What are the "Catholic" roots of Halloween?
Let us discuss first, the Catholic roots of Halloween before we look at ways that we can celebrate the holiday. "Halloween," also known as "All Hallow's Eve," is the vigil of All Saints Day; a "Holy" Day of obligation for Catholics. The word "Hallow" means "Holy." The Feast of All Saints is a day that honors all of the Saints in Heaven, including all of the saints that do not have a feast day on the liturgical calendar, and are unknown.
All Saints Day was originally celebrated on May 1st, but was later moved to November 1st by Pope Gregory III to mark the foundation of a new chapel in Saint Peter's Basilica, which was dedicated to all of the saints in Heaven. October 31st is the Eve of all Saints Day, November 1st, and then All Souls Day is November 2nd. The three days of All Hallow's Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day are known as a triduum of feasts; the "Days of the Dead." The three days together are known as "Allhallowtide," "Hallowtide," or "Hallowmas." The first day, Halloween, is the beginning of the honoring of all of the dead; the Church Suffering; the holy souls in purgatory, and Church Triumphant; all of the saints in Heaven.
How can we celebrate Halloween "Catholic" style?
1. Go to Mass
As Catholics we are blessed that in many dioceses we have the opportunity to participate in daily Mass. Why not celebrate the first day of Hallowtide by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, if we are in a state of grace?
2. Go to Confession
This year Halloween is on a Saturday, and many parishes offer confession times. We can receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and cleanse ourselves of any sin. We can increase our sanctifying grace when we confess and receive absolution for committing venial sins, and restore our baptismal grace and our relationship with God and the Church by confessing mortal sins and receiving absolution.
3. Bake "Beatitude" Cupcakes
The Gospel reading for the Solemnity of All Saints Day is Matthew 5:1-12a, "The Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes" is:
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 He began to teach them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
12A Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Why not be creative and bake cupcakes with the message of the beatitudes? Find out how to bake messages into cupcakes at Our Everyday Life.
4. Dress Up as a Saint, Religious, or Biblical figure
Opt this year skip the secular costumes and instead choose to dress up as a Saint, religious figure, or someone from the Bible. You can make your own costume, be creative! Take a look at some ideas for some cute children's costumes at Catholic All Year.
5. Read Butler's The Lives of the Saints
It is the Vigil of All Hallow's Eve, so why not choose a Saint and learn more about him or her? For each day of the year there is a different saint along with a reflection for your own meditation. Begin reading about the Saints here or you can purchase The Lives of the Saints (Hard Copy or Kindle edition), by Alban Butler.
Have a Happy Halloween!