Some Christians shy away from celebrating Halloween because of their belief that it is a pagan holiday. Halloween, however, is not purely pagan. Like Christmas, it came about when the Church adopted a pagan holiday to celebrate one of their holy days. Some scholars believe the Church intentionally chose dates of pagan celebrations in order to usurp them with new Christian holidays. This seems to be the case with Halloween.
According to History.com, Halloween “is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve…”
The name Halloween came from the Scottish shortening of All Hallow’s Eve or “Allhallow-even,” the Eve of All Saints’ Day on the last night of October.
The Puritan faith of early settlers in America rejected the pagan influenced celebrations of All Hallow’s Eve. It is thought that the very American holiday known as Halloween didn’t become rooted in American life until a large immigration of Irish came to America in the mid-19th century to escape their country’s potato famine. They brought with them the old traditions of All Hallow’s Eve. These traditions gradually evolved into what is known today as Halloween.
Christian parents should be discerning about Halloween but should not exaggerate its pagan origin. There’s nothing inherently pagan about dressing in costumes and going door to door for candy. The danger of Halloween today is less about one’s child becoming a Satan worshiper and is more about predators and pedophiles in the neighborhood.
Parental discernment means not letting one’s children dress up as Satan, demons or mass murderers. These are not Disney characters that kids should take lightly. However, if a child is dressed as his or her favorite superhero or cartoon character, and if they are kept safe by proper chaperoning, then Halloween can be a fun family holiday for everyone.