I have never liked Halloween. My reasons for disliking the holiday go beyond the spooky hocus pocus, zombie costumes, and all-around obsession with the occult that this holiday brings.
All those things are easily brushed off as vestiges of a bygone era of superstitions. What I find discomforting about Halloween is the celebration of death that it promotes. The Bible tells us that God is the author of light and in him, there is no darkness. Moses extols the children of Israel to choose life over death. The Messiah conquered the grave and buried death, and Paul admonishes us to dwell on what is beautiful and full of life.
Halloween does none of these things. Death is given a mask and turned into a joke; darkness becomes the center of our thoughts, and the goodness and light that God asks of his followers are pushed to the side. Halloween celebrates everything that God is not and gets excited at anything that honors the dark underworld.
We have been born anew in Messiah, and as disciples, we are to cast off the old image of our former selves, which were dead in sin, and become bearers of the Messiah’s name, and he has no place in death. So why should we celebrate such things?
My picture of Halloween is bleak and dark, and perhaps you feel a bit gloomy after reading my rather dreary opinion. Most people approach Halloween as a fun time to make light of the seriousness of death and to have fun with confronting what scares us. I understand that. I also understand why a person would feel that a holiday shouldn’t receive so much vitriol.
However, as disciples of Messiah, we are to emulate his life in both our actions and in that which we choose to find pleasure. In Judaism we remember people on the day of their death by focusing on their life and what they accomplished. On Halloween the empty shell of death is celebrated with no acknowledgment of the life left behind; it gives no hope of what could have been or what was.
The Didache states, “My child, flee from all evil and everything like it” (Didache 3.1). To try to cover up the celebration of Halloween under a “cultural experience” or “I’m just hanging out with my friends” is avoiding the path of true discipleship. Yeshua calls us to be lights in a dark world, and Halloween certainly shows us just how dark our world can be. The Psalms say, “Depart from evil and do good, so you will abide forever” (Psalm 37:27).
First Thessalonians explains to us what discipleship looks like amid the darkness of our world:
But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11)
Enjoy the fall season but remember to remain children of light and shine for our holy Master, Yeshua the Messiah.