. I can think of nothing virtuous in this “holiday” whatsoever. Yes, it was fun in my childhood (it was equally fun in my band days); but fun doesn’t necessarily equate with good and virtue, does it?
Does this opinion mean that I think that any parent who sends their child out a’ Trick-or-Treatin’ on “Prank Night” or who carves a pumpkin is participating in satanism, witchcraft, or the occult?
Of course not.
But I do see Halloween for what it is – a candy-coated introduction to evil as cool.