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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I learned so much- Great Ideas
Wow! Forget about Halloween Alternatives. We all ought to be celebrating the "original" intent of what turns out to be a Church holiday-like the original church. I'm excited about using this season as a way to pass on the most important parts of our Christian faith to our kids-and I don't have to feel guilty. I never knew Halloween and All Saints Day was like the...
Published on October 11, 2004 by bk

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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Intentions - Bad Message! Consider this ....
I will start off by saying that I love Focus on the Family and much of their material, the ministry and the work that they do. Praise the Lord for how He works through Focus on the Family!

With that being said, I really believe that this author/book's message has the best of intentions - to try to take a very lost, misguided and pagan day of Halloween, and...
Published on January 2, 2010 by BeautifulNBlessed


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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I learned so much- Great Ideas, October 11, 2004
This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
Wow! Forget about Halloween Alternatives. We all ought to be celebrating the "original" intent of what turns out to be a Church holiday-like the original church. I'm excited about using this season as a way to pass on the most important parts of our Christian faith to our kids-and I don't have to feel guilty. I never knew Halloween and All Saints Day was like the Christian's Memorial Day. The authors show from documented history that it was intened to be a time to remember faithful Christians from the past and then imitate the way they loved and served Jesus. I never knew what to make of all the occult info going around about the season, but now I know what is true and what is rumor and myth. I'm not of afraid of Halloween any more.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horray for Focus on the Family, October 11, 2004
This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
Truth really is a liberator!! I read the book. Looked at the sources quoted and am thrilled to know what is true about Halloween. The book relies heavily on the work of church historian Phillip Schaff and is very thorough. It clearly points out that before there was a "Protestant" church and a "Catholic" church, there was The Church...it is this church that all Christian denominations have in common that created Christmas, Easter, All Saints Day and Halloween. The last two, the book clearly proves, as days to commemorate (not worship) faith heroes of the past who helped the church of Jesus survive the worst years of persecution from the Roman government. They show how it got muddled up and lost its true intent and then give lots of wonderful and creative ideas that can help any person or family redeem the season as it was intended -even while engaging the culture in a way that can help the lost know that Jesus is worthy of living and dying for. Families will love the fun side, everyone will love the soundness of the its doctrine and the world around us who will see Christians who find joy in Christ may be drawn to what we have...even through Halloween! I am ready to reclaim the season. Thanks Focus on the Family!!!
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars helpful, October 11, 2004
This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
These authors know what it is like to be a mom struggling to make a wise faith filled choice about Halloween. The information in the book is helpful in getting the truth straight and in helping know how to apply what is true to a God-honoring and fun experience for my family. It was serious, documented, actually funny and very creative.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never knew Halloween was a church holiday!, September 16, 2004
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jonni (Nacogdoches, TX, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
I didn't know Halloween was a church holiday. We have struggled with what to do for years because we wanted to honor God -even if that meant giving up a night of fun. What an eye opener to find out that Halloween has a great spiritual heritage. Even the name "Halloween" means "eve of the holy ones." The book descirbes how the holiday came about and why -and provides documented proof from respected historians. It debunkes all the "occult rumors" that we have all been scared by for years. Instead is shares how early chuch martyres were the inspiration for the day set aside to remember thier faith and sacrifices. The best part is that most of the book then give creative ways to celeberate and have fun with Halloween all centered around the heart of honoring those who has stood firm in their faith. In this case, the truth really does set you free...free from feeling guilty about celebrating a day that the church began. Halloween will never be the same for us!
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Intentions - Bad Message! Consider this ...., January 2, 2010
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This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
I will start off by saying that I love Focus on the Family and much of their material, the ministry and the work that they do. Praise the Lord for how He works through Focus on the Family!

With that being said, I really believe that this author/book's message has the best of intentions - to try to take a very lost, misguided and pagan day of Halloween, and make something godly of it. To try to turn the pagan festivities of Halloween into more Christian friendly ones. Unfortunately, this is where the book fails, and why I believe that SO many Christians today struggle with the whole "what to do on Halloween?" dilemma.

I agree with both sides of the reviews here to certain extents. For example, I agree with the other posts about the book giving creative suggestions and more Christian friendly alternatives, and how frustrating "Halloween" can be to a Christian and the whole dilemma of whether to partake in it and if so, to what extent and how? So I totally understand that and think the author/book's message is delivered with good intentions.

