How Catholic Families Can Embrace Halloween (without dressing like saints)

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"How Catholic Families can Embrace Halloween" by Abby Watts (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2016), CC0/PD

My sons are 6 and 8. They love Jesus and are growing in their faith every day.

They do not want to dress like saints for Halloween and I don’t want to make them. Does that make me a bad Catholic mom?

No, I won’t allow them to dress up as anything evil, but I love watching their little imaginations explore the possibilities of what they can be, if only for one sweaty night (we are Floridians, so it’s usually about 89 degrees). Their step-mom has a gift for taking their ideas and bringing them to life. Last year they were Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, and in 2017 they won Halloween by dressing up as the Wet Bandits from Home Alone. This year they are a cowboy and a saloon bartender. Don’t worry, the bartender will be serving sarsaparilla (Did you know it was spelled that way? I didn’t!).

"How Catholic Families can Embrace Halloween" by Abby Watts (CatholicMom.com)

“Marv & Harry.” Photo credit: E. Brundage (2017). All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Do we need to be little Saints John Paul II and Maximillian Kolbe to remind people that the whole reason this holiday exists is because of the Church’s celebration of those who have gone before us?

I say no.

Of course, if your child wants to dress as a saint or if you want to hand out something special to trick-or-treaters, go for it. One year I set a table up in the yard with pens and paper and took prayer requests. Don’t worry. We also gave out candy. My house remained egg- and toilet paper-free.

But here are two ideas to reinforce that Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day and then All Souls Day. I’ve got one for your family and one for your friends.

For your family: Carry Your Loved Ones with You

This idea just came to me this year, but I love it. My son, who is dressing as a cowboy, is already working on getting into character. His step-mom sent me a photo of him wearing his plaid shirt, blue jeans, and dinner plate-sized belt buckle. I gushed over the cuteness in the photo but then teared up when I read the text that went with the photo. “The belt buckle is his dad’s grandfather’s. He doesn’t want to take it off.” What better way to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have passed away than to carry part of them with us when we go to our parties or door-to-door asking for candy. Could you work your great-grandmother’s hair pin into the next princess costume? Maybe your son’s detective costume could be topped off by your favorite uncle’s old hat that’s been sitting in a box on the closet shelf. What a wonderful way to remind our children that these family members are always with us and we should be praying for them to be fully with Christ as saints!

For your friends: Text-to-Pray

How do we tell our friends and neighbors about All Saints Day and All Souls Day? Yes, if a tiny Saint Teresa of Calcutta rang their doorbell, I’m sure they would think she is adorable and it would fill them with all the feels. But is there a teaching moment we’re missing out on? What if you sent a text like this to some friends, “Happy Halloween! Is there someone you love who has died that we can pray for? I know that’s a strange question, but because we’re Catholic, after Halloween we celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day, so we’d be happy to pray that your loved ones who have passed away will be in Heaven. Lemme know!”

You might get some strange responses or even ignored. As Catholics, we are different. Some might even say weird. But hey, being weird is what Halloween is all about!


Copyright 2019 Abby Watts

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About Author

Abby Brundage Watts is a mother of two little boys. Since January of 2008 she has hosted The Big, Big House Morning Show on Spirit FM 90.5, the radio ministry of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida. The show mixes inspiration, humor and family fun (and great music of course)! You can hear Abby every weekday 6-10am, EST and online at www.myspiritfm.com. She also is the co-creator of the podcast, Perhaps This Is the Moment. You can find it on all the podcast platforms.

1 Comment

  1. Abby, thank you for this article. I, like you, embrace Halloween & All Saints, just separately. Your perspective was so nice to hear. And I needed is this year especially. Happy Halloween & have a Blessed All Saint’s & Souls!’

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