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Halloween is a Satanic Holiday, Or So I Believed for Many Years

halloween

A story from the past.

From 1995-2002, I pastored Our Father’s House, a nondenominational church in West Unity, Ohio. One Sunday, the following discussion took place between an old woman in the church and one of my younger children.

Old Woman: So, how much candy did you get trick-or-treating?

Child gives Old Woman an embarrassed look.

Child: I didn’t go trick-or-treating.

Old Woman: Really? Why not?

Child: Our Dad doesn’t believe in Halloween.

Old Woman: Hmm, that’s interesting You mean you have never gone trick-or-treating?

Child: No.

Any of my six children could have answered the old woman’s questions.  None of them was allowed to go trick-or-treating. Not one time.  And they knew not to ask. Ever.

As a true-blue, bought by the blood, sanctified, sold-out, consecrated, committed follower of Jesus, I believed Halloween was a Satanic holiday, and Christians, if they were right with God, should never, ever practice Halloween. For a few years, I took the same approach with Christmas. We didn’t put up a tree or decorations, nor did we exchange gifts. We spent Christmas Day at a Columbus, Ohio rescue mission serving meals to the homeless. (We did go to Polly’s parents’ home for Christmas Eve.)

I firmly believed Halloween was a thoroughly pagan and Satanic holiday. I could not, in good conscience, allow my children to participate in a holiday I considered an act of Satan worship. One year, when my oldest son was in elementary school and before we started sending him to a Christian school, I kept him home from school because of the Halloween celebration his class was having.

Both Polly and I have many fond memories of trick-or-treating when we were children, but I thought our parents were ignorant of the real origin of Halloween, and this is why they let us go trick-or-treating. As I look back on it now, I suspect Polly thought I was crazy about Halloween. I  recently asked her if she really believed like I did about Halloween. She said, uh, No. 🙂 Why, then, didn’t she say anything? Simple. She was a dutiful wife of an Evangelical pastor, a woman who was taught that her husband was the head of the home and had the final say on everything; and “everything” included Halloween and trick-or-treating.

My view on Halloween was similar to the view of Karl Payne who wrote the following at World Net Daily:

As a child growing up in a small town in Nebraska, Halloween was not viewed as a sinister day promoting demonism, spiritism, occultism, Satanism, hedonism, witches, zombies or an invitation to walk on the dark side with demons. It was a day to collect as much candy as possible. The routine was simple. I put on a clown suit that had been passed down through my brothers, grabbed an empty pillow case and filled it up with candy as quickly as possible as I systematically worked my way through the neighborhood. At a halfway mark, I stopped back at home, emptied my pillow case on the front room floor to be sorted later and headed back out to refill the bag a second time. The goal was to have more candy than any of my brothers by the end of the evening, and then see how much I could eat before my mom began rationing my daily consumption.

Times were innocent in the ’50s and early part of the ’60s. We never worried about razors in apples or poisoned pixie sticks. We walked for blocks without a fear or concern for our safety. Tricks, at the worst, were limited to throwing eggs or toilet paper and knocking over a pumpkin or two. And if that happened, it only occurred selectively because many of our parents knew each other, and getting caught could mean a scolding from your neighbor and then a spanking from your dad when you got home.

To make the observation that things have changed culturally in the 21st century from the post-war innocence experienced by many in this country is an understatement. Today we exist in the midst of the loss of innocence and the joy of age-appropriate discovery. Hedonism, in a context of amoral and ethical relativism, is celebrated and force fed from the womb to tomb through a media that more represents an ideological water cannon than a responsible public trust. The secularization of this once great country is complete. The only real question now is how far it will fall in its depravity before, if or when people in the public square turn their gaze up rather than in.

Today Halloween for many is a horror show providing an excuse for people to glorify the deviance and decadence they watch ad nauseam in movie theaters and on public and cable television screens seven days of the week. Everything is a game that can be reset and started over at the click of a mouse. It’s just harmless entertainment that can be enjoyed or ignored. If you don’t like it, don’t turn it on. Who are you to dictate what is right or wrong for others?

Why am I concerned about the way Halloween, the media and our current culture encourage the celebration and trivialization of spiritism, occultism, Satanism, hedonism, witches, zombies and walking on the dark side with demons? Because the supernatural world is real, and no one is immune to it regardless of their education or worldview. God is real. Angels are real. Satan is real. Demons are real. Real gladiators and real Christians died in the Colosseum and circus even though many Roman leaders and citizens just considered their destruction an evening of entertainment.