Yet, then there is the other side of it. The posts about the origins of Halloween (which are true) and how this book tries to take Pagan Festivities and make them fit into the Christian's walk. Consider, if there is a show on tv that dishonors the Lord and promotes witchcraft (and there are many), do we participate in the show and watch it with the purpose of making it fit into our Christian walk by trying our best to only watch the non-offensive parts and ignore the ungodly ones, and is that even possible. The problem here, with the book (and with our society in general) is that instead of offending pagans who don't know the Lord, shunning the evil for what it is, and speaking the truth in love as the Bible calls us to with the sole purpose of ministering to the lost with both word and deed so that they may see God's different "set-apart" way; we instead try to water down ungodliness and in turn are complacent which causes the pagan world to feel no need to change because there is no exclusion or accountability.

God's word calls us to shun evil (prov 3:7. prov 14:6). The book does not do this, it tries with the best of intentions to make a way for the same festivities, yet this time for the godly purposes. But the sad truth is that unfortunately that just is not what tends to happen. What happens (like in our lives and many Christians we know who struggle with the same issues as we do about Halloween); the church celebration, such as some of the suggestions in this book, is really essentially no different than the pagan one (in enough ways that you are left struggling with all the same concerns and influences, just inside of a church instead of out on a street with trick or treaters). So many "Harvest Celebrations" at churches we have known, we ended up deciding to avois for all the same reasons, scary costumes (even though they encourage people not to let their kids dress in scary ones), a big candy fest, no focus on the Lord (or barely any, not enough anyways).

That is because, like with this book, as in real life, you can't take a Pagan Night, and turn it into a God Honoring one only by changing some things. What you need to do is speak the truth about the origins of Halloween, why it is ungodly and to be shunned, and shun Halloween, and then ... then you can REPLACE it with something totally godly that has godly roots and not allow the Pagan parts of Halloween to come into that. This book fails to shun Halloween for what it is, and while it has creative suggestions on how to make Halloween godly .. sorry, you can't make Halloween godly. You can't redeem Halloween, you can shun it and celebrate God instead (below I share an example of that).

I was hoping that this book would do that but indeed it does not which perhaps make it's name quite suitable, "Redeeming Halloween". The book fails to "Redeem" what should be shunned. I was hoping the book would educate about the origins and set itself apart by encouraging the Christian to set themself apart. For example, the origin or pumpkin carving. They did that because they believed that demonic evil spirits roamed around on Halloween night to kill children/people. So they partook in rituals and sacrifices to in belief/hope that it would ward off and "satisfy" the spirits enough. One of these rituals was carving scary faces in the pumpkin, and then placing a candle (in which the wax of the candle was literally made from the fat of sacrificed children!!!) and the candle was then lit and left outside the home. This was a done in hopes that the one sacrificed child (now a candle!!) would be enough to satisfy the evil spirit in hopes to save more children. That's just one part of it. How horrific to think this is just unknown to most, and we carve pumpkins for fun (and even though we don't do it in that way) ... that some of that tradition is carried on because people long ago did not speak the truth about what it meant and trying to "redeem it to make it less evil" .... sickening really. God wants the truth know so it can be shunned! When I learned this, I did not want my children partaking in carving any kind of faces in pumpkins and wanted to educate them on why we "shun" that.

Last but not least (thanks for reading this far by the way :), there are ways you can lovingly shun Halloween and it's pagan origins and yet make a God-honoring, God-focused, really fun celebration for your child. I was so hoping this is what this book was going to do, but it does not sadly because the "shun" part is missing altogether. We change the focus completely by celebrating The Reformation (Martin Luther and Reformers) and this year our church used the most amazing full-program guide / curriculum from a wonderful company Doorposts. I was hoping Focus on the Family, in this book would point people to ministries and solutions like that for doing a Reformation Party and just axing the Halloween thing altogether.

