The question comes up every year. Should Christians celebrate Halloween?  Over the years, our family, like many of our friends,  has been thoughtful about how to approach the day  without glorifying evil. When I taught Speech, every autumn brought a new batch of  persuasive speeches about Halloween that were as diverse as the colors of fall. Some claimed it had pagan origins. Others claimed it was a  Satanist’s holiday and that participating in any festivities opened the door for demons. Still others claimed that is was just a way to have some fun as long as you didn’t practice anything occultish.

Well, it turns out they were all wrong. The truth is that  Halloween is actually a Christian holiday.

The Myth of its Pagan Origins

“The belief that Halloween is pagan in origin is a myth. Many neo-pagan websites claim that it was an attempt by early Christians to “baptize” the Gaelic harvest festival of Samhain. Because of this persistent myth, some Christians are hesitant to participate in anything associated with Halloween.”- Halloween or Samhain, Catholic Answers

While its true that Christ can redeem anything, Halloween began as a  Christian celebration. It has been  hijacked by neopagans who have misrepresented the history and corrupted and  obscured the  true celebration of Christ as victor over death. Its has also been misrepresented by numerous Christian sources. (The video below documents many of those sources). The result is that many Christians have become fearful of something that they should own. Its time to take Halloween back and own it.

Storming the Gates of Hell: Don’t Hand Over Halloween

Words mean things. Halloween means “All Hallows Eve” or “All Saints Eve”. Taylor Marshall asks if Halloween ” has been corrupted by our culture and consumer market? You bet. However, Christmas has also been derailed by the culture. Does that mean that we’re going hand over Christmas? No way! Same goes for Halloween. The Church does not surrender what rightfully belongs to her – she wins it back! Hell is on defense since Jesus Christ came. It’s the “gates of hell.” Gates are defensive. We are supposed to be storming the gates of hell.” –Is Halloween the Devil’s Day? Catholic Perspective from Dr Taylor

Christian Alternative to a Christian Holiday? Huh?

Our family has attended several  Harvest Festivals, Fall Festivals, and Reformation Day  parties  that were thrown to avoid the “evil” of Halloween.  (Ok, the Reformation day parties were also  to celebrate Martin Luther nailing his  95 Theses of  local abuses {that the church was already working to correct}, but that’s a post for another day).  The point is that the parties  are all Christian alternatives to participation in Halloween activities. Wait. That makes them a Christian alternative to a Christian holiday? That can’t be right.

Taylor Marshall calls it like it is when he says,”That’s like saying, “commercialism has destroyed Christmas, so let’s instead celebrate a “Winter” Festival” on Dec 25. It’s All Hallows Eve. Don’t change the name.” –Top 10 Christian Halloween Ideas by Dr. Taylor Marshall

Many Christians  have lost sight of the spiritual meaning of art forms that depict dark things like gargoyles that     remind people that Christ overcame death and evil and that He keeps evil  outside his church. Gargoyles also serve a functional purpose of  a spout to divert  rainwater. In fact, “By definition, a gargoyle meant a carved form with a spout which was specifically designed to channel the rainwater away from the masonry walls and to save the mortar from erosion. The term Gargoyle itself originated from the French word “gargouille”, which can be translated as throat or gullet, since the gargoyle acted as a throat or a gullet for the flowing rainwater. However, this was not the exclusive purpose of the medieval Gargoyles and they were sometimes also used to serve artistic or ornamental function as well. Medieval gargoyles that did not serve the purpose of channelling the flow of rainwater were usually just called Grotesque. One of the purposes of Catholic Church for the construction of gargoyles was to represent the Pagan converts who were generally illiterate. The gargoyle would serve as a warning to the people and a reminder of evil and destruction”.-Medieval Chronicles

So, gargoyles served a similar purpose as stained glass artwork-religious instruction.  Stained glass art was used to illustrate  the faith for people who couldn’t read. The artistry is beautiful, but more than that, it is a tangible, visible expression of truth.  Gargoyles reminded people of evil and their need for God.

Did you know that  skulls in religious art signify that Christ, the second Adam, conquered death that the first Adam brought to mankind? They are a reminder that from dust we came and to dust we will return. That our focus should be heavenward and eternal. This video explains that and so much more like  the true meaning of Halloween, where they myths and legends about Halloween originate from and  how we can take back Halloween and celebrate it for what it is: a reminder that death has lost its sting  through our Lord Jesus Christ.