The Orthodox Pages






























Question 217

Should we celebrate Halloween or is it demonic?  


Answer to Question 217


The Orthodox Church celebrates All Saints Day on the Sunday after Pentecost, but the Roman Catholic Church and the west celebrate this feast on the fixed date of 1st November. In older times this was referred to as the feast of All Hallows and the evening before was All Hallows Eve which is what Halloween literally means. Thus the origins of Halloween is purely Christian in character and doesn’t have its roots in paganism and Satanism as many believe.  If this feast was observed as purely Christian then there wouldn’t be any problem with children dressing up and having a bit of fun, but sadly it is no longer just a feast to celebrate All-Saints and in fact those who celebrate Halloween do not celebrate it as a religious holiday. 


In the 1960’s fundamentalist Protestants who were opposed to the Roman Catholic feast of All Saints, introduced the idea that the holiday originated from a Celtic pagan God and that practices like trick or treating were originally established out of fear to appease dead spirits, which were really demons. They would hysterically say: "Those who oppose Christ are known to organize on Halloween to observe satanic rituals, to cast spells, to oppose churches and families, to perform sacrilegious acts, and to even offer blood sacrifices to Satan." It didn't help at the time that through Hollywood, 19th century monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein from Gothic literature were gaining in popularity and they became established costumes for children.


In the late 1960's Anton LaVey, the founder of existential Satanism and the Church of Satan in San Francisco, took advantage of this urban myth among fundamentalist Christians, whom he most wanted to provoke, and established Halloween as one of the major holidays of the Church of Satan.   


In just a few decades Halloween changed from a Christian feast to become an adopted Satanic feast so it is no longer just a bit of fun. If it is then why is so much emphasis placed on scary costumes and the need to be frightening?  Since the 60’s Christians have generally viewed Halloween as pagan and satanic. What they have unintentionally done is to basically hand over the holiday to take on more of a pagan and satanic character, which it did not generally have prior to this time.


This is an unfortunate lesson in what happens when the Church demonizes rather than sanctifies. Christians opened the door to the devil, and the devil has taken every advantage.  Of course this only concerns the Catholic Church, the Church of England and other Protestant churches. The Orthodox Church has never entertained the Halloween holiday, why should she when she has her own date of celebrating the feast of All Saints. 


But as Greeks we do have our own version of Halloween when little demons come out to play, on the eve of the feast of Theophany 6th January where it is believed that kalikanjari come to annoy people and the only way to get rid of them is to throw them xerotiana, but this is just a folklore custom and nothing to do with the church.