History traces Halloween back to the ancient religion of the Celtics. The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it - such as by helping their over 300 gods to defeat their enemies in battle, or by imitating the gods in showing cleverness and cunning. Their two main feasts were Beltane at the beginning of summer and Samhain at the end of summer. They believed Samhain was a time when the division between the two worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished. Samhain was the supreme night of demonic jubilation. It was said that Spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived. Frightened villagers tried to appease these wandering spirits by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. If not placated, villagers feared that the spirits would kill their flocks or destroy their property. This is the origin of our present day "trick-or-treat."
In many parts of Britain and Ireland this night used to be known as 'Mischief Night', which meant that people were free to go around the village playing pranks and getting up to any kind of mischief without fear of being punished. Many of the different customs were taken to the United States by Irish and Scottish immigrants in the nineteenth century, and these developed into 'trick or treat'.
When Christianity spread to parts of Europe, instead of trying to abolish these pagan customs, people tried to introduce ideas that reflected a more Christian world-view. Others have shifted the focus toward celebrating harvest and by thanking God for bountiful blessings. Halloween has become a confusing mixture of traditions and practices from pagan cultures and Christian tradition. Witches and witchcraft are still dominant themes of the holiday and witchcraft is just one side of a modern revival of paganism.
Some of the concern in our culture is the return to evil as some put hazardous or dangerous things inside their “treats.” Their object can only be to hurt or even kill innocent children, so our attempts at making this day more “Christian” seem to have largely failed.
Should we be involved with Halloween? The dilemma may fall under the category of a "disputable matter" (Romans 14). These are matters that lack clear and specific direction from the Bible and ultimately, Christians must decide for themselves and follow their own convictions regarding the observance of Halloween.
I invite you to come join us on Sunday in the fellowship of loving and caring people! God bless. I love being the Pastor of the Journey!
Pastor Jim Day