This is the outline of a sermon preached on the Pagan Origin of Halloween on 30th October 2005 in Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church.
Have we ever asked ourselves the question: where did this all come from?
An insight in the origin of halloween can easily be discovered when we remember that this festival is one of foremost important to the old pagan religion that sadly is still practised in society today. The Druids and those involved in witchcraft look upon the festival of Halloween as being of great importance.
The word ‘Halloween’ actually has its origins directly in the Roman Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of 'All Hallow Even'.
November 1st, ‘All Hollow Day’ (or ‘All Saints Day’), is a Roman Catholic day of observance in honour of dead saints that don't have a special day of their own.
Consider then the pagan origin of Halloween and its connections with ancient Ireland:
The legacy of Constantine the Great. Constantine was a Roman general who set his sights upon being the Roman emperor. In the war that raged to bring this about, he reportedly saw in a vision the shape of a cross in the sky accompanied by the words: by this sign conquer. He duly put the symbol of the cross on all his banners and shields and won the emperor’s throne. In 333 AD he decreed Christianity to be the official and preferred religion of the Empire.
Thousands of people who were never conquered entered the professing Church because it was now expedient and advantageous for them to do so. They brought with them their male gods and female goddesses. Sadly many Church leaders made no distinction between Christian and heathen practices, they just re-directed this devotion to the saints and Mary. Statutes and festivals once dedicated to these heathen deities now were employed and observed in what professed to be the Church of Jesus Christ.
The decree of the Pope. In the early part of the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated 1st November as All Saints' Day, a time to honour saints and martyrs. The day before would be known as 'All Saints' Even' later 'Hallowed eve' or 'Halloween'.
He ordered that the Pantheon, a pagan temple in Rome that had been dedicated to all the gods, should be converted into a Christian Church and the relics of saints be placed there.
Romish practice in Ireland. By the ninth century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. The pope attempted to replace the Celtic festival of remembering the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned 'holy day', or 'holiday', a day to honour dead ancestors. This festival was celebrated with bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. The Irish immigrants exported this festival across the world.
The pagan, Celtic, Druid festival of the dead. Halloween's origin dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The ancient Celts, celebrated this feast on 1st November. This was also their new year. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with death.
These Druids believed that on the night before the new year commenced, the boundary between the world of the living and the dead became blurred. They believed that on the night of 31st October the spirits of those who had died the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the incoming year. It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife. This spirits therefore were believed to roam the land seeking for bodies to possess for the coming year.
Their practices. In order to deter these departed spirits taking over their bodies they engaged in certain practices:
 They would light bonfires, dress up in ghoulish outfits and make ugly faces on pumpkin lanterns etc. This was to drive away the departed spirits. They believed that the departed spirits would not want to be around anything so gruesome and hideous.
 They would create disturbances to drive them away as well. This is where the playing of pranks upon others and their property as part of celebrating Halloween has come from.
 Trick or treat. The people would leave out food, hoping that this would please the spirit world. If they did not leave a thing, then the spirits would play evil ‘tricks’ on the living in that house. If this was not obtained at the chosen homes, then a hexagram was painted on the door in blood calling upon the spirits to cause all kinds of evil to fall on the home.
These practices have since been incorporated into Romanism and in many lives there is a complete unawareness of their pagan origin.
Even when he wanted to warn his brothers of the terrors of hell and have them avoid coming to that awful place, there would be no messenger from beyond the grave.
Communication from the spirit world. Not only is there no movement of people, there is no communication between the dead and those alive on the earth. Sadly more and more this is something that is believed and practised. However, there can be no communications from those who have gone out into eternity. There is a great gulf fixed.