Hope that helps. God Bless.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, October 10, 2009
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This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
I still have the last two chapters to read, but overall, it was very helpful. I feel like a burden has been lifted regarding Halloween and my family. There are several great suggestions to be able to minister on Halloween instead of turning off the lights and hiding ;) The chapter on some of the history of Christian martyrs and the moving of All Saint's Day to Nov. 1st was interesting, I didn't ever really understand where All Saint's Day came from before reading some of it in this book. Overall, it is definately a topic that needs to be covered in prayer and decided by your own family what the Lord wants you to do...and when our hearts want to do what is best in glorifying Him, I don't think it necessarily has to end up looking exactly the same as someone else. That is what I took away from this book.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is Hope for Halloween, September 28, 2004
This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
I am excited to give such a rich spiritual heritage to my children in a fun way as I obey Hebrews 13:7 "remember your leaders and imitate their faith"! I learned so much from this book. Thank you Focus on the Family!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Halloween and All Saint's Day, October 7, 2007
This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
Our family has been anti-Halloween for a long time feeling that something that appears evil, must BE evil. After this book, I felt liberated and motivated to search other legitimate resources and discover more of the fragmented history we have on this holiday and the one that preceded it. It's unfortunate that other reviewers claim this book did not recognize any pagan roots of what came to be Halloween, because it openly (although briefly) talked about the pagan roots of November 1 (AKA Samhain). It also gave light to the fact that there were pagan roots of other now-Christian holidays such as Christmas, which was placed on December 25th specifically to counteract a pagan holiday occurring at that time dealing with seasons (Winter Solstice). It's no secret that early Christians commonly took pagan holidays and claimed the date as their own--finding redeeming value in a day that otherwise would be used in non-Christian ways. In 741 A.D., All Saints' Day was moved from May 13th to November 1st for that very reason. Furthermore, as was the common Judeo-Christian practice, days were counted from sunset to sunset. Therefore, the evening of October 31st was considered part of All Saint's Day, AKA All Hallow's Day (hallowed means sanctified or holy). All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) literally means "The Eve of the Holy Ones." Keep in mind that the same harsh battle raging against Halloween has been fought in church history against other Christian holidays like Christmas (which also originated from a pagan holiday).

If you read this book, you'll discover that the brief history chapter is definitely not the focus of the book. It's about boldly enjoying Halloween by attempting to celebrate it as our early Christian ancestors hoped we would. We can start by learning more about past saints/martyrs throughout history. In addition, there were numerous ideas and ways of using this holiday to meet and greet neighbors and friends who are out celebrating the holiday. I hadn't considered how my generosity and openness on Halloween night might change and deepen hundreds of relationships I have with other townspeople. As the book asks, "What other night of the year will half of your town come knocking on your door?" Many ideas and positive experiences were shared that could be easily implemented in our home and in our church. Even dressing up and trick-or-treating was given new meaning simply in the examination of the characters we choose and how they relate to us as believers.

My only criticisms of this book might be the limited sources provided for those who want to search more deeply into the history of November 1st celebrations. However, that being said, the authors did document their use of Philip Schaff's early church history writings for their historical information. Schaff was a well-known church historian from the 1800s whom many scholars have referred to for early Christian historical and cultural information.

For those who are confused by mixed reviews, I would definitely take the time to read the entire book before making any judgment of what is and isn't in the book. In addition, take the opportunity to study the facts and evidence (both in this book and OTHER legitimate historical accounts) before making a decision for your family. Sometimes it's easier to run from something that scares us than to dive into the full truth of it and find redeeming value. It's liberating to re-discover the obvious--that there is nothing inherently evil in ANY day of the year despite its abuse by the world. WE make of it what we will by being who we always are. With a little education and a paradigm shift, it IS possible to redeem Halloween. Despite the gory (mostly Western) commercialism of present-day Halloween, I truly believe that all things really can work together for the good of those who love the Lord. This holiday will now hold a much different meaning in my life and the life of my growing family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "FOCUS ON THE FAMILY" BOOK THAT SUPPORTS HALLOWEEN, October 30, 2012
This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
Kim Weir is a popular columnist and speaker, and Pam McCune is a teacher and speaker with Campus Crusade for Christ (or "Cru," as it's now known); they also wrote Redeeming the Season: Simple Ideas for a Memorable and Meaningful Christmas (Focus on the Family Resources).

