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Skip Halloween? Many American Christians cringe at the very idea. Who wants to be labeled a witch-hunting fundamentalist? And no one wants to be the bad parent who deprives a child of the “essential” childhood experience of trick-or-treating.

But the number of Christians stirred by conviction about Halloween is growing. I believe Christians need to bypass overt celebrations of Halloween, and some of my reasons may surprise you:

1. Let’s be honest about the spiritual force at the center of Halloween. The modern celebration retains its decidedly occult origin. Some say the “All Hallows Eve” designation on some church calendars marks it as a Christian holiday, but an eighth-century accommodation to local pagan traditions for appeasing evil spirits is very thin gruel, Gospel-wise.

Halloween remains the highest sacred day of the year for modern witches and pagans, called “Samhain” (pronounced, “sow-een”). Some rationalize that Halloween transforms ghouls and goblins into light-hearted fun, but is Halloween’s makeover into a big joke a biblical approach? While Christians need not cringe in fear of the demonic realm, nor be overly preoccupied, neither are we to mock and scoff, cavalierly entering Satan’s territory while dismissing the danger. We are especially not to encourage our children in such recklessness.

2. Halloween is now the second-most popular American celebration right behind Christmas. Why the growing magnetism of Halloween? Spiritual deception on a grand scale, using every enticing trick in the book, may be at work. And such trends call for heightened Christian discernment.

This event has become a huge annual celebration in the “LGBT” world, especially for the transgender/ gender-confused folks. Their affinity illustrates some of the problem: The core of Halloween is glittering artificiality. You can be pretend to be someone you aren’t for a night, you can flirt with danger, you can divine a different destiny – but it’s all void of the love or will of God. This “seduction unto death” is enticing: Don’t be afraid, do what you want, there’s nothing to fear. It’s one of Satan’s oldest tricks. Costume parties can be fun, but these costumes dare to disguise even our very souls.

Are things like Harry Potter, the “Twilight” series and Halloween really harmless? Find out the truth in the documentary “Popculture Paganism: Neovampirism, Wicca and the Occult”

3. Most Christians with a sincere faith acknowledge there’s a demonic realm and that Satan and his minions busily devise methods of deceiving humans. Knowing that, Christians should readily recognize how Halloween might be used by the enemy. Not just its ancient pagan roots, but today’s parties, decorations, trick-or-treating, Halloween movies and media and so on, are a fertile field for spiritual oppression. If you were Satan, and you had been given a “gift” like Halloween, what would you do with it? Certainly, he would deceive, distract, tempt, corrupt and deaden young Christians and others. How? Read on.

4. Satan, hating new life as he does, targets youth. Bloody, nightmarish images are routinely paraded before little children in a disturbing way. “Fun” haunted houses or horror movies may leave some sensitive children terrified.

5. Flirtation with occult practices is a staple of Halloween events, difficult even for “well-grounded” Christian kids to avoid. Your daughter Tiffany visits a friend for Halloween, and one girl brings a Ouija board. This is divination, forbidden by God in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Will Tiffany sit in a corner like a weirdo, or join in the spooky fun? Of course, most kids will participate. Can Satan reach an unguarded corner of her spirit as he spells out messages on the board? I consulted a Ouija board as a teenager, and yes, as an unbeliever, it was very intriguing. I did not understand its occult origins and potential danger until decades later.

6. What about palm-reading or fortunetelling, also forbidden divination practices? “But it’s just a harmless pastime – God understands my kids are not serious!” Really? Do your kids know how risky these practices are, and that real contact with real demons is quite possible? Satan doesn’t care about our intentions. He’ll take any willing participant.

7. Party, party, party seems to be our national theme, and Christians need to train up a child to be able to say “no” to some social gatherings. For teens and college kids, the Halloween occasion is replete with alcohol, drug use and sexual experimentation. Have you seen the outfits many girls wear? It’s not an accident that costumes have become more suggestive than ever. And Satan loves mind-altering substances. If you don’t have teens or college-age kids, be prepared. Your 8-year-old will grow up, and if he has been taught that Halloween is a must-do event, he is unlikely to say no to these kinds of parties.

8. Disruption is one of Satan’s tools. How does Halloween affect your child’s genuine joy and close relationship with our Creator? “Halloween is a harmless occasion” is a common deception. Isn’t it more than that, and less? Behind the laughter is a hollow, Christ-less reality. God is nowhere to be found here. How many Halloween carols do you know? The Lord has deliberately withheld His touch from this event, so we make our own decision about participating, hopefully with discernment.

9. Question any motive that begins with, “I can’t deny my kids …” Really? There ought to be many things you won’t allow your kids to do. They may object or even rebel, but if you don’t set the standard, what are you teaching them? That diversion minus God is OK on a Christian’s agenda. Think about it.

10. The reality is that Halloween is a God-dishonoring event, and no jesting and laughter can make that fact go away. Can you do without Halloween? Can your kids? Of course you can.

It’s a good way to learn to fast from the all-too-common excuse that “it’s just entertainment.” God is the God of all our lives, and that includes leisure, hobbies and entertainment, especially those that tempt us, in so many ways, to forget He is our Lord.

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