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I'm using Blender Internal, and I have a scene where an object is placed inside a mesh with halo material to simulate being in a spotlight beam.

(part of) the object looks like this:

object_mesh

And it has a material with alpha channels: object_material

During a quick pre-render with z-transparency enabled, it looks like this: object_z transparency

which is alright, but I would like it to be affected by the halo.

Switching transparency to raytrace makes it looks like this: object_raytrace

which is exactly how I want it to look like, except for the glaring problem - parts of the texture that are supposed to be transparent and, for all intentions and purposes, invisible, are now refracting light which I do not want at all.

Beside enabled alpha, the material in question also has a specular map that controls object's highlights and mirror values, but disabling those doesn't fix the problem. The halo material also has a texture to it.

My question is - with Blender Internal, is it possible to achieve the look of raytrace transparency with halo affecting opaque areas of the object behind it, but keeping the transparent parts of the texture completely invisible like with z-transparency?

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there is very simple answer: Halo can't be cast through alpha. It only works with geometry. So you have 2 options, fist one is to edit the geometry, second one is not to use halo. I know that this answer isn't what were you hoping for but at least you know that it's not possible using BI.

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