They note in the Introduction to this 2002 book, "Instead of a holiday, Halloween has become the albatross around our necks. As parents, we want to remain faithful to God's call and not violate our consciences, but we also want to avoid being fanatics who hide from reality... We're excited to share what we've discovered on our emotional roller-coaster ride through Halloween. It's our hope that our experiences and this book will provide you with the facts, ideas, and inspiration that will help you make the best choices for your family. Together we will discover the redeeming origins of Halloween and answer that elusive question, 'Can I really celebrate without selling out?'" (Pg. 2)

They record, "As the church stepped into a new position of worldly honor, these martyrs were officially recognized. Special days were set aside to remember the individuals who had suffered and died for the love of their Savior. The list, though, was too long. There were not enough days on the calendar. Eventually one day was set aside for remembrance. In A.D. 610, the church dedicated May 13 as All Saints' Day... Then in A.D. 741, All Hallows... found a new home on the calendar. At that time there were concerns about the growing popularity of a pagan festival held on November 1, known as Samhain... To counteract this, the church turned to a previously successful strategy of claiming the date as their own... Samhain ... was replaced by All Saints' Day." (Pg. 15)

They note that "[Stories] describe a tradition called 'mumming' where masqueraders went door-to-door for treats and performed simple plays in return for food and drinks. One story holds that the tricking element began in Ireland, on what became known as 'mischief night.' People would wander the town dressed in costumes, tipping over outhouses, unhinging fence gates, and engaging in pranks... When a large population of Irish immigrants came to America in the mid-1800s, they brought the tradition of mischief night with them... By the 1920s, it had escalated into real destruction of homes and businesses. Neighborhood committees ... began offering alternative ideas for the evening. To bring back the original fun of masqueraders going door-to-door, parents encouraged 'good' children to dress up and visit shops and homes to receive treats." (Pg. 26)

They also point out, "The day Luther is said to have posted his [95] theses was October 31, 1517, Halloween Day... Reformation Day is a celebration of the rediscovery of truth and an opportunity for Christians to thank God for the chance to lead lives of faith instead of fear. How appropriate that Luther would choose Halloween---the day of commemorating those who died for the very truths he rediscovered---to make his proclamation." (Pg. 134-136)

This book is perhaps the best one for Christians looking for justification of participation in the Halloween celebration for their families.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A false start, March 1, 2013
This review is from: Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating without Selling Out (Holiday Series) (Paperback)
I read this book in conjunction with some ongoing research I am doing regarding the supposed pagan origins and associations of Christmas and Easter. I have no qualms about celebrating either Christmas or Easter (but I've never have any family or church worth celebrating either one with). It seems that claims of their paganism have been made without much, if any, real documentary, Biblical or archaeological evidence. Their paganism is much exaggerated if it exists at all, and a holiday need not be ordained by Holy Scripture to be celebrated as some claim (Christ celebrated the non-Biblical Jewish holiday of Hanukah in John 10:22).

Halloween, however, seems to be somewhere in between. Claims made for the pagan origins of Halloween seem to be just as faulty, but there is no denying the satanic influences that Halloween now has.

Now for Redeeming Halloween:

According to the book's cover the two authors are preachers, not historians. And it shows. For the record I have been studying history on my own for well over 35 years and my bachelor's degree in biology comes with 40 credit hours in history. I know more history and I know more about the historian's profession than these authors do.

Rome never ruled all of the known world as the authors claim. China was well known to the Romans and was never part of the Roman Empire. The same is true for modern day India which Roman merchants had to pass through on their way to the rich trade goods of China. The authors' conclusions here are indicative of their incompetence to analyze sources of historical information.

By the start of the Middle Ages the number of saintly feast days had grown to the point that every day of the calendar year had at least one saint assigned to it. This lead the Churches (Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox) to move some of the saints from one calendar date to another; to re-assign traditions from one saint to another and to drop some saints from the calendar altogether. And while this may lend credence to All Saints Day being used as a catch-all for saints that might otherwise be missed during the year, it could just as easily illustrate the folly of celebrating saints days altogether. The more saint days there are the less any single one stands out in the course of the year and the less holy it becomes.

Furthermore a document known as The Chronograph of 354, which records saintly feast days, tells us that December 25 was being used as Christmas Day at lest as far back as the year 336AD. And since The Chronograph does not offer any explanation for why December 25 was used as Christmas it is reasonable to believe both Christmas and the saints' days recorded in the Chronograph were celebrated even earlier than 336AD. So it is likely that saintly feast days (at least for non-purely Roman Catholic/Greek Orthodox saints), along with Christmas and Easter, were celebrated before the 313AD Edict of Milan, which is the earliest date anyone could reasonably accept as the origin of the Roman Catholic Church. So the concept of saints' days pre-date the Church that created All Saints Day and Halloween. This leaves Halloween as a Roman Catholic holiday that Protestants and non-Roman Catholics would naturally reject and shun.

