Halloween a day celebrated around the world when people dress up in costumes, collect candy from neighbors and have parties, but do you ever take time to think about the origins of Halloween? Most people don’t think twice about participating in it saying “It’s all in fun” or “It’s not evil to me”, but is this so called hallow evening really so innocent? Are there ties to paganism and Satanism? Shall we as Jews, Christians and Muslims celebrate Halloween or should we have an alternative name for it like Harvest Festival? Before we get into those questions let’s take a closer look at the history of this night and how it all started.

What is Halloween?

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31st. On this night, children’s dress up in different costumes and go door to door asking for candies (also known as treat or tricking). Other activities that also take part in this custom are bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunting houses, playing prank on one another, watching horror films, and other Halloween related festivities. Pumpkins are carved out for Halloween with faces and homes are decorated with ghostly and other evil images.

The Origin of Halloween

Ancient Celtic Practices

The first Halloween event dates back to the time of the Celtics or ‘Celts’. They were a group of people occupying the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France about 2,000 years ago. The Celtic year began on November 1st with the festival of Samhain (sow-in). This day not only marked the end of summer and harvest, it signaled the beginning of cold, dark winter, which was often associated with death.

They believed that on New Year’s Eve, 31st October, the earth came in closest contact with the spirit world and that the ghosts of the dead returned to the earth on that night.

They also believed that the presence of these spirits facilitated the druids (their priest’s) in predicting the future, which served as a source of comfort for them during the long, dark winter. To commemorate the night, the Celts built large bonfires at which crops and animals were burnt as sacrifices to their deities. They wore costumes to these bonfires, consisting mostly of animal heads and skins, so that the roaming ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits and not harm them.

Roman Religious Rituals

By the year 43 AD, the Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. They ruled over these lands for a period of 400 years, during which two Roman festivals were combined with the festival of Samhain:

· Feralia: A day in late October when the Romans commemorated the passing of the dead.

· Day to honour Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. It is said that this explains the tradition of bobbing for apples, as the apple was the symbol of Pomona.


DRESSING UP IN COSTUMES: This was done so that the ‘spirits of the dead’ would not recognize people. It was also done by people imitating supernatural beings that were believed to roam the earth at that time.

JACK-O’-LANTERN: This started off as a legend associated with a man of Irish origin named Jack who supposedly enjoyed playing pranks on the Devil. The legend states that after his death, Jack did not go to Heaven or Hell and therefore, had to wonder the earth carrying a lantern, providing him with some light to see where he was going. Pumpkins that were hollowed out and had candles lit inside were symbolic of this legend. These pumpkins were also used to scare away evil spirits (that is why odd looking faces are carved into the pumpkins).

TRICK-OR-TREAT: The Celtics believed that the spirits thronged about the houses of the living, they were thus greeted with a feast. At the end of the feast, villagers disguised themselves as souls of the dead and paraded to the outskirts of their villages in order to lead the spirits away. This was done to avoid any calamities the dead might bring. Another way the villagers tried to appease the dead was by setting out bowls of fruit and other treats so the spirits would partake of them and leave them in peace.

Later when the belief in ghosts and spirits declined, youths dressed themselves as ghosts and the like as threat to play tricks on those who failed to be generous with treats (hence the phrase, ’trick or treat’, implying a demand for treats or else a certain consequence would have to be given).

BATS AND BLACK CATS: These animals were believed to communicate with the dead. It is also believed black cats were able to house the souls of witches.

Halloween Today

The present day Halloween is a combination of all these customs. Every year people spend billions of dollars on candy and costumes at this time of year. Big Research conducted a survey for the National Retail Federation in the United States, and found that over 50% of the consumers planned to buy a costume for Halloween in 2005, spending over $38 billion on average. In a world stricken with poverty and malnutrition in many unprivileged countries, this amount seems rather ridiculous to be spent on candy and costumes. Average consumer planned on spending $48.48 on merchandise. $18.07 was spent on sweets. In 2003, the major pumpkin producing states in America produces an estimated 805 million pounds of pumpkin, valued at $81 million.

United Nations World Food Program

· More than 800 million people go to bed without food every day.

· One child dies every 5 seconds in the world from hunger and other related diseases.

· Many devil worshippers and occult groups now ritualistically recognized Halloween as the Devil’s Day.

· Over 60% of costumes are sold to adults who become outrageous exhibitionists.

The Islamic Perspective

Imaan (faith) is the foundation of Islamic society, and Tawheed (the belief in the existence and Oneness of Allah) is the essence of this faith and the very core of Islam. The safeguarding of this Imaan, and of this pure Tawheed, is the primary objective of all Islamic teachings and legislation. In order to keep the Muslim society purified of all traces of shirk (associating partners with Allah) and remnants of error, a continuous war must be waged against all customs and practices which originate from societies’ ignorance of divine guidance, and in the errors of idol worship.

