Unmasking Halloween

No longer is Halloween the frivolous children’s holiday that it had become by the mid-20th century. Today it is a commercial juggernaut and an indispensable component of American culture. How did a rural harvest festival become one of America’s top commercial holidays? Until we understand the ways that Halloween’s character and purpose have transformed over time, we will not know how best to navigate this enigmatic holiday. Author and former missionary Timothy Zebell works to unmask America's trickiest holiday.


Author Timothy Zebell discusses his new book, "Unmasking Halloween".

Do You Know?

There are more critical analyses published and university courses taught on Buffy the Vampire Slayer than on Halloween.

A Tricky Holiday

page 9

The gay community is arguably most responsible for rejuvenating adult celebrations of Halloween.

A Commercial Holiday

page 77

God frequently uses the pagan imagination and elements of the horror genre to communicate truth in the Bible.

Redeeming Monsters

page 119

Americans have a pattern of mistaking real murders and suicides as Halloween décor.

Judging the Matter

page 134

We can chart an approach to Halloween that is free from guilt and uncertainty.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

page 176

Bobbing for apples was originally a means of divining the future.

A Holiday of Divination

page 45

Ancient Hebrew texts, including the Bible, suggest the true origins of our monster lore.

An Even Darker Heritage

page 105

God has a lot to say about vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, and ghosts.

Redeeming Monsters

page 127

There are national consequences to ignoring Halloween.

Judging the Matter

page 137

Questions it explores

  • What are the origins of our monster lore, haunted houses, and trick or treat?
  • What does the Bible say about vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, and ghosts?
  • Is Halloween a religious holiday or a secular celebration?
  • Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
  • How can Christians chart an approach to Halloween that is free from guilt and uncertainty?


What It Accomplishes

Neither supporting nor attacking this holiday, Unmasking Halloween provides readers with the  historical and biblical information necessary to critically evaluate the American cultural juggernaut that is Halloween. Readers will learn how to chart an approach to Halloween that is God-honoring, culturally relevant, and free from guilt and uncertainty.

Ideal for Small Groups

  • Every chapter includes discussion questions
  • Thorough, yet accessible overview of the development and significance of Halloween
  • Counterbalances faulty facts and hearsay with authoritative sources
  • Brimming with Scripture
  • Culturally relevant

Why it is Different

Unmasking Halloween does not seek to convert the reader into supporting or rejecting Halloween. Neither is it interested in simplistic explanations and answers. Well sourced and brimming with Scripture, it seeks to provide a focused, authoritative, and thorough analysis of Halloween from a Christian perspective in order to equip readers with real solutions to navigating one of America's most enigmatic holidays.

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As a former missionary to Asia for 12 years, a writer for Forerunners of America, and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God’s Word in today’s world. His goals are to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.