Is There a Veil between the Living and the Dead?
Why Halloween Isn’t a Holy Day for Christians
Children skitter from house to house with parents happily chattering with each other about their child’s choice of costume, vigilant for their safety. Churches host Trunk or Treat festivals to reduce the hazards of children getting tainted candy while hoping the families will eventually visit their church. Most adults fondly remember Halloween as a fun time to dress up in costumes of all sorts and go from door to door begging for sweet treats. But, if you ask them today what Halloween is, some will say the night before All Saint’s Day, while others don’t honestly know. So what is Halloween? Is there a thin veil between the living and the dead around October 31? What ought Christians consider when this time of year rolls around? How should we respond?
What is Halloween?
Pagan groups such as Wiccans, modern-day witches, and other similar groups believe that a veil exists between us and the spirit world. October 31, All Hallow’s Eve, is the thinnest and that the dead walk the earth, derived from ancient Druid beliefs (The Conversation). Many groups believe this and celebrate it. This progression from pagan Druid practices influences Halloween today.
Halloween, previously known as All Hallow’s Eve, is the day before All Saint’s Day, November 1. Catholics honor the Saints who have died and gone on to Heaven. The night before, October 31, was believed by the Druids to be a time when the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest, and the dead roam the earth seeking revenge for their deaths. So, people dressed up as ghosts, goblins, and other scary things to ward off evil spirits from doing mischievous deeds against them. They also carved pumpkins and turnips as grotesque faces to keep evil spirits at bay from their households. But can evil honestly drive evil away? (Holiday Insights)
Today, Halloween has morphed into a celebration of death, murder scenes, occult practices, and the grotesque. Recently, I passed by a house with “Help Me!” and handprints in red, as if these were smeared human blood. If we saw this scene any other time, we would call the police. Another was a scene in a store that of a werewolf realistically animated. A woman with her two-year-old child and sister stopped watching it when triggered by a motion sensor. The toddler cried and huddled into his mom, who tried to convince the child it was safe and even fun. Instead, her sister chastised her, “Stop! You’re scaring the **** out of him!” Do we try to normalize such things? I believe we do, desensitizing our children to death, murder, the occult, and more. How horrific!
What is the Thin Veil referred to by Wiccans, Witches, and Celtic Groups?
Wiccans and witches’ covens that exist today believe there is a thin veil between the living world and the dead, which the dead roam the earth. Spiritists and curious people conduct many séances during this time of year due to this belief (W Magazine). Teens and young adults often dabble with Ouija boards in October. Seances are used to communicate with the dead supposedly. Still, They can be used by the host to scare the participants. One woman I knew, as a teenager, said that her friends played with an Ouija board and received a disturbing message that frightened everyone, including the host. They threw the board into a campfire and heard screams coming from it as it burned. The occult is nothing to play with. But is there really a veil between the living and the dead that is the thinnest at Halloween?
I believe not, and here is why.
Although ghosts are referred to in the New Testament, there are no eyewitness accounts nor Jesus’s acknowledgment of ghosts’ roaming the earth. Instead, He illustrates life after death in His parable about Lazarus and the rich man. A great chasm between them separated them after death (Luke 16:19-31). Lazarus was with Abraham, while the rich man was tormented by relentless burning in Hades. The rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to relieve his suffering by dipping his finger in the water and putting it on the rich man’s tongue. Abraham told him it wasn’t possible; besides, the rich man did nothing to relieve Lazarus’ suffering in life. Then the rich man wanted to warn his family about being selfish, but Abraham told him that no one could go back from the dead to tell them. They should listen to the prophets instead. This parable helps us see that the dead don’t come back to wander around the land of the living.
There is one exception, at the moment Jesus gave up His spirit, that is, he died (Matthew 25:45-56). At that moment, the ground shook, and the dead faithful ones walked into town and were seen by many. The veil of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn in two–from top to bottom– giving us all direct access to God. What happened to the dead that came out of the tombs? It is understood that Jesus took them back with Him. All the dead are judged and allowed to go to New Jerusalem (Heaven) to spend eternity with God or to Hell, the second death (Matthew 25:46, Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15). Hebrews 9:27 says that we all die once, then stand before God in judgment. Nowhere does it say that we will roam around after death as disembodied spirits.
What really roams the earth? Satan and his demons. In Luke 10:17-20, Jesus says that He watched as Satan and the angels who followed him were cast out of Heaven. Our God is holy. Evil cannot remain in His presence. If there are any spirits causing mischief, they aren’t dead people. We are warned not to try contacting the dead (Leviticus 19:31, 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-11; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14). Those spirits who respond are demons. (Got Questions?)
There is no thin veil between the living and dead October 31, nor any other time, for that matter.
What Should Christians Consider during Halloween?
The times in which we live certainly cause us to re-examine the way Halloween is portrayed and celebrated. The good intentions of the ancient Catholic church by transliterating All Hallow’s Eve as part of the All Saints Day celebration isn’t the same today. But, do we allow our emotional attachment to nostalgic feelings of Halloween to override Scripture? I say not. Our emotions are deceptive. When we allow Scripture to direct our decisions and actions, we can see Halloween for what it truly is—a celebration of evil.
How Should We Respond?
There are several ways we can, and should, respond to the unholiness of Halloween. First, we can sort out the celebration of fall harvest from evil. We can also appreciate All Saints Day for what it was intended. Ditch the costumes of witches, etc. Instead, we can allow children to enjoy dressing up as what they want to be when they grow up, fun, clean characters, and other creative things like crayons, robots, etc. Finally, we can avoid the whole trick or treat scene by hosting Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treat at church. Decorate for the Fall season, and let Thanksgiving be the final hoorah of your Fall Festival time. Personally, I fast and pray for our country and our churches, including those under persecution worldwide, on October 31. On All Saints Day, November 1, take time as a family to thank God for Christian relatives and friends who’ve died and the influence they had on your lives as Christians. This time of remembrance will help your children appreciate these people who have helped shape their faith as well. Whatever you do, glorify and honor God in all that you do (1 Corinthians 10:31).
You certainly don’t have to be stuffy or a Halloween Scrooge. You can be a light in the darkness of Halloween. Some Christians give out Halloween tracts with treats on Beggars’ Night (afternoon in some communities). You can still carve or paint pumpkins. Many have taken to faith-based carvings, or silly faces, instead. Use the season wisely that people may be drawn to Christ through you.
Many blessings to you!
For Further Reading: