It seems the whole world loves "Halloween". The pumpkins are out at the various Protestant churches (hey, maybe a few Catholic ones too -- our parish tried it a couple of years). The children like listening to haunted tales on TV. People like dressing up. So, is this really a good idea as a Catholic to celebrate Halloween?
Yes and no. We shouldn't be celebrating Halloween in the sense of dressing up like devils and witches and celebrating the pagan festival of Halloween -- that is not what we should focus on at all. My husband would even call it "devil workship" if you dressed up in anything that was not a saint costume!
Instead, we should focus on the traditional ways of celebrating "all hallows eve" or "all saints eve". Here's a fuller article about this here:
So, traditionally, Catholics would go "all souling" or asking for "soul cakes" on All saints eve. The children would be given a cake or sweet as long as they promised to pray for the dead or holy souls in purgatory. Children would go house to house asking for "soul cakes".
Today, we do something simliar at our parish. We dress up like saints, we go door to door inside our little classrooms that are decorated up like patron saints and the children enjoy receiving "soul cakes". Each candy or sweet is labeled with a person to pray for on it! How neat is that?! There's even a bonfire usually outside after we get thru "soul caking" inside.
So, All Saints Eve is really a way to celebrate All Soul's Day November 2nd, when we remember to pray for the dead each year at special Masses. So, they both go together.
Remember to go pray at a cemetery on All Soul's day to receive a plenary indulgence (along with attending Mass that day; going to Communion that day; confession can be around 14 days before or after the day of indulgence). Make sure you are in state of grace or you can't do any of above!!
So, back to dressing up like saints and such. Maybe, some people don't even know what to dress up like. But, a lot of saints are just normal everyday people -- so look up the book titled "Secular Saints" if you want some inspiration. You can have even an Indian as Bl. Kateri Tekawitha was an Indian. You can have St. Fiarce as a firefighter, etc. So, it is well worth looking up more about various saints in choosing an All Saints costume to fit your child!
Well, we hope we have educated you a bit about All Hallows Eve and the real meaning behind doing all of this. Let's dress as saints this year not goblins, witches or devils. Thank you!