15th July 2002
Traditionally, the first day of November is All Hallows Day, that is, a day of all the saints - like St. George's day, but much more so. That's now all but forgotten, but the evening preceding it - Hallow E'en, or Halloween - is a big commercial holiday. The idea seems to be that all the evil spirits are at work for a final fling before saints' day. Traditionally, it is supposed to be the one night of the year when witches come out.
Halloween is rather bigger in America than it is over here: Trick or Treat comes from the other side of the pond, and has only really been happening in Britain for twenty or thirty years.
Witches in the bible are roundly condemned.
There is much, much more.
All this should leave us in doubt that the bible takes witchcraft and sorcery extremely seriously. We are not, in general, at liberty to laugh it off or treat is as a joke. If we doubt the reality of magic, and the ability of some people to perform it, then the bible removes those doubts. Neither does the bible allow us any room for modern concepts like ``white witches''. It clearly teaches that witchcraft is absolutely real, and utterly detestable.
At its root lie matters of manipulation and control - attitudes that lie at the very heart of the rebellion against God that is the ultimate cause of all sin.
The question we have to deal with is this: to what extent is the modern Halloween anything to do with the witchcraft that the God of the bible so detests; and so how seriously should we take it?
There seems little doubt that real witchcraft, or at the very least attempts at it, will happen on Halloween - even in Crouch End. At the same time, the numerous kids' parties and suchlike are hardly likely to be venues for black masses. We certainly don't need to fear Halloween - neither the reality of it, nor the sanitised kids'-party version, because we all know that ``He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world'' (### reference)
Matthew 10:16 tells us to be ``as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves''. For me, that applies to Halloween as follows:
So personally, I wouldn't go to a Halloween party, nor send my children to one. (There's one at Matthew's playgroup.) As much as anything, that's to prevent myself, or the kids, from getting anaesthetised to he concept of magic.
It's not necessary to make a big fuss about it, in a way that will alienate non-Christians. We just say, ``We don't do Halloween in our family'' and leave it at that.
Discussion Point: Does the same reasoning apply to Harry Potter books?
If you're reading a paper copy of this document, the soft-copy can be found at www.miketaylor.org.uk/xian/halloween.html.