A time for children to dress up in costumes and go door-to-door shouting Trick or Treat as they beg for candy treats – threatening mischief if not appeased. A time for adults to decorate their house with spooky images, party the night away, dress in costumes and even to be excused for acting a little silly. Is Halloween harmless? Where does it come from? Have you ever delved into the history behind Halloween or All Hallows Eve as it is also called? Let’s find out a bit about this day of “fun”.

Most scholars believe that the observance is derived from ancient Celtic practices centered around Samhain [pronounced Sow-een], the pagan end of the year harvest festival which gave thanks to the pagan sun-god for the harvest at the end of summer and welcomed the new year. Samhain means “Hallow-tide” (the holiday), probably from roots meaning “summer’s end”.

[source: McBain’s Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language]

Encyclopedia Britannica says: Halloween, also called All Hallows’ Eve or All Hallows’ Evening, a holy or hallowed evening observed on October 31, the eve of All Saints’ Day. In modern times, it is the occasion for pranks and for children requesting treats or threatening tricks. In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic festival of Samhain eve was observed on October 31, at the end of summer. This date was also the eve of the new year in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits. The date was connected with the return of herds from pasture, and laws and land tenures were renewed. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.

The Celts believed in the pagan doctrine of an Immortal soul and Samhain was a time when the veil between the world of the Living and the world of the Dead became very thin and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished passing between the two worlds. The Celtic priests or Druids, pagan orders in Britain, Ireland and Gaul, generally performed their rituals by offering sacrifices, usually of animals, but sometimes of humans, in order to placate the gods; ensuring that the sun would return after the winter; and frightening away evil spirits.


To the Celtics, the bonfire represented the sun and was used to aid the white magic Druid in his fight with dark powers. The term bonfire or bane-fire comes from the words “bone fire,” literally meaning the bones of the sacrifices that were piled in a field with timber and set ablaze.

Samhain is a time for getting rid of weakness, as pagans once slaughtered weak animals, which were unlikely to survive the winter, and burnt them to their pagan gods as a burnt offering. The practice of burning humans was stopped around 1600, and an effigy or human-like figure was sometimes burned instead. This practice continues in some cults today.

When Catholicism began to spread through Europe in the third and fourth centuries the pagan temples were torn down, yet pagan worship never completely disappeared. The festival of Samhain remained a primary pagan festival. Belief in spirits may have waned, but many of the old Samhain traditions continued to be practiced especially by the children. Primarily in Ireland, children dressed as evil spirits went from house to house demanding a treat. If they received none, they performed an unwelcome trick.


Those who practiced fortune telling and divination believed that this was the night that they had the most success. They called upon dark spiritual forces to bless their efforts. One form of divination was to put apples in a tub and bob for them. [A variant was Snap Apple where the apple was suspended by a string instead.]

The current game dates back to when the Romans conquered Britain, bringing with them the apple tree, a representation of the goddess of fruit trees and fertility, Pomona. The combination of Pomona and the Celts’ belief that the pentagram was a fertility symbol began the origins of bobbing for apples. When an apple is sliced in half, the seeds form a pentagram like shape, and it is thought that the manifestation of such a symbol meant that the apple could be used to determine marriages during this time of year. From this belief comes the game bobbing for apples.

During the annual celebration, young unmarried people try to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string; the first person to bite into the apple would be the next one to be allowed to marry.

In some variations, a woman would peel the apple while gazing in a mirror by candlelight and throw the peeling over their shoulders and then quickly look around. They expected to see a vision or an apparition of the one they were to marry. Others expected to see the apple peel fall in the shape of the letter of the first initial of their prospective lover.


The history of the black cat as an evil symbol originates in ancient Babylonian and Hebrew mythology, which often portrayed them coiled up like another symbol of evil, the serpent. Is it any wonder, then, that the black cat should be associated with witchcraft as well?

The black cat was once thought of as a familiar of witches and some cultures believed that witches could change into cats. Some believed that witches could make this witch to cat transformation nine times, which may be the reason cats are still said to have nine lives.

Greek mythology also offers ancient evidence of the black cat’s association to evil. In Greek mythology a woman named Galenthias was changed into a cat and became a priestess at the temple of Hecate, the “Dark Mother”. Hecate was also known as the Mother of Witchcraft.

