Do Muslims Celebrate Halloween?


The short answer is no.

There are some who are Muslim and do celebrate Halloween. But Halloween is not an Islamic holiday. Some people believe that this holiday started as a Celtic pagan practice to ward off evil spirits at the start of the new year. Others trace its’ roots back to the Christian “All Saint’s Day”, for others it was a way to remember the deceased. As the holiday spread, cultural practices influenced how it was celebrated in each country.

Anas Ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him said: “The Messenger of Allah s.a.w.s. came (to Madinah) and they (inhabitants of Madinah) had two days in which they used to (relax and) play. He s.a.w.s. asked: “What are these two days?” They said, “We used to play (on these two days) during the Jaahiliyah (pre-Islamic period). “The Messenger of Allah s.a.w.s. said: “Allah has given you something better instead of them: Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha.” [Abu Dawood]
Some Muslims will read this hadith and see it as a call to restrict our children from doing something enjoyable. But I read the hadith and say, how can we give them something better than this holiday? I believe that when you take something away from kids, you should try to replace it with something else. If it is possible, and sometimes it is.

Replacements for Halloween:
Some Muslims try to replace days like Halloween with Eid. They make Eid a day to give children candy and sweet treats. We often leave Eid celebrations with enough candy to last a year. (Especially since I put a lot of it up and only allot a small portion per day.) Many Christian churches have Hallelujah Night celebrations on Halloween. They try to offer something fun for their children to do that combines fellowship with treats and worship. A masjid that we attend has provided something similar for the children on this night. Their reasoning is: We want to give our children a reason to love the masjid. We want them to love coming here and being a part of this community. And it works. My kids love going there for the candy and playing games with their friends.

But what about the costumes?
I remember desperately wanting to dress up for Halloween. I never had that experience as a child, and I missed it. But why can’t our children dress up at other times of the year. Some people have suggested having them dress up as figures from Islamic history or modern-day role models. But most children are not excited to dress up as say, a famous civil rights leader. No matter how brilliant his accomplishments. The joy of childhood is found in their imaginations. Halloween gives them creative license to bring their imaginings to life. I recommend having a dress up party at any other time of the year. Encourage family and friends to come together. This relationship building is part of our deen. Allow them to share gifts, food and of course snacks. Share with those outside of your circle, by inviting indigent or refugee Muslim children. This sadaqa will teach them the importance of giving and sharing. You can also invite non-Muslim relatives and friends to your dress-up party. Bridge building is a large part of dawah. It helps others to understand that we love and enjoy the same kinds of things that they do.

But what if I just want to celebrate Halloween?
I am not a scholar nor an imam. I can’t give rulings on what is halal or haram. And the internet should not be the first resource for finding Islamic guidance. But I am a mother, and someone who was raised as a Muslim in a non-Muslim country. So I know the pressure you are under. Decorations go up and on sale sixty days before Halloween. I know how fun and exciting it looks and how hard it is to tell your children, no. This holiday was not practiced in Arabia during the time of the Prophet s.a.w.s. So any rulings that we have now are based off of the Prophet’s s.a.w.s. advice on similar subjects. The ulema study and review his sunnah and draw conclusions. (The overwhelming majority of the ulema state that it is forbidden because of: it has pagan roots, ties to Christian saints, and glorification of demons, and black magic.) For many this review and conclusion is enough. For others it is not. Ultimately, what you do or not do, is going to be your choice. I support you in your decision-making process. I make dua that Allah guides us all to those actions that are pleasing to Him, and turn us and our children away from anything that is displeasing to Him. Ameen