Summary: This sermon gives the history of Halloween and a biblical perspective of the holiday.
Sunday Evening October 28, 2001 Bel Aire Baptist Church
TRICK OR TREAT
1. As a parent I have had to make decisions concerning Halloween. Is Halloween just a harmless holiday that kids go from house to house and get candy? What’s wrong with that? Is it harmful to a child to let them dress up like ghost, Dracula, witches, etc…? The big question is should I let my kids participate in Halloween? This is the main reason that I push the Fall Festival here every year is because it is a good alternative.
2. Halloween has become the most popular holiday of the year in the United States. Let’s look tonight at the history of Halloween and how the Bible can help answer my question of what I should do.
1. Halloween: The Celtic festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts new year began on November 1. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening. On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their fires. The Druids built a huge new year’s bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and human beings as sacrifices. Then each family relit its fire from the new year’s fire. During the celebration, people sometimes wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.
2. All Saints Day: Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800’s, the church established All Saints’ Day on November 1. They made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day.
3. The Catholic Church later began to honor the dead on November 2. This day became known as All Soul’s Day. The Catholics believed that you could pray the dead out of purgatory.
B. Additional Celebrations
1. The Jack-o-Lantern originated with an Irishman named Jack who loved to play pranks on the Devil. Legend is that he was made to wander the world carrying a lantern to show him the way, going to neither heaven nor hell. Hollowed out pumpkins with candles lighted inside were supposed to scare evil spirits away.
2. The Irish initiated “Trick-or-treating” when farmers would go from house to house to collect food for the village.
3. Costumes went from children dressing up like martyrs in celebration of All Saints Day to the modern day costumes of witches, etc…
1. The Devil delights in deceiving God’s children.
2. What may seem harmless can be very dangerous in the hands of Satan.
3. This may sound radical but where do you draw the line?
A. Object Lesson
1. Supplies Needed: One large pumpkin with the facial features cut out. When you cut out the features save them because you will need them during this object lesson. You will also need to save some of the slime and seeds from the inside. You will also need a candle.