There are folk tales about black cats all around the world. The Celtic people believed the black cat was a reincarnated being capable of divining the future. Germans of the Middle Ages believed that a black cat was an omen for death if it jumped on the bed of an ill person. The Normans thought that if a black cat crossed your path in the moonlight, you were destined to die in an epidemic. The Chinese believed that black cats could foretell poverty and sickness. In Finland, the black cat was thought to carry dead souls to the next world. In India, to liberate a reincarnated soul, a black cat was thrown into a furnace.

Ignorance breeds superstition, and the superstition surrounding the black cat is nearly as rampant as the paganism of today.

Black cats, of themselves, are not evil, in fact being a creation of YAHUAH, they make good pets and do not deserve to be associated with this evil holiday.


The roots and history of witchcraft are varied through many cultures including the ancient Celtic people. Witches worshipped the creation more than the Creator. [cf Romans 1:25] They “respected and revered” (i.e. worshipped) the cycles of life and the Earth, including the phases of the moon, the changing seasons and birth and death.

The Witch is one of the more enduring symbols of Halloween, horror and folklore. Ugly and evil, they are shown flying on their broomsticks, or stirring their cauldrons. Witches were not always thought of as evil or ugly but looked upon to be healers or wise women of the pagan communities.

Witches today are sometimes mistakenly thought to be strictly with the Wiccan religion begun by Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s. However, not all witches are Wiccan (an old English word for witch)…. many do not feel bound to any religion at all. This pagan religion is an offshoot of the ancient Celtic witchcraft of Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Samhain [Halloween] was and is one of the more important pagan sabbats or seasonal holidays of the year that witches hold sacred. The ancients dressed up as animals (familiars) to trick the evil spirits and prevent them from harming the practitioner. Many types of modern witches claim this holiday as their day, taking part in activities such as ritual purification, divination, and contact with dead ancestors.

The Scripture clearly and unequivocally condemns witchcraft. Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Both Exodus and Deuteronomy have passages pertaining to YAHUAH’s displeasure with witches or “sorcerers”. An example would be that of King Saul and his visit to a necromancer (one who can speak with the dead) known as the “Witch of Endor” for assistance in communicating with the dead prophet Samuel. Saul succeeded, although he was told by Samuel that YAHUAH was displeased because Saul had sought council from the dead rather than trust in YAHUAH Himself.


It was a common practice for the Catholic Church to disguise pagan festivals with a veneer of Christianity. The Catholic Church would appease converts, both genuine and coerced, by allowing them to continue the pagan traditions of their ancestors. The dates were sometimes moved and the names of saints substituted

for pagan deities related to the non-Christian festivities. Halloween was one such pagan holiday hijacked by the Catholic Church.

In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints’ Day (All Hallow’s Day). It was first observed on May 13 for Catholics to remember their dead saints. The origin of the festival of All Saints celebrated in the West dates to the seventh century, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since.

Pope Gregory the Great decided to incorporate the Druids’ holiday into the church. Mixing the holy and profane, he made the proclamation: “They are no longer to sacrifice beasts to the devil, but they may kill them for food to the praise of G-d, and give thanks to the giver of all gifts for His bounty”.

In 834, Pope Gregory III moved All Saint’s Day from May 13 to Nov. 1 to replace the pagan festival of the dead and the pagan New Year celebrations. Oct. 31 thus became All Hallows Eve (‘hallows’ here means the ‘hallowed ones’ or ‘saints’). Sadly, many of the vain customs survived and were blended in with a veneer of Christianity.


In 1517, a Catholic monk named Martin Luther protested against the Catholic Churches selling of Indulgences which would buy forgiveness of sins for a deceased loved ones passage from the imaginary Purgatory into heaven. On October 31st, he nailed his 95 complaints against Catholicism to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, as he knew many Catholics would show up for All Hallows Eve services. This started what is known as The Protestant Reformation.

“… after the Reformation, Protestants rejected this [All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day] feast along with other important ones such as Christmas or Easter.” – Colliers Encyclopedia

In America, our forefathers shunned any such observances as Halloween and tended to favor only observances related to some purer form of Christianity. In the mid-1800s Irish immigrants mostly Catholic, brought to America the now-all-too- familiar Halloween customs of masquerade costumes, trick-or-treat, carved Jack-o-lanterns, etc.

