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Dear COA Family,

I am addressing this topic because I realise that the festival of Halloween is becoming more mainstream in our Singaporean society. In particular, many of our youths (who are Christians) have no hesitation in joining in Halloween festivities. And I am also noticing that many of our young parents have no qualms about letting their children join in Halloween parties!

First of all, we must acknowledge the goodness of God who gives us all things generously to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). Friendships, fellowship and fun are gifts from our loving God to us and we should not deprive ourselves or our children of them. In these gifts we fully experience the goodness of our Father in heaven.

Yet at the same time, we should also be discerning about the activities we engage in or allow our children to be engaged in. Is the celebration of monsters, ghouls and witches something that is edifying for us? Is the normalising of the occult something we want for our children? The end result of our actions may lead to something else altogether that is more harmful than the fun we enjoy.

Actually, Halloween has Christian roots. It is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve, a holiday observed on October 31, the evening before All Saints’ (or All Hallows’) Day. The celebration marks the day before the Western Christian feast of All Saints and initiates the season of Allhallowtide, which lasts three days and concludes with All Souls’ Day.

However, what began as a Christian festival to remember the saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithfully-departed soon included other pagan roots. In particular, the Gaelic festival Samhain, which celebrates the animistic connection with the spirit world and also happens on the same date, was infused with mainstream celebrations of Halloween as well. As a result, over-the-top week-long Halloween celebrations in American schools where children are encouraged to dress up as and pretend as witches, warlocks or vampires are not uncommon nowadays.

Evangelical theologian Roger Olson in his blogpost “Should Christians Celebrate Halloween” also observes the increasingly occultic nature of Halloween celebrations. This should raise alarm bells in us as one of the devil’s tactics is to desensitise us to the reality of the spirit world and therefore minimise the recognition of the influence of demonic spirits and evil in our world. The current celebrations of Halloween do just that.

I urge us as Christians and parents to exercise discernment and to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives and those of our family. We should not blindly follow what society does. 

Let me end with Paul’s sober reminder from Romans 12:2:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Revd Ian