There has recently been a number of reports of parents objecting to various supermarkets putting ‘Scary’ Halloween displays in their stores. These displays take various forms ranging from gravestone and skull decorations to ghoulish figures hanging from store ceilings. One parent is quoted as saying that they avoid taking their kids to stores in October because of the “hideous, scary displays”; one describes children ‘as being frightened and having nightmares’. Others said-
“I was quite taken aback by the Halloween display at the storefront counter with the skulls and quite scary/frightening things”, and “Not all of us want to explain to young children why there’s skulls at supermarket entrances”
The great irony in this seems to have been missed by most of the complainants. This being that the essence of what Halloween is supposed to be about IS Scary! Actually in two ways.
For the first one we need to go back to the origins of Halloween, except it wasn’t called Halloween. The original name for the event of the 31st October was Samhain and it marked pagan Druidic society’s New Year’s Eve, the last day of the Celtic year.
That festival took place on the day before the 1st of November, which later came to be called All Saints’ Day when Christianity came to the Celtic lands of northern and western Europe. Halloween is a contraction of ‘All Hallows (Saints) Day Eve’ (i.e. the Eve of All Hallows Day). It was believed to be the night when the gap between the Spiritual and Physical worlds became very narrow such that the ghosts of the dead and other evil spirits were able to enter the physical realm. So originally Halloween was part of a pagan belief system (a Faith) and was indeed very ‘Scary’!
One reason for the ‘Scary’ nature of the night was the belief that the spirits would try to ‘Trick’ (do bad things to) the people, and so they would put out ‘Treats’ (food and presents) in order to ward them off and placate them. Hence ‘Trick and Treat’.
Today none of that generally enters the heads of people for whom Halloween is just considered to be a Fun time, especially for children, with no ‘bad’ connotations, and with parties and dressing up as part of the ‘Celebration’. This even though few have a clue as to what is supposed to be being celebrated! This is all part of a society which increasingly lives with a blissful ignorance and lack of awareness of the 5th Dimension, i.e. the spiritual realm.
The great irony is that the original Halloween was a very ‘Scary’ time, yet today it’s supposed to be ‘Fun’ and, as the quotes above illustrate, there are complaints if there is anything ‘Scary’ attached to it!
But there is a second and more important reason for a ‘Scary’ dimension to Halloween, and that is that it is one example of a Festival of Worship of the ‘Unholy Trinity’, the three persons of which are ‘Consumerism, Materialism and Hedonism (good-time-ism or having Fun-ism)’, although most wouldn’t get that. To understand this, we need to go back to Genesis chapter 3:1 which tells us that-
‘Now the Serpent (Satan) was more crafty than any of the wild animals
Satan is God’s adversary (that’s what the name means); and he seeks to undermine the work of God and those engaged in it (as he attempted with Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). As we are told in the Bible, he walks the Earth (Job 1:6-7); he is very cunning as above; he is the Father of Lies (John 8:44); he causes spiritual blindness to those without faith, so they can’t respond to Jesus, who he is or the offer of salvation he makes (2 Corinthians 4:4). Also, as Genesis 3 shows, he is the master of temptation and seduction, indeed this is his ‘stock in trade’.
Given the biblical and spiritual illiteracy of, and spiritual vacuum that is, 21st century Australian society (God having largely been booted out from every facet of life), this means that people are sitting ducks for him, especially those, as C.S Lewis said, who Satan has deceived into believing he doesn’t exist!
Of course, modern, ‘intelligent and educated’, Australians do not entertain any of the original connotations of the Pagan festival of Halloween with its malevolent spirits and the need to ‘Treat’ them, nevertheless, the reality is that many have been seduced, mostly subconsciously, into a New Paganism with its own Unholy Trinity.