(The Jack-o-lantern was originally a hollowed-out turnip but turnips were not as prevalent in America and the pumpkin was substituted. The lantern was believed, due to popular folklore, to contain the disembodied spirit of ‘Jack’ a trickster who duped the Devil; and thusly, couldn’t get into heaven or hell)

Origins of the Costume Party

As we have read, the ancient Celts disguised themselves in animal skins to ward off evil spirits (something that is common to ancient cultures all across the globe). Today, the frightful masks are now themselves celebrated – not as a device to discourage malevolent entities, but rather to attract attention from others in a sort of brief orgy of narcissism.

A modern costume party takes its origins
from the masquerade balls which started during the 15th century in Europe. By the 16th century Italian renaissance, masquerade balls became reveling public affairs with dancing and socializing, most often used to celebrate the overly indulgent celebration of the Venetian Carnevale [carnival].

Masquerade balls remained popular in other European countries throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. This was inspired by games held during the celebration, as guests tried to guess the identity behind the costume and the mask.

The eighteenth-century masquerade was inextricably linked to an erotic atmosphere. Issues of gender, sexuality and role-reversal were all tangled up within the confines of the ballroom [as they are at modern adult costume parties today]. The activity at masquerades included the touching and fondling of strangers, and propelled a highly sexual energy among guests. The donning of masks brought an inevitable sexual tension prevalent among masquerade-goers. The masquerade participant did not need to follow the usual restraints of everyday life.

Masks were particularly significant as aphrodisiacs: “conventional wisdom held that someone donning a mask, especially a woman, experienced an abrupt loss of sexual inhibition”. [Source: Castle, Terry. Masquerade and Civilization: the Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-Century English Culture and Fiction. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986.]

Since a mask provided detachment from identity, it provided a sort of detachment from traditional morality, as well. Prostitutes were common at masquerades, and contributed to the sexually charged atmosphere. Promiscuity among women at masquerades was common, even if the sexual activity was not taking place at the ball, it was certainly exacerbated by the atmosphere and the aura of the masquerade. [Source; Castle, Terry. Masquerade and Civilization: the Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-Century English Culture and Fiction. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986]

However, this concealment also led to the occurrence of murders during masquerade balls, where assassins took advantage of their hidden identities. The most popular and celebrated at that time was the death of King Gustav III of Sweden. Soon enough, novelists like Edgar Allan Poe, found the masquerade balls as good material for his short stories. The outlandish behavior and the colorful stories that emanated from these festivities made it interesting enough to inspire, literary settings, plays, operas and short stories.

It came to a point when certain groups of moral people formed an alliance to wage war against the holding of masquerade balls. They implored upon authorities to take certain measure against the holding of this traditional masquerade balls. It was fast becoming a great contributor to immorality in the society. This then signaled the waning desire to be a part of the revelries in the olden day style of a costume party. That is, until the Halloween party.


With the advent of modern corporations, holidays such as Halloween and Christmas have become big business. For major profits, candy manufacturers and costume-makers promote Halloween which may have altogether disappeared without their influence. Even Christians who worship the G-d have supported this unwholesome merchandising.

There is no doubt that Business has encouraged the growth of the Halloween tradition. It is now the 2nd most popular holiday, and one of the three top candy selling seasons. – [source: “What’s So ‘Hallowed’ About Halloween?” -Clayton D. Steep; p11]

Halloween is adored by practitioners of both Wicca and Satanism alike. The witches, of both white and black magic, hold the day in high esteem. Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, said: “Call it black, call it white, call it what you will, it’s all evil, and it all gets its power from the source of hell”. One cannot deny that the occult and Satanism’s influence today is strengthened by the observance of Halloween.

“After one’s own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween (or All Hallow’s Eve).” – The Satanic Bible by Anton Levey page 96, section on Religious Holidays.

But YAHUAH’s Holy Word, says: 1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of YAHUAH, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of YAHUAH’s table, and of the table of devils.

The Scriptures inform us that Satan is a real spirit being who is bent on preventing our ever becoming spirit beings (by accepting YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH as our Savior) by using any and every deception he can. Satan’s plan includes the widespread dabbling of people into the supernatural powers, including the occult, accompanied by a great revival of New Age spirit-ism.

