Can Christians celebrate Halloween?

Comic made in Pixton by Ila Wilborn. 

At the beginning of October, decorations of ghouls, goblins, and pumpkins can be seen in retail stores around the country. These signal what is the unspoken beginning of the “Holiday Season” to end the year off. Halloween, the first holiday of this mostly commercial season, has always been an uneasy one for me to celebrate.

As a Christian who grew up in a Baptist church in Atlanta, I was taught to never celebrate Halloween because it was known in the Christian community as, “the devil’s birthday.” My church family decided that Fall Festivals at the church would stand in the place of trick-or-treating each year. There would be bags of candy and even costumes involved, to somewhat suffice for the devout children missing other festivities. 

The concept of the day made it difficult for me to want to express that I, like most young children of my age, enjoyed dressing up in a costume just to knock on doors for free candy once a year. That’s all Halloween was for me back then, and what it continues to be for me right now. 

Upon entering college, I increasingly wanted to join in with my friends, with the help of peer pressure, in Halloween. I felt as if I was missing out on a quintessential piece of childhood and had to make up for it. The church continues to be an important piece to my puzzle of life. As Halloween came around this year, I found myself grappling with whether or not God would be disappointed with me if I “celebrated” this day. Could I still be a Christian and celebrate Halloween?

In a historical sense, the holiday started off as All Hallows Eve, an ancient Celtic holiday to mark the commencement of a new season and to prepare for All Saints Day on Nov. 1. It was initially a day to celebrate and honor all of the dead saints. The meaning, "hallowed evening," was meant to celebrate these saints, then shortened to the name, "Halloween." So at what point did “All Hallows Eve” turn into the “Halloween” that is associated with dark and evil?

Halloween is a holiday that can be taken different ways by multiple individuals. It is the choice of those who decide to, or not. I will choose to celebrate what and who I want. I choose not to let the devil have this day. So yes, as a Christian, I will celebrate dressing up and having fun. However, I have never, and will never, celebrate the dark and evilness that so many have projected on to the day.