I have worked for over 30 years with men and women who have been demonized. I wrote a book entitled “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” published by WND Books, addressing the subject as clearly as I was capable of doing. Why? Because real people and real families are being attacked by real demons, and their conditions are largely ignored, often because the subject has been redefined or trivialized, even within religious circles.

I have witnessed the reality of demonic bondage hundreds and hundreds of times. I have also witnessed individuals being set free through deliverance from demonic bondage hundreds and hundreds of times. Christian missionaries who live in the midst of this reality have thanked me many times for writing this book. Religious academics as well as atheistic secularists are more inclined to ridicule or ignore the subject. Curious.

Ultimately, bondage and deliverance both represent choices. In my book I have attempted to outline how a Christian can move from bondage to deliverance in a clear, step-by-step fashion. The New Testament addresses the subject forthrightly, so why should we run from it?

It should not come as a surprise that a secular culture would either ignore this subject or make a celebration out of it. 1 Corinthians 2:14 clearly states that spiritual truth and supernatural realities, be it God or the devil, represent nonsense to a natural man. But it should come as a disgraceful surprise that some professing Christians are so fearful of this subject that they would prefer to cast their lot on this subject with the naturalist or secularists rather than with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the New Testament they study. Apparently, it is preferable to leave real human beings made in the image of God in bondage than face the possible ridicule of those whose ultimate loyalties are to time rather than eternity, to the creation rather than the Creator.

Naturalists redefining the subject do not change the reality of the subject. A holiday celebrating the subject, promoting it as nothing more than a day to collect candy, celebrate the dark side, or mock God, does not change the reality of the subject…

(Please see Jack Chick’s tract, The Devil’s Night to get a bird’s eye view of how some Christians view Halloween.)

chick tract halloween
Jack Chick Tract on Halloween

It was not until I left the ministry that I learned the REAL story behind Halloween and it’s pagan and religious roots. As with many things, I regret not allowing my children to go trick-or-treating. I regret not allowing them to enjoy the fun of Halloween or the wonder of a family Christmas.  I know there is nothing I can do about the past. I now immensely enjoy watching my grandchildren practice the evil, wicked, pagan, Satanic holiday of Halloween. I encourage them to sin with gusto . . . and bring Grandpa some candy when they are done making a sacrifice to Satan. Besides, my grandchildren have nothing to fear from Satan. My oldest grandson is a super-hero. Or he was until he became a grown-up teenager.

Someone will be sure to ask if I did alternative Halloween activities like Fall Festival Day, Trunk-or-Treat, or other alternatives to Halloween. I did not. I never believed in the replacement theory: that if we took something away from our children we had to replace it with something better or spiritual (The Evangelical Replacement Doctrine and The Replacement Doctrine: How Evangelicals Attempt to Co-opt the “World”).  I believed Christians were put on this earth to be a light in the darkness and we didn’t need replacements for things that were sinful.

How about you? Did you practice Halloween? Did your Fundamentalist parents allow you to go trick-or-treating? If they did, how did they deal with the origin of Halloween?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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21 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Monty

    I remember looking in my goody bag on Halloween night and seeing a Chick Tract. Man was I pissed!!! I hated them then, as a Christian and hate ’em today.

    • Avatar
      howitis

      Tracts? Seriously? And here I thought the biggest Halloween killjoy was the dentist in our neighborhood who handed out toothbrushes instead of candy when I was a kid.

      People who’d rather hand out tracts instead of treats shouldn’t bother handing out anything, period. Sheesh….

  2. Avatar
    William

    Oh this brings back memories! We had a normal Halloween until my folks bought into the satanic panic. After that we were made to hand out tracts. How embarrassing when our friends came around!

  3. Avatar
    khughes1963

    We were encouraged to celebrate Halloween, and never bought into the nonsense spread about the holiday. I do remember Chick Tracts from when I was a kid in the mid 1970s. The poisoned Pixy Stix stories have their origin in the 1974 murder of Tim O’Bryan, whose father Ronald poisoned several Pixy Stix tubes with cyanide. Ronald murdered his son for life insurance, and had handed other poisoned candy to other children, who fortunately didn’t eat them. O’Bryan was tried, convicted and executed for his son’s murder. Interestingly, O’Bryan was a born again Southern Baptist who sang a solo at his son’s funeral.

  4. Avatar
    Scott

    Don’t you mean ‘Reformation Day’.

    Yep was 100% ant–halloween for all the reasons you gave.
    It’s weird that Reformed xian celebrate any form of Easter or Christmas.
    Bit like their inconsistencies wrt the Lord’s Day and Sabbath.

    That’s what happens when that virus gets a hold of you!

