Hailey Baldwin was called a ‘fake Christian’ for celebrating Halloween

Hailey Baldwin: sleek in all-black outfit during an outing on Melrose Place

I grew up in a moderately-sized Southern community and I can remember being a little girl and how Halloween was a big, fun deal. Like, there were school-sponsored hay rides and they would turn the school’s gym into a “scare house” and everything was about witches and blood and gore. And then it shifted in my lifetime. The churches got more involved. Suddenly, Halloween wasn’t supposed to be “scary,” and maybe it shouldn’t be celebrated at all. Churches would sponsor other activities – wholesome activities – on Halloween night. And schools were no longer supposed to support scaring children. To this day, there’s a lot of conversation in the Southern Baptist and Evangelical communities as to whether good Christian kids should be allowed to go Full Pagan for Halloween.

Well, Hailey Baldwin isn’t part of that conversation. Hailey belongs to that cult-like Hillsong Church, and one of Hillsong’s pastors wrote a screed about how he celebrates Halloween and Hailey agreed with him. She also defended herself against claims that she’s a “fake Christian” for dressing up for Halloween.

Hailey Baldwin is defending her right to celebrate Halloween. On Wednesday night, the model — who married Justin Bieber (again!) during their second wedding ceremony last month — reposted a message to her Instagram Story written by a fellow Hillsong Church member, New York City-based pastor Nathan Finochio, which justifies the choice to celebrate Halloween as a Christian despite criticism from some who see it as a pagan practice and un-Christian due to the popular glorification of things like witchcraft and the devil. Finochio’s explanation was written in response to a question submitted on Instagram which asked him if Halloween was a “yes or no.”

“I’m a Christian. Do you have any idea what that means historically? It means I redefine everything in culture,” he wrote, as captured in screenshots by BuzzFeed News. “Pagan Feast of Winter Solstice? Oh that’s now JESUS BIRTHDAY. Pagan Feast of Spring Planting? Oh that’s now EASTER WEEKEND. Pagan Celtic Festival involving dressing up and warding off evil spirits? Oh now it’s All Saints Day and we celebrate the VICTORIOUS CHURCH THAT HAS OVERCOME THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB!!! CANDY PLEASE!!!”

“I’m not afraid of the world,” he continued. “I’m not afraid of any devil or demon or incantation. They are terrified of me. Halloween is now MY HOLIDAY and I am claiming all candy for the glory of God and the celebration of the Saints. What now? I’ll dress up however I like! My favorite characters, pop culture stuff, whatever. It’s my party and you’re invited. I’m alive today and a Saint tomorrow. Give me candy.”

When Baldwin, 22, reposted the message to her story, she tagged Finochio’s account and added the words, “YASSS.”

Last week, Baldwin — who grew up as an evangelical Christian — was met with some backlash after asking her followers for Halloween costume ideas on an Instagram Q&A posted to her story. Multiple outlets, including BuzzFeed News and Fox News, report that when one follower asked her, “Aren’t u a Christian?” Baldwin responded by simply writing, “Yes. I still dress up for Halloween.” When another called her a “FAKE CHRISTIAN,” Baldwin responded by writing “our kids are gonna celebrate too” in reference to her and Bieber’s future children.

[From People]

That pastor sounds like a nutjob, but the essence of what he says is true, and I never really understood why other church folks don’t see it the same way – the religious holidays they celebrate are all based on pagan holidays anyway, and those holidays are what you make them. Anyway, I plan on celebrating Halloween as I always do: by turning off my lights and watching a movie. I used to get candy for the neighborhood kids but they aren’t allowed to trick-or-treat anymore. They’re too busy at church.

Hailey Bieber puts her huge rock on display ahead of her big day

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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43 Responses to “Hailey Baldwin was called a ‘fake Christian’ for celebrating Halloween”

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  1. L84Tea says:

    I get so annoyed by this argument from people. Halloween has only evolved into a blood & gore event in the last few decades. In centuries past it was a holy experience on the eve of All Saint’s Day. Granted, I’m looking at it through a Catholic lense, but still. It’s not “the devil’s birthday” (as so many kids nowadays seem to think it is) and it’s not some anti-Christ holiday. It’s just meant for fun.

    I get very defensive of this holiday because it’s my birthday…I’ll be 41. Now THAT is what I call scary. 🙂

    • jenner says:

      My 40’s have been my best years yet, don’t be afraid, have FUN!