Recently, especially in the last 20-30 years, the occult has moved into the mainstream of America – in books (such as the Harry Potter series which has become the greatest seller in England even outselling the Bible), television (such as the TV series Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Dracula, Grimm, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Secret Circle, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, etc. as well as a new onslaught of Psychic programs), movies (such as the Potter Series, Practical Magic, Bewitched, I married a Witch, Season of the Witch, The Craft, etc, etc), magazines (such as Circle, Sage Woman, New Witch, Pan-Gaia, as well as articles and ads in more general popular magazines), and video games (countless). Universities offer courses on witchcraft and magic – usually the so-called “white” variety or Wicca and grade schools teach spells and occult practices ·yet our children can’t pray to the Qodeshiym ELOHIYM in schools!

Halloween is, for many, a “crossover” involvement in which innocent games can lead to serious entanglement with real witches, neo-pagans, New Agers, and other occultists. A common pastime is the use of a Ouija board to attempt to contact ghosts or spirits that are believed to be roaming about. This can lead to serious consequences including demon possession. Demons have a vested interest in Halloween because it supports the occult, and it also offers novel and unexpected opportunities to control and influence people.

Forms of the occult can include mediums, channelers, clairvoyants, psychics, spiritists, diviners, mystics, gurus, shamans, psychical researchers, Yogis, psychic and holistic healers, astral travel, astrology, mysticism, Ouija boards, Tarot cards, contact with the dead, UFOs, and thousands of other practices which almost defy cataloging.

Occultism includes Satanism, New Age, astrology, Kabbalah, Gnosticism, theosophy, witchcraft and many forms of serious magic. It includes activities seeking the acquisition of “hidden” things-which are expressly forbidden by YAHUAH in the Scriptures.

Halloween is a festival based on fear (think about the “fun” of a haunted house). The Druids were power-hungry and desired to gain control over others for their own purposes. This is at the essence of “witchcraft” which literally means “manipulation.” In complete contrast, however, the Scriptures replace fear with love. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that the RUACH (Spirit) of YAHUAH has not given us a “spirit of fear”.

Why would the Christians desire to entangle themselves in any variety of fear at all? Does the Christian realize that fear, in its root, is a fear of death? The sting of death has been done away with in MASHIACH. When someone attends a “haunted house” or a “scary movie” they jump in fright because they are housed in mortal bodies that can experience pain and suffering (a foretaste of hell-fire?). They are scared to die, but receive a type of exhilaration from their “brush with death”. This is the result of a twisted and perverse fallen soul [person]. Why would anyone want to glorify fear, dying, and death? Why do they enjoy it? It is part of the curse and fall of man (cf. Genesis 3).


One might complain and say “My kids are just having fun and getting free candy! We are not worshipping evil forces or making G-d angry”. “Oh, we are going to hell because we let our kids dress up and say ‘trick or treat”?

A Catholic or other religionist may even assume they do honor G-d and saints that day with prayers for the dead. What does YAHUAH think?

Does YAHUAH say that it is alright to observe the pagan festivals such as Halloween even if we say we are honoring Him? Notice carefully what he said to the Yashr’e’liym (Israelites) before they entered the promised land:


Deuteronomy 12:29-32 When YAHUAH thy ELOHIYM shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their elohiyms, saying, How did these nations serve their elohiyms? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto YAHUAH thy ELOHIYM: for every abomination to YAHUAH, which he hateth, have they done unto their elohiyms; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their elohiyms. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto YAHUAH: and because of these abominations YAHUAH thy ELOHIYM doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with YAHUAH thy ELOHIYM. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, YAHUAH thy ELOHIYM hath not suffered thee so to do. [ Deuteronomy 18:10-14 ]

Doreen Irving, the former ruling witch of Western Europe and the British Isles, and also the mistress of the area’s high priest of Satan, who later became a Christian, said: “If Christian parents had any idea of what Halloween really is, they wouldn’t even mention the word around their children.” [source: Halloween: A Celebration of Devils (David N. Taylor) p5]

You might still say “Does it really matter”? “Does YAHUAH really care about such things”? “They seem so trivial”. Remember that YAHUAH is a Father who requires our willing obedience. Sin entered the world because of one man’s disobedience to YAHUAH over something to eat (a treat). [See Genesis 3]

Set-Apart people are to be a light to the world and not partake of things that smack of evil. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” [Ephesians 5:11] We should consider YAHUAH’s words and lean not to our own understanding.

