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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reasons Why Jehovah's Witnesses Do Not Celebrate Halloween

ORIGINALLY POSTED 10/7/2011

Most people view the celebrations of Halloween as nothing more than harmless fun—an excuse for children and adults to dress up and lose their inhibitions. Some might argue that the origin of Halloween celebrations is of little consequence despite the fact that these celebrations are undeniably pagan in origin. But how should Christians view Halloween if they truly wish to worship and please God as best they can? Would even limited participation in the celebration meet with God's disapproval? The following will assist in determining the answers to these questions.

Halloween's Pagan Origin

"Its name means hallowed or holy evening." - The World Book Encyclopedia, 1952, Vol. 8, pp. 3245-6.

To really understand this "holy evening" you must realize that Halloween, as we know it today, has grown from several different sources. The main source has been traced back to religious ceremonies of the ancient Babylonians. - The New Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer, edited by Dr. T. H. Gaster, p. 468, Mentor Book, 1964; and Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, 1949, p. 38.

From Babylon, this pagan religious celebration spread throughout much of the world.

The Druids of ancient Britain also borrowed this Babylonian festival and celebrated it to honor Samhain, Lord of the Dead, whose festival fell on November 1. - Halloween Through the Centuries, Linton, p. 4. They believed this pagan god called together "certain wicked souls on Halloween" - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., Vol. 11, p. 103.

In honoring this pagan god, his supplicators hoped to be protected from these "wicked souls." Therefore, many of the things done in celebrating this "holy evening" are in honor of the false gods of the Druids. For example, "When you light a candle inside the jeering pumpkin face, you are in a small way imitating the Celtic Druids" who lit "great bonfires on hilltops to honor the sun god" and thereby help keep away winter and the evil spirits. - The Book of Holidays, McSpadden, 1958 ed., pp. 149-153; and All About American Holidays, Krythe, 1962, pp. 214-215. Since the "Mother" Church (which was established in Rome about 200 years after the death of the last Apostle) embarked on a course of adopting and adapting pagan religious ceremonies into the Church, it is not surprising that elements of ancient Roman false worship were also added to the "Holy Evening" celebration. For example, "when you duck for apples ... you are doing as the Romans did - - honoring Pomona, the Roman goddess of orchards." - The Book of Holidays, pp. 149-153 and Collier's Encyclopedia, 1975, Vol. 2, p. 192.

Although Halloween poses as a Christian holiday, it is exposed as a pagan feast. One dictionary describes "pagan" as: "One of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion." "Polytheistic" means "the worship of or belief in more than one god." True Christians should consider these things as serious because God views these things very seriously. (Lev. 19:2) God Himself said: "You must not have any other gods against my face. Because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion." (Ex. 20:1-5) NWT

Yet some may wonder what harm could possibly come from letting children attend a costume party or simply participate in a superficial way. Yes, it is not Scripturally wrong for children to have a costume party or play games such as bobbing for apples. However, doing so as a part of Halloween would be celebrating that pagan religious feast. This would be compromising Christian principles. The Bible condemns the whole idea of putting a Christian mask on a pagan practice.


If pagan ceremonies, customs, god names, etc. are really mixed in with ceremonies, customs, etc. that we use today, they are not merely unacceptable - - - they are detestable to God. We must completely get away from these unclean things and not even "touch" them. (2 Cor. 6:17) Notice how exclusive the worship of God must be: "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips." - Exodus 23:13, NIVSB. Also see: What Does the Bible Really Teach? - Take Your Stand for True Worship from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WBTS).

Halloween and Witchcraft

The real religion celebrated by the "Holy Evening" of Halloween is still a living religion. What is sometimes called "witchcraft" has had its ups and downs but is still practiced as a religion in nearly every country of the world.

"It began in the shadowy darkness of man's early religion. It lived and flourished through the ages and it is by no means wiped out even yet. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages was the `art' of controlling natural forces by power obtained from the Devil. Witches were people who made agreements with the Evil One." - Britannica Jr., 1957 ed., Vol. 15, pp. 131-132.

Whether deluded or not, these "witches" were (and are) making a public declaration: a demonstration of their faith and a defiance of the God of the Bible. They continued to practice their religion (in many different, varying sects) in spite of great persecution. This religion of the Middle Ages actually grew out of the earlier pagan Druid religion.


"These rites did not die .... When a monk or knight swore that in a clearing of the woods he had seen witches dancing around the devil, he did not lie. What he saw was ... people worshiping with a priest of the heathen religion. The prayer meetings of the witches were called witches' Sabbaths. .... Two nights especially were set aside - October 31, called Halloween and the eve of May Day, called Walpurgis." - Britannica Jr., pp. 131-132.

"Though the Church was able to destroy the temples and outward forms of worship of these heathen religions, it could not completely eradicate the faith and beliefs of their priests and worshipers. These found an outlet during the Middle Ages in witchcraft which was devoted to the worship of Satan. This cult included periodic meetings, known as witches' sabbaths, which were given over to feasting and revelry. One of the most important sabbaths was held on Halloween." - Encyclopedia Britannica, 1956, Vol. 11, pp. 106-107.

"The witches' sabbat [sabbath], or Black Mass, was a mockery of the religious one. It began with the assembly of the witches' covens, always at night, in forests, open fields, at crossroads, and even secretly in churches.... The name `sabbats' for these meetings is believed to have come from the Old Hebrew Sabbath - the seventh day." - A Cauldron of Witches, Alderman, 1973, p. 9.

The Bible warns against the practice of spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) The apostle Paul wrote: “I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:20-22, New International Version) He also asked: “What common interest can there be between goodness and evil? How can light and darkness share life together? How can there be harmony between Christ and the devil? What can a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, Phillips)

While it is true that the vast majority of those who celebrate Halloween would claim to reject Satanic practices, we should, nevertheless, be aware that historically this holiday has close connections with the occult. Therefore, celebrating Halloween can serve as a door leading to spiritism, especially for impressionable youths. Pagan rites and traditions tainted by spiritism simply have no place in Christian worship; they are far from harmless. (Also see: Dabbling in the Occult—What's the Harm? and What You Should Know About Witchcraft from the WBTS.)

Halloween - Based on Unscriptural Beliefs

Finally, Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day are all based on the beliefs that the dead suffer or that they can somehow bring harm to the living. However, the Bible clearly shows that such beliefs are not true, saying: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) For that reason, the Bible counsels: “All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol [the common grave of mankind], the place to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Since the dead are unconscious and thus incapable of harming others or suffering themselves, we have nothing to fear from them. At the same time, prayers to help them are of no use whatsoever. But this does not mean that there is no hope for our dead loved ones because the Bible assures us that “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) (Also see: The Bible's Viewpoint - What Happens at Death? from the WBTS.)

Should You Celebrate Halloween?

Clearly, God would not approve of any ceremonies or customs that have any pagan associations. The Bible also warns us about the practice of spiritism - of which Halloween historically has close connections with. And finally, Halloween is based on beliefs that run completely contrary to what the Bible teaches. So when it comes to celebrating Halloween - especially after considering what you have just read - what will you decide?  
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(For even more specific information concerning Halloween, see:

Halloween - Links to Information
(INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

The Truth About Halloween (AWAKE! SEPTEMBER 2013; JW.ORG)

The Origins of Halloween—What Does the Bible Say About Them? (JW.ORG)



(g01 10/8 3-10; Watchtower Online Library)




(g 10/06 p. 27; Watchtower Online Library)


(lv chap. 13 pp. 144-159; Watchtower Online Library)

(Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
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