2014Satan-influence-Halloween

Question

I live in an area that is steeped in tradition and religiosity, and people tend to think I’m a bit strange since I believe there is a spiritual element being woven in everything around us.  It seems to me that a lot of bad things occur around the world’s celebration of Halloween.   I  am wondering if Satan and his demonic forces have a stronger influence during this season because people glamorize Halloween and think it’s fun to dress up as ghouls and goblins. 

Answer

Before addressing the spiritual aspects of this widely celebrated holiday, let’s consider the impact it has had on our country and our culture.  Halloween has become the second most celebrated and decorated holiday of the year—second only to Christmas.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that Americans will buy more costumes this year than ever before.  Quoting a survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, NRF estimates (1):

  • More than two-thirds (67.4%) of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes for the holiday, the most in the survey’s 11-year history.
  • The average person will spend $77.52 this Halloween, compared to $75.03 last year.
  • Total spending on Halloween this year will reach $7.4 billion.
  • $2.8 billion will be spent on costumes overall.
  • $1.1 billion on children’s costumes and $1.4 billion on adult costumes.
  • Americans will spend $350 million on costumes for their furry friends.
  • Consumers will spend $2.2 billion on candy this year
  • 35.9 percent of people will be sending Halloween greeting cards.
  • $2 billion on decorations for the frightful holiday

Consumers will celebrate the holiday by:

  • handing out candy (71.1%)
  • Decorating their homes and yards (46.7%),
  • Dressing in costume (45.8%).
  • Throwing or attending a party (33.4%— up from 30.9% last year).

 

The statistics from NRF are staggering.  Each year participation in the celebration of Halloween grows.  It seems to have mushroomed far beyond the in-school Halloween dress-up parties and the evening activity of trick-or-treating door-to-door.  Halloween now begins early in October with indoor and outdoor decorations as well as parties and activities, much like the month-long festivities of Advent that lead up to Christmas.

While I believe that Halloween can be celebrated in a fun, safe and faithful-to-God manner, I also believe there is a spiritual dark side to this day.  For many people, the celebration of Halloween has grown beyond a day of candy and fun to a festival of terror and fright.  While many Halloween celebrations remain as pretend-scary and without any harm, far too many celebrate the reality of the dark side in a way that is spiritually evil.

Fight the “Fright”

Again I qualify, not all “frightful” Halloween celebrations have a dark spiritual side.  Halloween parties can be harmless, but some are purposefully planned with dark intent and can spiral out of control.  How much Satan is involved in such events, we do not know.   But we do know that he is our spiritual enemy and he will take advantage of any opportunity to influence our minds and direct our ways.  He definitely works through all false religions and belief systems.  For example, the teachings of New Age and Wicca are becoming more and more widely accepted and the growing influence of these two religions is increasing evil in the world.  This should be disturbing and alarming to Christians and Christians should fight against any kind of promotion such evil and activities that glamorize and popularize such evil.

There is no doubt that Satan works in the religions of New Age and Wicca, as he does in all false religions.  He does his work subtly and successfully.  I have friends who live in a town in the North Carolina mountains.   It is a solidly Christian town, with well known and respected international pastors, Bible teachers and retired missionaries residing there.  Yet there is a strong presence of Wicca and New Age religion in the town and nearby areas.  This should not surprise us.  We know that most of the false religion and pagan practices during Israel’s time took place in the “high places”—in the mountains. While the self-professed witches in this town are not unfriendly or unkind people, the practices of their religions are rooted in pagan worship and evil practices.  They need to hear the truth of God, so they might turn from sin and repent and trust in the Truth.

Satan’s Influence on Halloween

The person who submitted the question asked if “Satan and his demonic forces have a stronger influence during this season because people glamorize Halloween and think it’s fun to dress up as ghouls and goblins.”

I would suggest that Satan does have a stronger influence on Halloween.  This is just an opinion, but I base it on the fact that there is a greater participation in that which is dark and unholy.  It is a time when even Christians sometimes “cross-the-line” into participating in celebrating evil, death and darkness.  Since this is not done on other days of the year, it seems plausible that Satan’s influence is greater during Halloween. 

Fright or Light?

As Christians, we have been delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13) and we are people of the Light:

1 Thessalonians 5:5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Having been redeemed from the darkness into the light, and from the power of Satan unto God, we are commanded to walk in the Light:

Ephesians 5:8  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Should a Christian celebrate Halloween?  

I believe the decision whether or not to celebrate Halloween is a personal decision.  A Christian has liberty in Christ (Galatians 5:1) to do many things, as long as it doesn’t involve sin or provoke sin.  But in that liberty, a Christian must also discern.  If the activity is not sinful, then the consideration should be, is it beneficial.   We live in this world as pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11), but at the same time, we are also ambassadors for the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:20). All activities should be considered in light of how they represent the Lord.  In all things, we want our actions to uphold our testimony.  

Christians, who choose to celebrate Halloween, must do so in a way that does not include any sin and does not compromise their testimony.  There are ways to do this.  Some use Halloween as an opportunity to hand out tracts (along with candy) to the trick-or-treaters.  Some host alternative Halloween parties as a way to participate but guarantee a God-honoring activity.

At one time Halloween was almost exclusively a children’s activity.  It seems to have grown darker since adults have become more involved.   While this is only my opinion, the statistics on costume sales seem to support this (2):

Top Children’s Costumes for 2013
1 Princess – 8.2% – 3,815,104
2 Animal – 6.1% – 2,819,860
3 Batman – 5.4% – 2,488,111
4 Action/Super Hero – 5.1% – 2,363,706
5 Spider-Man – 3.9% – 1,824,615

Top Adult Costumes for 2013
1 Witch – 9.6% – 5,141,241
2 Batman – 5.4% – 2,920,225
3 Vampire – 5.0% – 2,714,575
4 Zombie – 4.4% – 2,344,406
5 Pirate – 3.8% – 2,056,497

Top Pet Costumes for 2013
1 Pumpkin – 7.9%
2 Hot Dog – 6.9%
T3 Cat – 4.8%
T3 Devil – 4.8%
4 Witch – 4.2%
5 Superman 3.4%

To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate Halloween?

There are many Christians who choose to avoid all participation in Halloween as a way to avoid being involved in something that has its roots in pagan ritual and activity.  However, that reasoning could then apply to many things, including other holidays.

All Christians should thoughtfully and prayerfully make their own decision about if, or how, they celebrate Halloween.  It should be remembered that issues like this should never be used to create division, or even disharmony, among brothers and sisters in Christ.  We should certainly warn Christian brothers or sisters who “cross-the-line” into the darkness of Halloween.  But always do so with kindness and love.  Encourage them to remember that they represent the Lord Jesus Christ in all that they say and do (Ephesians 5:1-2).  Warn them of the dangers of the spiritual activity of darkness that is present and heightened on Halloween.  Remind them how easy it is to be influenced by others who walk in darkness.

1 John 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…

Jude 1:4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

In all things, and on all days of the year, REMEMBER:

1 Corinthians 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

(1) https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/record-number-of-americans-buy-halloween-costumes
(2) Ibid.
 

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