The authors claim we are all part of God's universal church regardless of what our respective denominations are. This is a classic example of trying to be all things to all people- and make money by selling books in the process. This attitude has zero Biblical support. No denomination is totally compatible with any other in terms of doctrine, polity or practice. Each denomination is mutually exclusive of all others. If denominations were in any way compatible, denominations would not exist. The authors have made a mockery of God's Church and God's legitimate doctrine.

As is indicative of their status as non-historians the authors repeat various claims regarding the history of Halloween and expect the reader to accept them at face value. No sources are cited so anyone who has not already studied the issue and thus cannot recognize the claims as repetition of what has been claimed by other authors has no way to verify either their sources or their validity.

The authors claim that All Saints Day was moved from May 13 to November 1 in the year 741 to counter the popularity of the Celts' Samhain holiday. But, there is no known evidence to say Samhain was celebrated outside of the British Isles (Celtic populations also lived in Western Europe before the Romans took over). And by the year 741 the Anglo-Saxons had already conquered southern Britain and had marginalized the native Celts in the process. Furthermore these Celts had been thoroughly Romanized and converted to Christianity by the time the Anglo-Saxons began invading a good 300 years before 741.

There is also the problem that the Celts, before the Roman conquest of Britain and thus when the Celts were still pagan, had no written language. And the earliest written records we have for them come from sources, such as Julius Caesar, who were hostile to and often waging war against them. We simply do not know what the Celtic religion was or what rituals their Druid priests carried out. The authors repeat the claim that Samhain was some kind of Celtic festival of the dead. But in her book The Halloween Encyclopedia Lisa Morton claims that Samhain was simply the Celtic new year. The Celts had no god of the dead and thus no festival of the dead. But this story is one of the things the authors of Redeeming Halloween expect the reader to accept at face value and without question.

The origins, history and whatever purpose Halloween has is of no consequence in light of how the world now celebrates it. Even if you do accept Halloween as a legitimate Christian holiday, there is certainly no justification for celebrating it as the world celebrates it with Satanism, witches, demons and ghosts. So what is a Christian to do?

Ever since I got out of college I have wanted to establish a college prep K-12 school for Christian students. Lack of financial resources and then bad health has prevented me from doing this. But in the process of designing a school program I have had to consider the issue of calendar reform for the sake of having a longer school year in order to have a curriculum that would graduate students with the equivalent of an associate's degree. My thinking was to have a mix of religious, patriotic, secular and commercial holidays spread out more or less evenly during the calendar year. Holidays like Easter and Memorial Day would be assigned to a permanent date and one day would be dropped from the calendar (with one day being 48 hours long) so each year would start on the same day of the week and all holidays would fall on the same date and day of the week from year to year. This would make it easier to maintain a constant school calendar. But my calendar would drop Halloween in favor of a holiday I call (for lack of a better term) Homecoming. This day would be celebrated with a carnival/bazaar at school in the afternoon, and then when it got dark children would go door to door (with adult supervision) and pass out Bible tracts and invitations to attend church services. This would be comparable to trick-or-treating while people who wish to give out candy would decorate their houses with lights, which would be comparable to Jack-o-lanterns, as a signal that they have candy. I couldn't justify using regular Halloween decorations or having anyone dress up in costumes- the similarities to the Satanic Halloween would be too great. Hopefully, Christian owned businesses would drop Halloween and adopt Homecoming.

As a side note mistletoe is said to have been sacred to the Druids, so its use as Christmas decorations must somehow make Christmas a pagan holiday. But we have the same problem we have with Samhain. We don't know with any kind of certainty what the Celtic religion was. We don't really know if mistletoe was sacred to them or not. Furthermore, the earliest written record of mistletoe being used in England as a Christmas decoration dates only to the 15th or 16th century- over a thousand years after the Celts in Britain had converted to Christianity. An the use of mistletoe in the alleged pagan kissing balls is a time honored tradition- invented by the Victorians less than 200 years ago (according to British historian Ruth Goodman in the British TV program Victorian Farm Christmas Edition). So regardless of whether or not you celebrate Halloween, think twice before you beat yourself up over celebrating Christmas.
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