Halloween and Reformation Day
by Bob Burridge ©2023
On the evening of October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses at the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. He wanted those coming to worship on All Saints Day (All Hallows Day, November 1st) to reform what they believed and how they lived so they could better conform to what God said in the Bible. It was a challenge against some of the beliefs and practices that were being taught by the Catholic church. He posted them on the eve of All Hallows Day which was known as Hallows Eve, shortened to “Halloween”.
In medieval England some feared that demons would come on that evening to attack Christians in their homes to discourage them from worship on All Saints Day. They put out “treats” for the demons to entice them to leave them alone. It was believed that if they failed to put out treats the demons would do damage to their homes or properties. Some who didn’t believe demons would come would dress up as demons and collect the treats. If there were no treats “tricks” were done by damaging the family’s property. This practice came to be known as “Trick or Treating”. That practice is carried on today, but not having to do with a church holiday, and not just dressed as demons. Children dress up in costumes of their choice and go door to door hoping for treats. Thankfully not many “tricks” are done today if no one is home to give out treats.
Following the leadership of Martin Luther, we should be ready to test what we are taught by comparing it with what God tells us in the Bible, God’s Word. Acts 17:11, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (ESV)