Trick or Treat?

This month the world recognizes October 31 at "Halloween."  It is generally associated with witches, goblins, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and trick or treat.  With the resurgence of interest in the occult and satanism, the question surfaces again whether Christians can have any part in Halloween or not.  The same thing is true over "Christmas."

Some denominational bodies have masquerade parties, witches and all.  Others in denominationalism are becoming a bit more concerned as to whether it is right or not.  A number of so-called "Christian Talk Shows" are presenting witnesses who testify of all sorts of hideous activity conducted by satanists on Halloween.  Certainly Christians ought to think it over carefully before participating in anything associated with evil or satanic influences. 

Halloween is said to have originated with the ancient Druids.  These people were a very strange breed.  Very little verifiable information can be obtained about them due to the fact that they handed down their beliefs and traditions orally.  Very little written documentation can be found.  About the best that can be said of them is that they were a priestly cult among the ancient Celts in France, England, and Ireland.  The gods they served were similar to the ancient Roman and Grecian gods.  Some of their rather bizzare ways included the sacrifice of animals to examine the condition of the liver and entrails.  From these, the Druid priest could supposedly foretell the future.  The famous Stonehenge in England is thought to be a remnant of their place of worship.  There is still a group calling themselves Druids who meet annually during the summer solstice at Stonehenge.  They conduct rituals believed to be like the ancient Druids.  Who knows?  Maybe they are the remnant of the Druids still handing down their oral traditions and secrets.

The Druids did have a special day of the year.  They called it Samhain.  Some scholars insist it was their celebration of the end of summer.  Others affirm it was a celebration of the beginning of winter.  In either case, it was a time devoted to worship of the dark, for the days became noticeably shorter and darkness prevailed longer.  They celebrated by gorging themselves with food and seeking to counsel with the dead.  Those who might study this further must be warned not to be over persuaded by assertions without proof.  It is currently popular to associate anything like the Druid sacrifices with Satanism.  Those assertions may, or may not, be true.  One such unfounded assertion is that the Roman government thought the Druids were so evil they banned their rituals.  Another is the assertion that Samhain is a word so similar to "satan" that it meant satanic worship.  Neither of these can be fully authenticated.

The Catholic church set November 1 as "All Saints Day."  They incorporated into it the some of the old Druid customs and called it "Halloween," or "hallowed evening."  Many students of history find that whereas the Druids actually worshiped the demonic powers, the Catholic celebration was just the opposite.  Their rituals on Halloween were designed to drive off evil spirits the Druids wanted to commune with.  What has happened to Halloween is the same as has happened to "Christmas."  Pagan rites and customs were simply "Christianized," changing both their meaning and purpose.

In either case, it is a serious question for members of the Lord's church to study.  Keeping holidays on a purely ethnic, national, or cultural basis is not wrong.  Keeping any day, other than what the Lord authorizes, in honor of anything religious, is wrong (Galatians 4:11).  Trick or treat night may seem harmless to many of us, but it is interesting that several denominational groups, and nearly every police department in our country have taken a different view of it.  Police departments across our land now have a special investigative procedure to deal with things associated with cultism, such as satanism.  You might want to call your own local police department to see what they have.  Just last year the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.P.C.A.) reported more mutilation of animals than they could remember.  They have a new rule not to adopt out black cats until after Halloween.  The obvious conclusion is that there are more and more misguided people being carried away with the occult and satanism.

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