Halloween has become a major unofficial American holiday. Researchers at Hallmark Cards report that 65 percent of us decorate our homes and offices for the annual event. It is second only to Christmas in retail spending at about $5 billion, and it is the third biggest party day of the year in the U.S.
The treat ends there for many thoughtful Christians, however, who understand a very troubling reality. Halloween is the high holy day for real witches and pagans, not just a night of "pretend." Several hundred thousand American pagans, Druids, and witches celebrate Halloween as a holy day called Samhain (pronounced "sow-en") or Shadowfest, a 2,000-year-old Celtic festival held to honor Samhain, the lord of earth. Pagans considered it to be the end of "life" (summer) and the beginning of "death" (winter).
Although today's pagans don't roam in black or bloody garb, snatching children, they nevertheless gather to sing ritual songs and chant ancient prayers, most of which were condemned by the early Christian church. Some still put out food offerings for the dead.
Halloween is still the primary festival celebrated by those who follow Satan, but most of our culture has absorbed the festival by embracing its supposedly innocent customs. In fact, modern witches, warlocks, pagans, and Satanists have long used the holiday as a "hook" to present their belief system as a fascinating, even benevolent religious alternative.
Certainly, for Christians to shun Halloween and other pagan practices is to swim against the cultural tide. But redirecting Halloween celebrations for our children and ourselves is one of the easier ways we can take a quiet stand.
"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft" (Deut. 18:10).
My friend Jeff has a good take on all this (in my opinion) on his blog Rurality Bytes.