Halloween has mixed origins that are disputed and not clearly based on
historical facts. "Halloween" comes from the eve of all Hallows Day (or All
Saint's Day), which is November 1st. Although it occurs at a time of seasonal
change called by some "Samhain" (the Celtic name for October 31, pronounced
'sow-ain'), Halloween and Samhain have nothing in common and are not related.
Halloween in the United States is a commercial holiday that candy companies are very happy about. There are a lot of folklore tales and legends about some of the practices on Halloween, but little or no historical evidence to back those up.
Although some may choose to celebrate the darker side of what they consider Halloween to be, such as scary images; costumes of witches, ghosts, devils; horror movies; or other spooky material, one can choose not to do so.
Handing out candy, trick or treating, and carving pumpkins are not pagan activities. No matter what the tales are that supposedly give pagan origins to these -- and there is little evidence for those -- doing them is not a spiritual activity but a cultural and commercial one.
Halloween is one of the eight sacred or special days of celebration for many in the Pagan community. However, there is no evidence that any group uses this day as a day of sacrificing animals or people, and Christians therefore should not assume this nor believe wild stories about such practices, nor should Christians spread such stories. Christians need to remember the commandment about not bearing false witness. Pagan holidays are connected to the Pagans' reverence for nature and the seasonal changes; sometimes these beliefs incorporate and celebrate the stories of various pagan gods. And no matter what beliefs people hold, as Christians we are called on to respect all people because all men have been created in the image of God.
Christians should not buy into rumors that witches or Satanists are killing people or sacrificing them on this day. Christians should consider Halloween a good day to pray for those in the occult, that they would come to know the love and grace of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins through trusting Christ as the Savior who shed His blood on the cross for them. This is the message they need to hear in love.
As for trick-or-treating, that is up to the individual parent. Certainly, one hopes that Christians would not let their child dress up as a witch, demon, devil, ghost, or other figure that belongs to the world of death or the occult.
Churches can offer alternative celebrations, such as a harvest day, and invite the area children to come play games, have treats, and hear Bible stories.
Since Halloween is my birthday, I have a special concern for this day. It is ever a personal reminder to me of the passage of time, and a reminder of those in the occult who embrace darkness and need the Light of Christ.
Jesus read in the Temple these words from Isaiah 61: "'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'" (Luke 4:18-21; Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy).
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14).
What really matters is how Halloween is
viewed in the culture today and how it is observed. Although October
31st happens to be a pagan holiday, this does not mean the day is
inherently evil because a day cannot be evil. Every day is a gift from
"This is the day the Lord has made,
Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
There are different accounts of the origins of Halloween, and scant historical verification for much of what you may read. Again, origins do not matter as much as how it is celebrated now.
Those who choose not to participate in Halloween, if their reasons are based on facts and not myths, should follow that desire. Those who are okay with Halloween should follow their choice. And no one should be criticized for those choices.
What matters even more is the ongoing promotion throughout the year of the occult in books, movies, TV shows, and video games. So why focus so much on one day?