The embracing of Halloween is one evidence of this. For it is one of many examples of a Festival for the Worship of the Unholy Trinity. Such festivals, even events like Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day are developing must-be-observed ‘religious’ characteristics, are gaining a semi-sacred status and have become for many a substitute for the Christian festivals and seasons that in the Christianized society of previous centuries used to structure the year, e.g. Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Christmas and so on.
The event that has become the main worship time of the new-paganism is of course Christmas. This was originally a pagan festival (Saturnalia) which was Christianized, but which is now paganized once more by the majority, and where the persons of the Unholy Trinity are given their full ‘Worth’ (as in worship); where huge ‘offerings’ (in the form of dollars) are given at the altars of Consumerism, Materialism (to accumulate Stuff) and Hedonism, i.e. to have Fun!
There is one important point to make however. This is that here is nothing intrinsically wrong with Consuming God’s bounty (we need to eat), or Materialism (we need various material things to live), or indeed having Fun, for God has given us many things to enjoy. The problem is when these things become the main goals of life to which we devote most of our resources (including Time), instead of devoting those resources to the One who bought us at the great price of Christ’s blood (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), for the Mission of God; a Mission which, as is well documented, is failing catastrophically in the erstwhile Christendom countries of the West.
Satan offers seductive and deliciously enticing trinkets of ‘Stuff’, Fun and things to use for our own gratification; God offers service, sacrifice but also Treasures in heaven of infinite value.
As the active ‘Saltiness’ (Matthew 5:13) of church members declines and as God is ejected from every corner of the Public Square, a spiritual vacuum has developed. However we know that Nature abhors a vacuum, and the spiritual vacuum is now being filled by ‘other gods’ that demand worship. Humans are ‘wired’ to worship something, so in the absence of the Holy Trinitarian God, the Unholy Trinity takes His place. Evidence for this is the turning of existing Christian festivals or the re-paganization of others, such as Halloween, into opportunities for worship of the Unholy Trinity.
The argument here is not to say that people and their children are necessarily in spiritual danger because of engagement in Halloween activities, although dressing children up as Witches runs the risk of de-sensitising them to the Occult. Rather the Scary concern is that the embracing of Halloween is evidence of the spiritual disease they have ‘Already’ succumbed to, namely the (generally unconscious) replacement of worship of the God of the Bible with the New Paganism and the Unholy Trinity.
I am sure that many will scoff at this; ‘Halloween? Just a bit of Fun they will say’. However, remember, Satan specialises in blinding people to Truth; deceiving them with Lies; and seducing them to grasp his attractive trinkets.
So what should be the Christian response be in the face of the now overwhelming tide of neo-paganism, and the ongoing degradation of society that goes with it? Well, here is a greater irony! The response should be to time-travel 1500 or so years back to the 5th and 6th centuries and learn how the great Mission to the pagan practitioners of the original Samhain (Halloween) festival was carried out. This is what the missionaries to the Celts such as Columba and Aiden did.
What did they do? They went and set up small very visible Christian communities in the middle of the villages where the Pagans lived; built ongoing relationships with the villagers; served them and so showed themselves to be a beneficial presence; and proclaimed the Gospel to them in Word and Deed. Basically, they were ‘Salt’. They can teach us strategies as to how to do Pagan, now new-Pagan, Mission. It is not rocket science, yet the contemporary ‘Church’, largely continues to be locked into a long-failing bondage to a ‘how we have always done it’ Sunday-Centric, ‘come and join us in our four walls’ mindset.
So, what is the Scariest thing? It is not so much that Halloween is a trap for the spiritually naïve; but rather that its growing embrace is evidence that many are trapped already!
We must pray that God will be merciful and release our society from the great deceiver Satan’s thrall, and cause more of Christ’s people to learn from the ancient Celts, to actively be ‘Salt’ and engage in neo-pagan Mission. This can start with the question –
‘How is God calling me to engage in New-Pagan mission? And where is He calling me to create a micro-Christian fellowship?
Options range from a Coffee shop to the workplace; from a playgroup to a pub; from a craft group to a community centre and many others.’