� Selwyn Stevens, M.C.R.; Ph.D.
Druid priests wore long black robes, and carried a hollowed-out turnip or pumpkin with the face of their “Familiar” – a demon – carved into it with a small candle inside for light. The lamp was often fuelled by fat from a previous human sacrifice. These lanterns were known as Jack-O-Lanterns, allegedly named after a miser trapped between heaven and hell and rejected by both. The Druids would go house to house demanding special foods. If supplied obediently, they would leave for the next home; but if not, the household were cursed with trouble. Often a hex sign would be slashed into the door with the threat of the death of the oldest child within a year. That’s the original “Trick or Treat!”
Some homes weren’t asked for food – instead they required a young virgin girl. As midnight approached, these young girls were sexually abused then ritually sacrificed to appease this evil god of death. The Druids danced and screamed, drunk and demonised, to invoke Satan’s help with their magic, witchcraft, sorcery and divination. The bodies of those sacrificed were thrown into the bone fires – now called bonfires.
As the centuries passed, the Romans conquered much of Europe. The Druids declined in number and power, allowing the common people to pick up the practices of Samhain and more. Many things were done to invoke “good luck” – meaning trying to find favour with the evil spirits many people believed controlled their lives.
By the 8th century, the Christian church (now more political then spiritual) attempted to overlay many pagan festivals and holidays with a “Christian” veneer. To counter Samhain, the Pope decreed November 1st as “All Saints Day” to honour the Christian dead, particularly those martyred for their faith during the earlier Roman persecutions. This attempted substitution didn’t work.
Other elements of Halloween: Witch on a broomstick – The Dark Ages saw a revival of witchcraft and paganism. Mediums (often thought of as witches) were employed to convince the nature spirits to allow a good harvest of crops such as grain. These mediums, usually women, would ride their broom sticks naked and leap around the growing crops, as part of their fertility ritual. The height they leaped was alleged to become the height of the crop. This leaping on a broom was often confused with Astral Travel when witches went out to spy on others or cause mayhem.
The Black Cat was often inhabited by a familiar or evil spirit. The Raven had a similar reputation.
The use of Masks arises from the idea that it was best to hide one’s identity from the visiting souls of the dead by wearing costumes as a disguise. There may also be a connection with the use of masks in many other pagan festivals, which change the personality of the wearer and allow communication with the spirit world.
This form of ‘celebration’ is not unique to the Celts. The Hindus have their night of Holi, the Indians have their Feast of the Dead (every 12 years), and in Mexico the Day of the Dead begins on November 2nd and lasts for several days.
Halloween was brought to North America by Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine during the 1800’s. Promoted by pagans of various kinds, along with commercial interests, Halloween has gripped once God-honouring nations with its occultic tentacles.
What should we tell our children?
God isn’t a kill-joy. We believe He wants us to have fun, but without the occultic snares of Halloween. Children need to be warned about the abuse and evil history associated with Halloween. Scriptures which advise us to stay away from events like Halloween include: Deut. 18:9; Jer. 10:1-3; Romans 12:9; 1 Thess. 5:22; 3 John 11; & Eph. 5:11. Also Halloween and similar subjects desensitise us to evil; it isn’t good to expect rewards on demand; the benefits of acting out modern versions of old pagan rituals are questionable; tell children good things such as the true Christmas story of God’s love for us sent through Jesus Christ.
Note to Parents & Teachers: In the Bible we are instructed to measure things by their fruit. Halloween’s fruit in modern America has been increasingly bad. Children knocking on doors are open to “Stranger Danger”, and there are regular reports each year of children disappearing on this night of death, or who receive sweets or fruit laced with drugs and even parts of razor blades.
We invite people to write to their local school principal and School Board of Trustees and politely request a thorough investigation of Halloween, its history and its consequences. If Halloween is permitted to continue to be promoted in our public schools, then traditional Christian, Jewish and other religious festivals should receive at least equal time in teaching and promotion. If Halloween is to be taught in schools, then teachers must be prepared to tell the whole story, including the sexual abuse of children and the ritual human sacrifice this festival of death is based on. We question whether these are appropriate subjects for primary school children.
Perhaps rewards could be made for acts of kindness towards those less fortunate than themselves, especially the elderly – this would produce better character.
