Halloween Costumes: Dressing for the Devil?

By Shenalyn Page | Posted October 30, 2023

For this year’s spooky festivities, Americans are expected to spend about $12.2 billion. Less than half of that money will be spent on candy, pumpkins, and decorations. Most of it will be spent on costumes.

Halloween costumes are everywhere, lining the aisles of stores like Walmart and Target. Spirit Halloween stores have been operating across the United States and Canada since the first hint of fall, selling everything from the innocent to the ghoulish for trick-or-treaters to don. Meanwhile, creative personality types have been planning their disguises for months.

But what kind of costume should a Christian wear on Halloween?

A History of Costumes

People have a long history of dressing up for this dark holiday. Historians believe that the precursor to our modern Halloween is Samhain, a pagan Celtic festival in which people thought that the world of the gods became visible to humans. Villagers dressed in animal heads and skins so wandering spirits would not recognize them as human.

Early American Halloween costumes were generally homemade and often featured ghosts, goblins, and horrifying masks. “People in rural America really embraced [Halloween’s] pagan roots, and the idea of it as a dark occasion, centered around death,” says fashion historian Nancy Deihl, who directs New York University’s costume studies MA program. “They wore scary, frightening get-ups, which were made at home with whatever was on hand: sheets, makeup, improvised masks. Anonymity was a big part of the costumes,” she added. “The whole point of dressing up was to be completely in disguise.”

Being Someone Else

People rarely strive for complete anonymity in their Halloween costumes now, but one thing hasn’t changed—the desire to look and dress like someone else. 

Today, in addition to costumes related to death and horror, many people dress up as celebrities or movie characters. There are Barbie and Ken costumes, pop singer Taylor Swift look-alikes, and many more. Top costumes researched on Google include Barbie, Spiderman, Princess Peach, and Wednesday Addams, in addition to the traditional witches, ghosts, and skeletons. 

Costumes allow people to experiment with a new identity. Little boys wearing a simple cape become Superman, able to fly across the room (they think!). Little girls with flowers in their hair might just be a princess for the day. While such childish play seems relatively safe (except perhaps when a knee is bruised from a failed flight), other Halloween costumes hold a much darker danger.

Clothing for a Christian?

Halloween is a festival that celebrates death, fear, and evil. As such, it is the antithesis of God’s nature. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). 

When Christians outfit themselves in costumes that glorify witchcraft, death, and the occult, they are imitating the devil and his ways. By experimenting with identities tied to Satan’s activities in the world, they give him a dangerous inroad into their lives. 

There may have been a time when you could naively follow the world’s habits, but now “you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light … finding out what is acceptable to the Lord, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:8‒11).

How can Christians expose the works of darkness if they are dressing up for a holiday that celebrates darkness? As followers of Christ, we are called to dress in a different costume—the robe of His righteousness. 

The Christian’s Costume

In Jesus’ message to the last day church of Laodicea, He counsels His people to buy from Him “white garments, that [they] may be clothed, that the shame of [their] nakedness may not be revealed” (Revelation 3:18). A little later in Revelation, we learn exactly what these “white garments” represent: “The fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (19:8). 

As Christians, we are to dress up in actions of holiness and righteousness. There should be no hint of evil in our actions—including how we dress! Instead, our conduct and clothing should shout to the world that we are followers of God and filled with His light. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “[We] are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”

How are we to attain a character that honors God and reveals His goodness? You and I are utterly incapable of creating lives of heart-level holiness. Our most giving moments are tainted with selfishness. We are proud of our humility. Sinfulness permeates our characters. 

But thank God! The Bible assures us that the pure garments we so desperately need are a “gift” from “the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Said the prophet Isaiah, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

Our beloved Savior freely offers us His holy life in place of our sinful one. Yet you and I have a part to play if we are to join the “great multitude … standing … before the Lamb, clothed with white robes” (Revelation 7:9). We must cooperate with our Savior by spending time in His Word, asking Him for the grace to obey it wholeheartedly. Submitting to His transforming power is how we “[wash our] robes and [make] them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

Christ longs to give us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3). He wants to dress us “for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2). 

Now that’s a costume worth wearing this Halloween and all year long!

For a more in-depth look at the transformational clothing God offers us, read Pastor Doug’s article “The Armor of God.

Listen to Halloween Costumes: Dressing for the Devil? below
Shenalyn Page
Shenalyn Page is a homeschool mom and a writer for Amazing Facts International. She loves telling stories of God’s leading in people’s lives.

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