Sharing All Saints’ Day With the Neighborhood

My neighbors probably think I’m crazy. But that’s okay. So what if when my neighbors are all decorating their yards with gruesome skeletons and demons, I hang a “Happy All Saints’ Day” sign on my front door? It’s nice and cheery, it’s homemade, and it’s orange, which is the color of the season, isn’t it?

But that’s not all. Not only do I not take my children trick-or-treating, but I dress them up like saints (and oh, they look so cute!) and plan a party on November 1 instead of on Halloween. We eat candy corn, play games (my sister told me how her family plays “Angel, Angel, Saint” instead of “Duck, Duck,Goose” and I just loved the idea), and of course pretend we’re the saints we’re dressed up as. It’s lots of fun.

But that’s still not all we do.

This year, between thirty and forty children will come to my door on Halloween night, asking for candy, and I intend to use this opportunity to evangelize my neighbors. Why not? It’s a perfectly easy chance to do what we all dread doing – bringing Christ to our neighbor’s notice.

What I do every year is buy as many holy cards of saints as I do little bags of candy, and I staple or tape one card to every bag. Being artistically inclined, instead of buying the holy cards, I often make my own little illustrations of the saints, write a brief biography of each saint next to drawing, adding in big letters: “November 1 is All Saints’ Day. Who is your patron saint?” Then I photocopy them and cut them out.

I like the homemade method even better because it’s cheaper, and I can make sure the biographies are suited for the general age of the children who will receive them (you sometimes get rather grown-up prayers or biographies on store-bought holy cards.) For those not artistically inclined but financially strapped, a quick search on the Internet would turn up some charming pictures of the saints that could be printed out and photocopied, too. You can add a short biography or not, as you please. Either way, the children are getting a lesson in the lives of the saints, the people who should be our real heroes, rather than popular singers and athletes who may demonstrate talent but, sadly, not always the virtue we want our young people to emulate.

If you have children yourself, they will probably enjoy helping you to choose the pictures, cut them out and tape them onto the bags of candy. They’ll also be getting a lesson in evangelization, without even realizing it.

I love All Saints’ Day. The crisp autumn air, the smell of candy corn and dead leaves, the sight of my children dressed as quaint little soldiers, bishops, nuns, queens and shepherdesses, and best of all, the chance to spread God’s Word to my neighbors. So what if they think I’m a little nuts? I’m enjoying growing closer to God with my family through a fun-filled feast day.

Being Catholic has never been so much fun.

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  • Claire

    Great ideas.

  • Terri Kimmel

    I certainly don’t object to any of these observances, but Halloween is something I’ve really struggled with over the years. We dress up as comic book characters or superheroes and go trick or treating. I think there are good things to be had in observing the traditions of Halloween. Then the following day we go to mass and talk about saints.

    I get a little triggered because I homeschool too, but I avoid homeschool family gatherings. The adherenence to invented rules and self-imposed legalities really turns me off, not to mention it’s sinful. I think homeschoolers are more prone than the general Catholic popluation, at least in my experience.

    Celebrating the Eve of All Saints with religious customs is a great thing to do. There’s nothing wrong with having fun on Halloween either.

  • Loretta

    In our front yard, about a week before, I set out those tombstones.
    I hand-painted on them, of course, in black and silver.
    One says “RIP – Resides In Paradise”
    the rest have the saint names of our family:
    “St. Thomas”
    “St. Nicholas”
    and so on.
    I’m sure a few scratch their heads over that one.