Just like Starbucks pumpkin spice flavored drinks, Charisma News annual scare article about Halloween seems to show up earlier every year. Fundagelicals are breaking out their tinfoil hats early this year and sending out classic warnings of satanic activity directly from the 1980s Satanic Panic. The annual warning of satanic activity during Halloween comes this year from . . . wait for it . . . cursed candy.

I’d gotten used to warning about keeping your black cats at home and stories about the pagan origins of “Halloween.” Cursed candy is a new one on for me. Kathy DeGraw, writing for Charisma News, warns us that believers should not participate in any way in the evil satanic holiday known as Halloween. She writes, “I am here to tell you there is no such thing as masking Halloween as a fall fest, church trunk or treat or evangelistic friendly event. You are still celebrating the devil’s holiday, Halloween, and the demonic realm knows it! You are acknowledging an evil holiday by participating in any form.”

OK, I get the whole participating in sin thing; I’ve heard similar arguments against Christmas and Easter. They both have their origins in paganism. However let’s remember, Christian has a long history of cultural appropriation and re-purposed pagan holidays and symbols all the time. If we got rid of everything in Christianity that had a connection to paganism, there wouldn’t be much left.

Kathy DeGraw takes “participating” to a new extreme. She claims, “Did you know Satanists, witches, warlocks and others who desire to destroy Christians curse the candy they hand out? The candy is then consumed by you or your children. In the demonic realm, when they give you an item of theirs, or they obtain an item of yours, their curse has power. There is a spiritual exchange that happens.”

This is very odd teaching indeed! She makes this wild assertion with no evidence whatsoever. First off, Satanists are not the same thing as witches and warlocks. Satanism and Wicca are two different religions. Does DeGraw have any evidence that anyone curses candy?  Is the invention of the “Fun-sized” bar a curse? I mean seriously who gives out that tiny little half-bite sized candies that leave you completely unsatisfied? I might believe that evil candy scientists have created the fun-sized candy to torment people like me, but I wouldn’t say they are cursed?

 I would bet if pressed for evidence, she would claim “common knowledge” or a vague, “I read it somewhere” defense. What about the claim, “In the demonic realm, when they give you an item of theirs, or they obtain an item of yours, their curse has power.” Is there any evidence for this? Is there a Bible verse? I’m guessing it comes from one of the demonology books or experts who only have anecdotal evidence based on something they claimed has happened. If this were true, wouldn’t we have to be afraid of every item we receive? Couldn’t wandering bands of Satanists be going up and down the aisles of Walmart cursing things? What about all that stuff bought at antique stores, secondhand shops, and garage sales?

Underlying this little conspiracy theory is fear. Hang around Fundagelicals, especially Charismatic ones, and you will develop a fear of everything demonic. Demons will lurk everywhere and you the poor hapless believer will be tricked into opening doors to the demonic without ever knowing it. Every bump in the night and every bad thing that happens will be blamed on a curse you picked up unwittingly.

I guess God is helpless in all of this. He doesn’t protect His children. Christians are on their own without a shepherd to protect them. This kind of bad theology and conspiracy paranoia really irks me. It’s a form of hyper-legalism that traps people into a fearful lifestyle of always being on guard against imaginary enemies. I do not deny the spiritual realm, after all “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24, take that catechism teacher, I did remember it!) I’m just saying, scare stories like this only lead to legalistic bondage instead of freedom in Christ. Whatever happened to “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If you are living in fear of the world, because of what you have been taught, you aren’t being taught, Jesus. All this demonology teaching is a distraction from our focus on Christ. Go ahead eat that fun-sized Snickers bar, Jesus has your back.

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