Religion Roundtable

Halloween can be innocent … or not

Yes. There is nothing wrong with children playing make-believe, dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating for candy. All of the commercialized aspects of Halloween are purely secular and don't conflict with our Christian faith in any way.

And no. Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people believed the veil between the living and the dead was lifted somehow. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. This holiday is still celebrated in one form or another by Wiccans and other pagan religions in the U.S. and around the world.

If Halloween celebrations begin to involve occult practices like communing with the dead, then you have crossed over from secular harmless fun to defiling yourself in the eyes of God. The scriptures are clear that we who worship the One God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not to mess with things like that in any way.

Leviticus 19:31: "Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the LORD your God." Deuteronomy 18:9-11: "... and do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the dead ..."

We are called to commune with our creator and savior only, and any other practice that takes our attention away from Him is an offense to God and only hurts us in the long run.

— Rev. Laura Hutchinson, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Know the history and join the celebration

Halloween dates back 2,000 years to the Celt culture in Ireland as a special costume party the night before the annual feast of Samhain, to commemorate their deceased relatives and a thanksgiving to close the summer season of light and to prepare to enter into the winter season of darkness.

The Roman Catholic Church adopted the Celt’s Halloween tradition, and Halloween was observed in harmony with their All Saints Day.

Halloween has been influenced by many cultures. It is now commercialized, and the advertisement and costumes focus more on evil, danger and horror. Disguising as someone else and the imaginary fun has been taken away.

Christians are always scrutinized for what they do, but as long as you know what and why you are celebrating, I see no wrong. Read the history and join the celebration.

My friend Bert is a Christian; a few years ago, she told me that she buys good candy that kids love; sits at her old typewriter and types sheets of John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; so that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life”); and cuts and tapes a Scripture real tight to each piece of candy. With a big smile on her face, she said, “They will get the treat, but they will get that Word.”

— Alberta McCrory, Gaines Chapel AME Church, Anniston