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Halloween Guide and Ideas
Halloween Guide and Ideas


Every October the great religious debate rears its sanctimonious head as to whether people of different faiths should embrace or abstain from celebrating Halloween and if so to what extent it should be observed. This article is about how people of different faiths celebrate Halloween today and is based on my own association with people of different religious beliefs, personal observations and some basic research, primarily via the Internet.

Not all religious groups approach Halloween in the same way, some religions and their leaders leave it to their congregants to decide whether they and their families will celebrate it and to what extent, others actively discourage participation in any Halloween traditions what-so-ever. In its modern usage, a secular holiday is defined as any non-religious celebration, festival or event. As an example, Easter, Christmas and Halloween are religious holidays for some and not religious (secular) for others, while Thanksgiving, Independence Day and Memorial Day would only be considered secular holidays.

While there are many religious beliefs represented in the United States, Christianity and its multitude of sects, is the most widely practiced. There has always been a lot of debate on whether or not Christians should participate in Halloween, particularly since the Bible does not specifically say anything about Halloween. Can they dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating? For the majority of people, regardless of their religious beliefs, Halloween is looked at as a non-religious holiday filled with fun and festivities for children and adults alike. For those who follow the ancient Celtic ways its a sacred time of the year, but for some, Halloween represents sheer evil. Below is a basic break-down of what I have found.

Baptists and Halloween
Since there seems to be no single authority for the Baptist sect, receiving a definitive answer about the churches view on Halloween is difficult and often subjective. Some churches affiliate with organizational groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention, while others remain autonomous and independent of any denomination, organization, or specific association.

While some Baptists celebrate Halloween, many do not. On an individual basis, Baptist Christians seem to either love or hate the holiday. Many Baptist pastors are very much against Halloween, claiming that it has Satanic origins, but not all of them believe this. Josh Teis is the lead pastor at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Las Vegas, who has an open and wonderful view of celebrating Halloween and the traditions that accompany it.

Catholics and Halloween
The Catholic Church via the Vatican takes a negative view of Halloween and the celebrations that surround it. On October 30th 2009, Pope Benedict XVI spoke out against Halloween as a 'dangerous' and 'anti-Christian' festival. While the Vatican may have spoken, most American Catholics tend to see Halloween as a secular holiday filled with harmless fun.

The article "Don't be scared of Halloween: Readers share frightful memories" Angelo Stagnaro, demonstrates that Halloween is alive and well here in the United States and often embraced whole-heartedly by Catholics. To my knowledge, the current Pope Francis has not spoken about Halloween either way. While I'm not Catholic, I do remember going to a Catholic church in the mid seventies that held a charity haunted house and it was great!

Hindu and Halloween
Some American Hindus abstain from Halloween, while others embrace it as a light-hearted celebration of fun filled with costumes, Jack O' Lanterns and trick or treats. But there can be some conflicts.

The Hindu holiday of Diwali (also known as the "festival of lights" or the Hindu New Year) sometimes falls at the end of October competing with Halloween, and treats have to be checked to keep with dietary choices of the Hindu practice. Here is an interesting article by American Hindu Ambaa from October 18, 2013.

Jehovah Witnesses and Halloween
Jehovah Witness do not celebrate Halloween, nor do they observe other religious or secular holidays such as birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., because they believe that these are false religious beliefs and activities. They believe that they must remain "separate from the world" because it is a place of danger that is ruled by Satan and that everyone and everything outside their church is filled with moral contamination.

As such, they must limit their social contact with non-Jehovah Witnesses. Members are expected to participate regularly in evangelizing and proselytizing their religion by soliciting people, usually at their homes and uninvited. I guess they don't celebrate Halloween because they don't like it when people they don't know show up knocking on their door...

Judaism and Halloween
From a traditional point of view, Orthodox Jews usually don't celebrate Halloween as they are not supposed to celebrate non-Jewish holidays, however, many conservative and reformed Jews do celebrate Halloween as a cultural holiday, with the decision being left to the individual family to make, usually being viewed no different than Thanksgiving or Independence Day. One of my best friends is Jewish and he and his family go all out for Halloween every year.

Methodists and Halloween
The United Methodist Church does not seem to have any official statement or position regarding Halloween. Church members are completely free to make their own decisions about their participation in Halloween activities. Local churches can decide if they wish to offer traditional or alternative activities for children and families at this time of the year. My mother in-law, who is a Methodist, hosts her own Halloween costume party every year!

Mormons and Halloween
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no official opinion regarding Halloween. Individual church members are able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to celebrate Halloween and in what way.

The majority of Mormons and all Mormons that we know celebrate Halloween to some degree including decorating, carving pumpkins, passing out treats, taking their children out to trick or treat and hosting or going to Halloween costume parties.

Muslims and Halloween
Traditionally, Muslims do not approve of Halloween for its followers in any way what's so ever because it's not one of the two main holidays celebrated by Islam and also because of its historical ties to pagan traditions. While some Muslim families do join in the fun, it seems that it is extremely rare.

Native Americans and Halloween
Most Native American beliefs don't seem to get caught up in the "It could be evil" fervor that some other belief systems do, in fact, most Native American's and their families see Halloween as just a fun time of the year.

Nature Based - Pagan and Halloween
Using the term "Pagan" is subjective as there are so many different beliefs that fall into this category. Many follow the ancient Celtic calendar where Halloween has its roots in the sacred festival of Samhain, particularly by modern day Witches and Wiccans (yes, there is a difference). Today, it is considered not only a religious holy day, but a cultural holiday as well.

Protestants and Halloween
Mainline Protestants tend to take a much softer line on Halloween, with many churches embracing it. Wayne Walters, pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Burbank, California, says that many non-religious traditions associated with Christian holidays, including Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, hardly mean those holidays are non-Christian.

“Halloween for me is a time to have fun, “I remember growing up - on Halloween I went trick-or-treating. I was in it for the candy.” “And at Christmas I put out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, who always took time to sit down and enjoy them,” he continued. “None of those I think had a negative influence, destroyed or diminished my faith, he said.”

Seventh Day Adventists and Halloween
The Seventh-day Adventist Church does not celebrate Halloween, Christmas or Easter due to there pre-Christian pagan roots and their because they believe that Halloween has occult and demonic connections. Since Halloween has no roots in their scripture, they generally do not participate. The Seventh Day Adventist church teaches their version of the history of Halloween and advise their congregations not to be involved with it.

In the end, the vast majority of people celebrate Halloween as a secular holiday, not as a religious one. Halloween is simply what you make of it and we encourage people of all faiths to decide for themselves whether they and their families want to take part or not.


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