(The beautiful Idaho Falls Temple)
The Church does not celebrate, foster or promote Halloween. The practice started out as a religious observance of the Catholic Church. Halloween, or hallowed evening, is the day before All Saints Day. However, the observance of the holiday has degenerated, first into a festival mimicking spooks, or evil spirits.
Whilst the Church takes no “official stance” on Halloween that doesn’t mean that we should celebrate or take part in certain activities that have become apart of the Halloween festival. With the guidance of the Holy Ghost we are to also figure things out for ourselves.
The scriptures are quite clear and in Doctrine and Covenants we read:
And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you; (D&C 50:25)
Elder Quinten L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also gives us some great council regarding the Halloween celebrations:
“What counsel can I give you? First, you will face great pressure to act out of character–even to wear a mask–and become someone who doesn’t really reflect who you are or who you want to be.”
He then goes on to tell the tragic story of Joseph Smith being attacked by an angry mob with black-painted faces to hide their identity. They came into his home and stole him away as he was lying with his sick 11-month-old son. They beat him and threw tar on him, but the worst part was that his sick child had been exposed to the night air and died a few days later. Also, the people who killed Joseph Smith and his brother had painted faces to hide their identities.
Obviously, here he is not talking about wearing masks on Halloween, but as I read it, I understood why we’re asked not to at wear masks at church. When we hide our identities, when we become anonymous, it’s easier to do things we wouldn’t normally do if people knew who we were and were face to face. Does this mean people wearing masks on Halloween are going to tar and feather or murder people? Probably not, but they may do other things they normally wouldn’t.
Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles warned of such Halloween activities when he told young men and women, “A warning: there is a dark side to spiritual things. In a moment of curiosity or reckless bravado some teenagers have been tempted to toy with Satan worship. Don’t you ever do that! Don’t associate with those who do! You have no idea of the danger! Leave it alone! And there are other foolish games and activities that are on that dark side. Leave them alone!” (Ensign, May 1989, 54).
President James E. Faust, while a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, counseled Latter-day Saints to avoid becoming intrigued by Satan and his mysteries: “No good can come from getting close to evil. Like playing with fire, it is too easy to get burned: ‘The knowledge of sin tempteth to its commission.’ … The only safe course is to keep well distanced from him and any of his wicked activities or nefarious practices. The mischief of devil worship, sorcery, casting spells, witchcraft, voodooism, black magic, and all other forms of demonism should be avoided like the plague” (Ensign, Nov. 1987, 33).
So should LDS celebrate Halloween? The answer is obviously no. We all know that many stakes, wards and branches have activities on Halloween, but they not actually celebrating Halloween. What we as members need to stay away from on Halloween is not the ginormous amount of sugar intake (although if we are trying to live the Word of Wisdom we will try our best to limit our lolly consumption on Halloween), it is much more serious than that. We need to stay totally away from Satan Worship I.e Ouija Boards, fortune tellers, theatrical Satanic themes such as violent pranks etc.