  5. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    The first Halloween that I went trick-or-treating — maybe age 4 or so — I wore a plastic Cinderella mask. I hated, hated, hated the mask, and threw a tantrum about the whole process. The next year, Mom suggested I hand out candy rather than go trick-or-treating. Well, that worked… but what I didn’t realize was that by accepting that compromise for one year, I had given up any chance of trick-or-treating. Whenever I mentioned it, I was told that I hated it and that I was meant to hand out candy.

    Long into adulthood, I finally realized that the problem was that my mother’s back made it very difficult for her to walk around the neighborhood with me. Our neighborhood was not a place where children could safely walk alone to more than just the neighboring houses. Mom’s back also made it difficult for her to constantly be answering the door. Dad typically worked late, and didn’t get home in time. But I would have been a lot less resentful if my mother had been honest, and asked for my help in dealing with the holiday rather than pinning it on me.

  6. Avatar
    tom

    Our church in the 60’s really never addressed Halloween. It was fun back then, 3 or 4 of us in a group around the neighborhood and the neighbors were all pretty nice. Full size Snickers and 3 Musketeers ruled, word got out about people who gave apples and those houses were avoided. It was always cold, dark (daylight savings ended earlier then) and the the leaves would skitter across the streets and we’d rove the neighborhood. We had a fun lady and husband in the ‘hood and the wife would pretend to faint at the door frightened of the costumes. I’m thankful I lived them.

  7. Avatar
    Melody

    I remember the Chick Tracta well; they probably ruined a generation of children. I read these things when I was far too young and with all the creepy demons portrayed in them…. The stuff of nightmares… There was this one version where demons came in through the open bedroom window, so I hated sleeping with my window open, in case they came to visit me.

    We were allowed to participate in a (somewhat similar to) Halloween children’s holiday, called St. Martin’s day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Martin%27s_Day

    The focus was a little less on chasing away demons, although there it has gotten more of a Halloween feel in the last few years… Globalization for you 🙂 We didn’t have any Christmas trees either because they were pagan, although we did celebrate the holiday.

    My parents did believe in replacement theory so whenever we were not allowed to join in something at school or in the village for religious reasons, they’d take us to do something else fun. Although we did appreciate that, it still meant we were left out of the village fun, and had to explain (yet again) why we weren’t allowed to join to our friends, who were Christians too, yet far less strict. They would be offended because it made us look as if we were ‘better’ Christians somehow, whereas we as kids didn’t have any choice in the matter ourselves and were left wondering how it was possible that some Christians did get to have all this fun.

  8. Avatar
    Brian

    As in questioning miracles and other booga-booga in the Bible, we were expected to be stupid and just go along with Halloween while knowing that it had some blemishes because of The World. I am thankful that we were allowed to dress up as tramps and ghosts and go collecting sugars. My parents were real slackers when I hear your story, Bruce. You were a real asshole control freak of the first order. I am so thankful you finally found your way and became the Bruce we know here. Have you been able to talk with your kids about those days of prohibition and punishment? Have you sought an understanding or forgiveness for being a bully? Do any of your kids still practice some of your more toxic dances in their own lives now? (Just curious and please do not offer anything in response that you don’t feel like speaking of…)
    I very much admire your honesty and your willingness to listen to believers who know how wrong you are and pray for your revival from Satan;-)

  9. Avatar
    Troy

    It is interesting we tell kids not to take candy from strangers, and then there is a holiday where we take them out to take candy from strangers. My mom only took us to places she knew the people (small town so that worked she knew almost everyone) That said I like haloween, it really gives kids a chance to be creative with costumes and jack o’lanterns and it is too bad your kids missed out, but at least you were sticking with your principles as misguided as they were. I still like pumpkin carving and do one or two every year.
    I don’t think I ever got a Chick tract during TOT, but the dentist in town gave out toothbrushes and some gave out pennys though that never bothered me. I remember one lady gave out popcorn balls that were legendary. It is such a fun holiday and great fun for kids. While is is pagan (but then again Easter and Christmas are as well) with a focus on death and darkness it really isn’t all that Satanic.

  10. Avatar
    Ian

    It is interesting to note that the only verified, recorded account of poisoned candy was a father who gave it to his kids. He killed his boy and was executed for the crime.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Clark_O%27Bryan

    Here is info on the myths.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoned_candy_myths

    After Jack Chick and the Satanism craze in the 80’s, all of us IFB kids missed out on Halloween. Before that, I remember going out trick or treating and having a good time. Turns out that the people who started and propagated those myths were liars, or, at best, just wrong.