    • Kristina says:

      My daughter’s bday is Halloween, too! And we don’t go the gory, gross way- we prefer the happy little ghosts and cute black cats. Anyway, my kids go to a Christian school and there’s not a single kid I’m aware of there that doesn’t celebrate Halloween, or at least partake in costumes and candy. I think this argument is contained to a minority of Christians- at least looking at where I live and those in my orbit and city/state.

    • Gobo says:

      Halloween developed from a pre Christian Irish celebration Samhain and involved dressing up in costumes, feasts for the returning souls of the dead, care regarding the Aos Sí, and Spirits. Carving turnip jack o lanterns is at least a few centuries old. Thank god it’s pumpkins now. Turnips are a bitch to carve. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that in Ireland it has always been ghoulish. Not evil or satanic, but definitely ghoulish. And in some villages the celebration is still heavily influenced by Pagan sensibilities.

    • Jaded says:

      You’re gonna LOVE your forties….one of my best decades. Oh, and I’m in my sixties now and guess what? It’s ANOTHER best decade! Happy Hallowday!

    • jbyrdku says:

      Yeah, I’m an atheist, so take this for what it’s worth. I adore Halloween and always have. I have the fondest memories of being a kid and trick-or-treating. I think it’s sad that so much of that has shifted to trunk-or-treat and what-not. As long as kids are having fun and there’s no harm, then people should leave it alone.

  2. Ennie says:

    I’m Mexican and catholicism intermixed the Day of the dead celebrations with All Saints day. At schools they create an altar following the native Guidelines for it. At many homes in certain parts of the country, people make a small altar to remember our loved ones, the bigger celebrations occur at actual graveyardsin some parts of the country , were people gather to make offerings, sing and spend the nights as. Family remembering their family members. I find sweet and sad that people in some native towns, throw flower petals at the entrance so babies who died can recognize their homes and visit their families on dia de muertos. I vusuted one Otomi town and many homes had flowers at the entrance, that meant that at least they had a baby who died in those families.
    Some children of other Christian denominations are not even allowed to participate in creating the altars at school because is a pagan thing. They don’t participate in the Catrina competition (that’s a new “tradition”, etc. It’s quite limiting, we see it at school as cultural events, not witchcraft or pagan.

  3. LP says:

    My sincere hope for everyone caught up in the Evangelical life is that they can get out safely and quickly. As a little girl we all loved Halloween, with my mom sewing costumes and all the neighborhood kids having a good time. We were evangelical but in our neighborhood no one else was. We moved to a MUCH more evangelical suburb and an evangelical private school when I was nine, and Halloween stopped like *that*. We weren’t even in the most radical area by far! I’m positive the “cool” evangelical churches some of these Hollywood families are going to are preaching this kind of crap, and now Hailey is reaping what she’s sown, so to speak. Again, I pray she gets out. (Also, this makes me think of the criticism Ellen page faced when she dared criticize Chris Pratt’s church; don’t the Bieber’s go to the same one?)

    • Snappyfish says:

      Seriously. I simply consider her a “fake “ Christian because she is in Hillsong. It is the “Christian” off ramp of Scientology like cultism. Be a good & decent person. Follow the golden rule & the world will be immensely better. Now go dress up as you wish (or don’t) but candy? It’s a must

  4. susiecue says:

    I was raised very Southern Baptist in the Bible Belt (my dad is a minister), and we always trick or treated, dressed up, etc. Most churches around my hometown do trunk-or-treats also. I think you have to be a real extremist to feel this way.

    • Ennie says:

      Ha! I’m sorry I read as “drunk or treat” hehehe

    • LP says:

      It’s so weird but I swear it’s true! This was a suburb of Detroit, so not southern or Baptist or southern baptist at all. Maybe it was the evangelical school/church combo, or maybe it was the times (early 2000’s)? But it was bad.

    • lucy2 says:

      I went to a Baptist church (not Southern) as a kid, and they held Halloween events there for the kids. It was fun, I still remember a few of my costumes and the games we’d play for prizes.

      If people don’t want to celebrate Halloween because of their beliefs, that’s fine, but they don’t get to dictate what others do. My street is a very popular trick or treat area (you should see the candy I have stockpiled for it!) and one of my neighbors is a certain religion and doesn’t participate. Cool. Then she went on a crazy rant on social media about it, spewing all kinds of hate and calling people who enjoyed Halloween awful names. Most of the kids who come around are little, in elementary school! How very holy of her, huh?