Halloween is a festival which glorifies magic, witchcraft, superstitions, belief in the occult and other false beliefs which completely go against the teachings of Islam. Celebrating such a festival means endorsing such beliefs and practices at the expense of our faith and identity. It is stated in the Quran that:

{We have sent the truth, but they indeed practice falsehood.} [Surah-Al Muminun: Ch-23: Ver-90]

Halloween is a celebration that rejoices in all things magical and evil. In the Quran Allah says of magic that it only harms and brings no benefit:

{And they followed what the Shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman, and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the Shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet these two taught no man until they had said, “Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever.” Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it any one except with Allah’s permission, and they learned what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know that he who bought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls, had they but known this.} [Surah-Al Baqara: Ch-2: Ver-102]

Also, the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) shows that we should not imitate non-Muslims:

{Whoever imitates a nation is one of them.} [Sunan Abu Dawood: Hadith-3512]

{The final hour will not come until my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit.} [Sahih Al Bukhari]

{You must keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs; cling to it firmly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misleading.} [Sahih Al Bukhari]

Muslims should heed this warning and refrain from copying or imitating the kuffar in their celebrations. Islam has strongly forbidden Muslims to follow the religious or social customs of the non-Muslims, and especially of the idol-worshippers or those who worship the devil. The Prophet (pbuh) said:

{By Him in Whose hands is my life, you are ordered to enjoin good and forbid evil, or else Allah will certainly afflict you with torments. Thereafter, even your du’a (supplications) will not be accepted.} [Jami Al Tirmidhi]

{Every innovation (in our religion) is misguidance, even if the people regard it as something good.} [Ad Daarimi]

{When the people see a person committing a wrong, but do not seize his hand to restrain him or her from the deed, it is likely that Allah will punish them both.} [Sunan Abu Dawood, Jami Al Tirmidhi, Sunan Al Sughra (Nasai)]

The Judeo-Christian Perspective

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1st as All-Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is believed today that this was an attempt to replace the Celtic festival of Samhain with a similar yet church-sanctioned holiday.

All-Saints’ Day was also known as All-Hallows or All-Hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All-Saints’ Day). The night preceding it became known as All-Hallows Eve, and eventually, Halloween. In A.D. 1000, the church designated November 2nd All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. Poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called ‘soul cakes’ in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.

So we see from the history alone this isn’t some innocent celebration involving children getting candy. “Oh but that was so long ago, we don’t celebrate it like how they did” you might say. Let me read to you a quote by Anton LaVey (A Satanist) from his book:

[After one’s own birthday, the two major satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night) and Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve).] [The Satanic Bible]

In case that didn’t sink in, Satanism conceders this one of their top holidays do you still want to be part of it?

The word Halloween does not appear in the Bible at all. The Bible says that:

[Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.] [Jeremiah: Ch-10: Ver-2]

[Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God] [3 John: Ch-1: Ver-11]

[Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?] [2 Corinthians: Ch-6: Ver-14]

Halloween is filled with darkness from symbols of death, ghosts, devils and witches. We should not want to have anything to do with this. God wants us to be separate.

[Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.] [2 Corinthians: Ch-6: Ver-17]

The Lord has warned us not to play around with these ocultic ways.

[When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 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 the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.] [Deuteronomy: Ch-18: Ver-9-14]

Now should we have an alternative for this day like “Harvest Festivals”? Alternative, however, implies substitute. It assumes our children need something to take the place of Halloween, since they won’t be participating in the secular and pagan celebrations. It suggests our children are missing out on something, which they are not. Rather teach your children:

[Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.] [1 John: Ch-2: Ver-15]

Teach your children the truth about Halloween and its origins. You might think that you’re doing some good by having your own alternative party, but why do you need a substitute at all and especially on this specific night? By doing so you are still keeping this satanic tradition alive not transforming it.

[Abstain from all appearance of evil.] [1 Thessalonians: Ch-5: Ver-22]

The world should see Christians as being completely against this satanic day. We should not celebrate this day and be against anything that resembles it. Changing the name of the day to ‘Harvest Festival’ doesn’t change what this day truly is and gives the wrong impression to others. Shall we try to Christianize other pagan days to fit in with the world? No. We should cast them away as it is written:

[The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.] [Romans: Ch-13: Ver-12]

Remember, we are in a war. Will you fight? Or shall we just make up alternatives to the worlds wickedness.

[Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.] [Ephesians: Ch-6: Ver-11-13]

As A Muslim What Should I Do?

· Educate yourself and others about the reality of Halloween.

· Refrain from belief in any of the superstitions of Halloween.

· Refrain from supporting the customs of Halloween financially by not purchasing costumes, Decorations and Halloween candies.

· Refrain from participating in any of the rituals of Halloween, including trick of treating, Halloween parties, etc. This includes handing out treats to other children as well. Instead, keep the porch lights off and do not open the door.

· Create awareness among Muslims by sharing the reality of Halloween with them.

· Contact your child’s school principle and let them know about Islam’s beliefs and that your child will not participate in Halloween related festivities.

· Staying home from school that day can help the child avoid hard feelings.


Islam propagates the idea of conscious living, and upon the advent of Islam, it served to cleanse ignorant and superstitious practices. Muslims have been ordered to work for a purposeful, beneficial cause for mankind. Indulging in prehistoric and ignorant practices can only lead to frittering away ones life and thus making one an ultimate loser in the Hereafter.


· The World Book Encyclopedia. Copyright 1984, U.S.A. by World Book, Inc.

· Paterson, Lillie, “Halloween”. Garrard, 1963.

· http://www.agday.org/tc/tc-funfacts.html

· http://islam.about.com/library/weekly/aa103098.htm




  1. HEY THERE!! I enjoyed reading this article..I was wondering. Can BISES students submit as well? Although It may not look as proffesional as this.

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