    • Avatar
      khughes1963

      Yes, Ronald Clark O’Bryan poisoned his son and would have poisoned his daughter and several neighborhood kids. He wanted the money and rather callously thought that poisoning his children was the best way to get it. His wife knew nothing about what Ronald intended, and she was horrified when she found out. She divorced him after his conviction. About Chick, he had a very talented cartoonist drawing the comic panels back in the 1970s, but the artist wasn’t able to fix the rather lame storylines.

    • Avatar
      Troy

      I was debating with my parents about the notion of “free range kids”, that is kids allowed to walk a couple of blocks to a playground near their house and back. This is something we did as kids and it is probably safer now because kids have cell phones and can always stay in touch. My mother was insistent that there are evil people out there who might possibly abduct them etc. I’m not buying it. Tons of kids pester strangers for free candy every October 31 and this is the only case.

  11. Avatar
    April G

    I celebrated Halloween growing up, some really fun memories. Unfortunately after I got sucked into the Calvinist Bible cult, I stopped celebrating Christmas, Easter and Halloween for 19 years. In time, I did have a replacement for Christmas for my children, I gave them New Years presents. Deep down I thought, what the hell is wrong with having some fun and anticipation in this life? I was breaking out of the box. finally escaped that group and my kids celebrated their first Halloween when they were 8 & 12 years old. I’ll never forget their first trick or treating and Halloween, the demons must have been with us because the night was absolutely beautiful! LOL I regret the lost holiday celebrations…glad we got out while our kids were relatively young. My daughter to this day loves to get dressed in costumes, CosPlay, Anime stuff. 😀 So much fear with the fundamentalists mindset. a demon around every corner. It’s ridiculous. 🙁

  12. Avatar
    missimontana

    The church I grew up in always celebrated Halloween, complete with haunted house and plenty of cake, candy, and punch. I don’t remember anyone condemning it.
    Oh, Chick Tracts! The only reading material absolutely forbidden in my childhood. My mom hated them, and bringing one home brought a scolding. And I’m glad of it.

  13. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    When I was a kid in the 70s and early 80s, I remember our church had Halloween parties for the kids. Those stopped sometime in the mid 80s. What I do vividly remember was the whole Satanic panic take your candy to the hospital to be x-rayed for razor blades. I also remember my mom throwing away the popcorn ball and candy apple that old Mrs M down the street used to make and give away on Halloween. I was so mad! But even though we knew Mrs M and she was the grandma of my friend Chris, nope, the news said you had to throw away those treats because of razor blades! So much panic!!!

    My brother got into charismatic Christianity a few years ago and declared all Halloween activities to be demonic and evil and wouldn’t let his kids participate anymore. Sad.

  14. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    As the dollar continues to be printed and people’s savngs thereby vanish, more and more bipeds seem willing to fall into the QAnon loopydom. They arm themselves against spirits and devils, keep more guns at the ready and idealize narcissistic liars like Trump for God’s President on earth.
    Informed people are horrified that others are so capable of sinking to a low low, righteous right wing, dulled and blunted, full of wild paranoid ideas. The deep state controls the weather! Such is the outcome in a land where patriots are taught from birth to worship the flag, the country, the God… The conspiracy folk are right about one thing: USA is undergoing foundational upheaval and new paradigms are in the works. Those interesting in building the earth, see what opportunities they can while fundamentalist Christians build bunkers and arm themselves for killing the world for peaceful Jesus. Old rip-off king Jim Bakker is still selling 5 gallon last-day buckets of ‘kraft dinner’ for big bucks…. the end is near! If you want to see coo-coo evil spirits at work watch revival TV? Halloween’s got nuthin’ on these guys!

  15. Avatar
    clubschadenfreude

    My brother and sister in law were this kind of idiot about Halloween. The youngest of their kids are almost out of high school so it isn’t so much an issue anymore.

    this is what cults do, eliminate any enjoyment of life.

  16. Avatar
    Nox

    I’m glad you changed your mind about Halloween, Bruce. A child’s joy is a beautiful thing. It lights up a world that can sometimes seem over-full with fear and darkness.

    Overindulgance (like stuffing your face with candy every day) takes the joy out of life, the same way ascetiscism (no candy ever) takes the joy out of life. Its wise to let the kiddos have a special, happy day with their fellow humans sometimes. Celebrations are important because they give them a happy moment to look forward to, help them connect to the people in their community in a positive way, and give them something to remember afterwards when times are tough.

    Like my father always said, ‘Everything in moderation, even moderation.’ Or, as I say to my kid, ‘The FIRST bite of candy is always the most delicious. That’s why we don’t stuff our faces with candy all the time: more first bites for us!’

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Bruce Gerencser