  5. jenner says:

    Maybe she is a fake Christian for that supposed death threat she posted on instagram the other day?

  6. Char says:

    “I’m a Christian. Do you have any idea what that means historically? It means I redefine everything in culture”. That’s exactly what justified Christians commiting genocide against other religions or cultures throughout history. Congrats, Hailey, you are a fanatic.

    • Ennie says:

      @char, yes, but don’t forget that not only Christians have done that.

      • Char says:

        @Ennie I’m connecting to her words. If instead of “Christian” was written “Muslin”, “Jew”, “Buddhist”, with the same message, people would be fast to call it as fanatism. Yet, because of our society, Christians get a pass to do what other religions also do, but labeled as massacre, terrorism, etc.

  7. Spicecake38 says:

    Um,I don’t think THAT is why people think you’re a fake Christian,Hailey….

  8. Kate says:

    I’m getting deja vu. Wasn’t this a story last year? I swear it seems really familiar, not being snarky.

    eta: nvm it passed

  9. Anya says:

    That’s dumb. My children’s Catholic school makes a whole day out of it. They have a costume parade for each grade, various themed competitions, a truck-or-treat, and food/movie parties in the class. I feel like the “fake Christian” thing to do is make people feel bad for innocuous fun.

  10. tealily says:

    I hate that this is the direction our culture has swung yet again. I didn’t realize just how out of favor Halloween has become until I tried to go shopping for new Halloween decorations this year. I tried several stores that have traditionally had a ton of stuff, and hardly anyone had anything. It’s a real bummer. It’s always been my favorite holiday, even back in the day when I went to Catholic school and we were only allowed to dress up as saints (at school… my parents thankfully let me be whatever witch or clown or zombie or whatever I felt like for trick-or-treating).

  11. TeamAwesome says:

    “I am claiming all candy for the glory of God and the celebration of the Saints.” is the most hilarious thing I’ve read all day.

  12. Emilia says:

    I’m from the northeast and moved down south a couple years ago and it was a major culture shock. People constantly trying to get me to go to their church (where I’m from everyone keeps their religious beliefs to themselves) and the attitudes towards Halloween was definitely something that surprised me. Kids didn’t go trick or treating and churches had spaghetti dinners on Halloween night. I’ll never forget one of my coworkers going on a diatribe about how people who dress up on Halloween are all atheists who worship satan!? I was so happy when I got to move back home

    • Jerusha says:

      I don’t know where you live, but I live in deep South Alabama. I don’t go to church and nobody bothers me about it. Same for my daughter and all the non-churchy people we know. People celebrate Halloween and the stores have been stuffed with H stuff for more than a month. But keep on with the stereotypes, please.

  13. Allergy says:

    When religions start dictating what people are allowed to celebrate or how they dress etc., it’s really bad news.
    Sick and tired of religious loonies.

  14. megs283 says:

    I work for a Catholic org, and some people are SSUPPPPERR conservative Catholic, others are…not. I asked a coworker what his daughter is dressing up as, and he said Mother Teresa. Then he asked me…and I told him that my girls are dressing up as witches. Awkward. LOL.

  15. Marisse says:

    I’d say posting the instastory w/that obvious ‘I’ll Kill You” song right after Selena’s song about Bieber dropped is more so fake christian. I’ve never even considered Halloween anything but a fun creative secular holiday. So over organized religion.

  16. Justme says:

    Halloween was brought to this country by Irish and Scottish immigrants. At Samhain, the Celtic New Year, the veil between our world and the spirit world was very thin. That holiday got “Christianized” as so many holidays did, by setting All Saints Day on Nov. 1 – with the day before being All Hallows Eve. If you disrespect Halloween, you disrespect MY culture’s contribution to our great multicultural country!

    In my Catholic school, the nuns LOVED Halloween – we were given a half day with treats and a movie – and they encouraged us to come to the convent where they showered us in candy and oohed and aahed over our costumes – the scarier the better. Then we got the next day off from school for All Saints Day- a win all round! (Did have to get up for Mass, but not as early as for school and we had the rest of the day off). I hate when people say they are Christians and have no knowledge of Church history — or fun!

  17. J ferber says:

    Jenner, yes. Death threats okay , but not Halloween? Yes, we are in the Trump era. If she bought an ak-47, that would be good, too, right?

