Halloween will bring in 10.14 billion this year for costumes, candy, decorations, and greeting cards.
Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020, with 65% planning to celebrate at an average spending of $102.74 per person.
How did this start?
Today Halloween is almost exclusively an American secular holiday, but many who celebrate have no concept of its religious origins or pagan heritage.
It can be traced back 2000 years ago, to the Celtic people of Europe and Britain who were pagan Druids. Their major celebrations were marked by the seasons.
The pagan Samhain festival (pronounced "sow" "en") celebrated the final harvest, death, and the onset of winter, for three days—October 31 to November 2. The Celts believed the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted during Samhain to allow the spirits of the dead to walk among the living—ghosts haunting the earth.
Around AD 600, Pope Boniface IV created All Saints’ Day, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of the martyrs. Pope Gregory III later moved this holiday to November 1 in an effort to give a Christian alternative to this pagan celebration.
The name "Halloween" comes from the All Saints Day celebration. All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance. "All Hallows Eve" was eventually contracted to "Hallow-e'en," which became "Halloween."
In the early 1900s, the migrating Irish and Scots brought Halloween traditions to the United States. Over time, Halloween catapulted into mainstream culture.
What should Christians do?
Christians should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion. The unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world lives in perpetual fear of death. It isn't just the experience of death, but rather what the Bible calls "a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume [God's] adversaries" (Hebrews 10:27).
Witches, ghosts, and evil spirits are not terrifying; God's wrath unleashed on the unforgiven sinner—now that is truly terrifying.
Christians should use Halloween and all that it brings to the imagination—death imagery, superstition, expressions of debauched revelry—as an opportunity to engage the unbelieving world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.