God Is Greater Than Halloween
I hate Halloween because it has become a celebration of evil. Of all the cultural imports that we have received from the USA – yes I know that it started in Europe but the event we celebrate in Australia is basically the US version brought in by movies and TV – this is the worst. We ignore their best traditions like Thanksgiving and run with Halloween instead.
Halloween (pronounced “Hallow” not “Hollow”) is the night before All Saints Day (sometimes called All Hallows Day in the past). All Saints is a celebration of the victory in Christ of the believers who have gone before. It started to be celebrated in the 300s and was fixed as November 1 by the 700s.
All Saints reminds us that Jesus has defeated satan through His death and resurrection. The Kingdom of God is advancing person by person around the world. The Gates of Hell (that is, the fortress of the devil) will not prevail.
The custom arose that at Halloween, the eve of All Saints Day, people would look for opportunities to mock the devil. One such custom was to dress children up in costumes that mock the world of the dead -- ghosts, ghouls etc. Satan’s power is so destroyed by the victory of Christ that even children can laugh at him.
The key to understanding this is that satan’s first sin was pride, thinking that he could assume the throne of the Most High God. (See Isaiah 14:13-14). We can celebrate satan’s downfall by mocking his pride. It’s a bit like putting gargoyles on the roof of the church to collect the rain water – it is a statement that these ugly representations of demons are so ridiculous and now we use them to protect the structure of God’s building.
Some people find this business of mocking the devil a bit hard to understand. We need to remmber that in a society where Christianity has overcome paganism and everybody is assumed to be a christian, the social dynamics are very different to the present day where the church is in a minority position.
Where Halloween has gone wrong, I believe, is that the world tries to have the christian festival without Christ (like they do with Christmas and Easter). Rather than being a mockery of satan, it is now a celebration of the demonic, which is very different.
There are many anecdotal reports of increases in witchcraft, occultic activity and other demonically inspired events happening at this time of the year. Some christians react in fear, but we need to regain that sense that the devil is a defeated foe. In James 4:7, we read, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
At Halloween, and indeed every day, we need to remember that, as powerful as the devil seems, our God is greater. Put on the armour of God, and tell the devil to nick off, and he will.