  18. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I could write a book on my religious experiences and logically pushing back on so very many extreme ideals. Growing up Southern Baptist, the church always scheduled events during other, outside events they didn’t like…dances, holiday parties, whatever. Our town had a yearly huge Halloween festival. Scary costumes and all. But Halloween, prom, anything celebratory meant the youth group at church would have a lock-in party. Yawn.

    Then I moved away, went to college and lived. I have, however, through three children seen schools morph into zero tolerance across the board. Basically everything is quashed. Scary costumes. Homemade treats. Anything called ‘Christmas.’ Distributing invitations. Doesn’t matter really, if your child seeks out individuality, asks tons of questions and has a personality, you’ll be visiting the school counselor. They (the ominous they lol) would rather most kids politely and obediently take their ADD meds, sit down and be quiet.

    And heavy trick-or-treating is a thing of the past. The churches, however, love their pumpkin patches and trunk parties. I’m sorry, in advance, for saying this but for me, I feel religion is the single most harmful thing humanity ever invented. I’m proud of our historical scientists. They’re my heroes knowing what they went through for having intelligent thought, curiosity, commitment and patience. Criticizing anyone’s spirituality is dangerous business. And negating one’s path because it doesn’t align with yours is why our history and present is oppressive, torturous and murderous. All I’ve ever hoped for was people minding their own business lol. Silly dreams.

  19. Eliza says:

    She’s not celebrating All Saints Day or All Hallows Eve (um early Christian settlers celebrated btw), or paganism. She’s celebrating Party City and Hershey. Just like Valentine’s Day is to honor 4 men who were brutally murdered for their Christian beliefs by giving your loved ones chocolate hearts they can devour — I always found valentine’s day to be quite sick when in that context.

  20. My3cents says:

    I think that most cultures have a day for dressing up in one form or another.
    I’d be happy to learn more from fellow knowledgeable CB commenters out there.

  21. Marigold says:

    I’m an active and church-going Christian, and in my experience, it’s only the super extremist/fundamentalist types who have anything negative to say about Halloween. I mean, you occasionally have someone who decides that their family isn’t going to celebrate, and they have their own faith reasons for that, but they don’t typically expect anyone else to join them in that or impugn other people’s motives/faith for celebrating Halloween.

    Honestly, the people who are always going around being dogmatic about one thing or other and using it to accuse people of being bad Christians (every Christian is a bad Christian…it’s part of the gig) or fake Christians get serious side eye and basic theological beatdowns from the rest of us.

    Saint Valentine’s Day. That’s the one WE don’t celebrate. /shudder . And it’s not because we think Jesus would disapprove. LOL

  22. smcollins says:

    I was at Walmart getting a costume for my son and I overheard a lady tell one of her grandkids (?) that the costume they wanted was “too demonic” and tried steering them towards a superhero costume or making them a nice costume of a Disciple. That’s right, a Disciple. I kinda paused for a second and then went about my shopping. Grandma was definitely being a bit of a buzz kill.

  23. Anon says:

    FWIW, I don’t think she belongs to Hillsong. I think she belongs to Zoe Church.

    And, my siblings and I weren’t allowed to celebrate Halloween. It was embarrassing, a bummer, and a big deal to us as kids. We were told that Halloween was demonic and it was wrong (sin level wrong) to be so focused on things that were scary and spooky. Meanwhile, at church and school, we were reading the book of Revelation, being told that there were demonic influences all around us, and seeing pictures of aborted fetuses at Pro-life rallies. All things that horrified me. Not celebrating Halloween was one more way that fundamentalist Christianity disrupted my childhood.

    Now my siblings and I are super into Halloween: elaborate costumes, throwing parties, decorating our houses, etc. We’re all determined to make sure our kids have fun Halloweens. (We’re also a mix of agnostics, progressive Christians, and atheists— and politically, all extremely liberal. So, you know, not a big win for the fundamentalists.)

  24. Marianne says:

    Most Holidays at this point (even Christmas) are pretty commercialized and have little to do with their original roots.

  25. lidija says:

    Sure, now its ok but a few hundred years ago, millions of women and children were killed by the church for being apparent witches. And if anyone actually sees what’s in the Bible, you would know its actually forbidden to even play with anything that is dark….so she is fake. Im not a Christian, I just don’t like hypocrites.