A Believer and worshipper of the one true YAHUAH ELOHIYM should not practice holidays with pagan roots and trappings. If we love YAHUAH we show it by obeying Him. Reject Halloween and all pagan-originated holidays and practices.

The apostle Paul said Witchcraft is one of the acts of the sinful nature and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of YAHUAH but have their part in the Lake that burns with Fire. (See Galatians 5:16-21; see also Revelation 22:15).

How much ground should the Christian give the devil? Is there any room for compromise? No, there is none. The Christian should have a holy hatred of the devil and everything he represents. “Give no place to the devil”, (Eph. 4:27). Halloween represents all that the devil loves and propagates against the holiness of YAHUAH’s character. When Christians participate in occult festivals, they are ascribing glory to the devil, the g-d of this world.

Replacement Festival?

Some may ease their conscience by saying they are worshipping G-d at their “Christian Fall Festival” on the same date of Halloween. They say they can displace the pagan core by keeping the festival under different auspices. So … when has YAHUAH ever inaugurated this kind of worship? Can you take a pagan idol and claim its festivities are now Christian because you said so? Can you make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?

The Yisraelites (Israelites) tried that and utterly failed too. Remember when Moses’ brother Aaron made the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain top receiving the Law of YAHUAH?

Exodus 32:4-6 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy elohiyms, O Yisrael (Israel), which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to YAHUAH. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

“To morrow is a feast to YAHUAH”: This is an important verse. Aaron said this pagan idolatrous worship was now honoring YAHUAH, but was it? NO! Many religious leaders today claim to serve the true ELOHIYM while making evil seem good and serving a elohiym (g-d) made in their own image or, in merely serving themselves, they make themselves that elohiym. A false elohiym – a rival to the true YAHUAH ELOHIYM!

Why? Is it just because they desire to make their children happy and fit in with the neighbors? Christian parents should be teaching their children to hate worldliness, not chasing after it. “You adulterous generation, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity towards YAHUAH? Anyone who is a friend of the world is at enmity with YAHUAH” (James 4:4-5).


2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness

with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath MASHIACH with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of YAHUAH with idols? for ye are the temple of the living ELOHIYM; as YAHUAH hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their ELOHIYM, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith YAHUAH, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith YAHUAH Almighty.

Some reading this might say, “But, I am not a Christian”. Well, If that is true then please bear with this just a little longer. You have read this far and have little to lose by finishing what you started. Whatever your religious or irreligious background, the truth of the matter is that ‘The Truth’ came before any paganism or other deviation from the truth. There is only one absolute truth of where we come from and where we are going. Let YAHUAH be true and every man a liar.

YAHUAH’s Word as found in the Scriptures is for all mankind – not just the ones labeled as Christians. – YAHUAH wants all to come to the knowledge of truth.

All of us have common roots that go back to Noah and his family saved from the flood. Therefore all of us come from the first man Adam who was created to become an obedient, loving Son of YAHUAH. Adam disobeyed and disobedience became a way of life for us by choice. YAHUAH has wanted each of us to be reconciled ever since.

YAHUAH loves you, yes you! No matter what you have done in the past or how you have lived. He wants you to turn your heart to Him. He wants all of mankind to be saved. [I John 4:9-10; I Timothy 2:4, John 3:16-18]

YAHUAH sent His only Son, YAHUSHA HA’MASHIACH, to pay the death penalty required for our disobedience. He did this while we were yet undeserving sinners. He did this so you and I can be forgiven and receive eternal life as a gift of reconciliation. All it takes is for you to confess to him that you are a sinner and that you need to be forgiven by the precious blood of YAHUSHA HA’MASHIACH. Then start life anew as an obedient living Qodeshiym of YAHUAH.

[ II Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 14:12; Romans 10:9-13]

Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith YAHUAH: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.



About the author

Gera'el Toma

A highly esteemed elder in the faith of the Natsarim, the first century believers in Messiah Yahusha, and a treasured member of the Remnant House Team.

Gera'el Toma (Gerald Thomas) is an internationally recognized and respected teacher of the Holy Scriptures as originally written in the Hebrew language.

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Gera'el Toma

A highly esteemed elder in the faith of the Natsarim, the first century believers in Messiah Yahusha, and a treasured member of the Remnant House Team.

Gera'el Toma (Gerald Thomas) is an internationally recognized and respected teacher of the Holy Scriptures as originally written in the Hebrew language.

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