We also invite people to organise prayer meetings in your church/community focused on protecting children from occultism in all its forms, including Halloween, TV programmes & related toys/games etc.
One Presbyterian Church in our city has been organising a “Angels & Saints” party – last year they had over 700 children, and this year they plan to hold it in two venues to cope with the growth of interest. In a totally different suburb, six churches joined and had a combined “Heroes” party – with children to dress like their heros. Most came in the uniform of their favourite sport – and some national sports representatives who are Christians came along to encourage and to say a few words. The first time these churches did this brought in 600 children – over a thousand people and a great time was held by all.
One Baptist Church took a Master-copy of the Halloween leaflet we have distributed, ran off their own, and put them in every letterbox in their rural county. They got a significant response!
(A guest Editorial in Daystar – New Zealand’s Evangelical Monthly newspaper.)
by Selwyn Stevens
Some people might argue these days that Halloween is just a bit of harmless fun, especially to the secular community. But even if we discount the spiritual aspects of Halloween and deny any reality to Biblical curses, there are still plenty of dangers to children.
The event brings out a selfish, you-owe-my lollies attitude in many youngsters. Friends of mine in Lower Hutt were spat at by young “Trick or Treaters” when they declined to hand over the demanded sweets.
There are media reports in other countries where razor blades have been inserted and even drugs injected into fruit for trick or treat gifts. There is a strong risk of stranger-danger, particularly with unsupervised children going door to door. There are more than enough paedophiles around, waiting for innocent children to come knocking at their doors.
However, we are all spiritual beings, we live in a spiritual world, and we are engaged in a spiritual battle whether we like it or not. So what can Christians do about Halloween?
I think one of the reasons for the apparent powerlessness of the church today is that we have forgotten to promote positive alternatives to the evils that exist in our society.
Much of the time, Christians are seen as just opposing things. A secular society is mostly self-centred. Jesus of Nazareth calls His church to be salt and light in our communities. An increasing number of churches are putting on safe, supervised, alternative activities on October 31st. God isn’t a kill-joy. We believe He wants us to have fun, but without the occultic snares of Halloween. A side benefit is the increasing relevance of churches to their local community.
Some churches are already pro-active in this regard. Knox-St Columba Presbyterian church in Lower Hutt has for the past four years run a “Saints and Angels” party on October 31st. They have a wide range of entertainment, including a fancy dress competition – no witch uniforms allowed! Last year 700 children turned up. This year Knox has joined forces with St. Lukes Anglican and Hutt Christian Covenant churches. To accommodate the estimated 1500 people coming, both the town hall and the adjoining Horticultural Hall will be used. They hire sideshow games, and have different activities for the various age groups. Solid prayer backing has been organised, and commercial sponsorship covers the significant budget.
Last year, six local churches in Wainuiomata joined together and had 1,000 people, (including over 600 children) to their event on October 31st. The vast majority were unchurched families.
Another thing we can all do is pray, particularly on October 31st. For several years we have organised prayer meetings on that night, and encouraged people in other towns and cities to organise their own, with the particular emphasis of praying for the children’s safety.
We can also distribute helpful literature. People can access our web site (www.jubilee.org.nz), download our leaflet (under “Articles” button & marked “Halloween – it isn’t what it seams)- and give them to children who come to the door, asking them to pass it on to their parents. Tens of thousands of these have gone out in the past two years. One Baptist church took a master copy of this leaflet, ran off their own, and put them in every letterbox in their rural county. They got some response! Another church put one in every home of their town.
I mentioned that we are in a spiritual battle. Former witches have testified to having prayed curses over the bulk sweets in the supermarkets. We encourage Christians to go and pray a blessing over the sweets.
The main reason big chain stores sell Halloween products is to make money. The managers usually have no personal views one way or another. So we encourage Christians to visit those stores and pray over all the witchcraft stuff, that it won’t sell. The logic is simple: if stock doesn’t sell, then next year the stores won’t buy as much of it. That is already evident this year according to several reports, as well as my own observations.
Who said Christians can’t make a difference!
Selwyn Stevens, M.C.R.; Ph.D.
President of Jubilee Resources Intl.; Best-selling author, International Speaker.
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