An odd family, I know. We are strange! Jake is about to write a report on a day in the life of his family, and we laughed about how fun it will be to write that, since we are just so darn strange compared to most families! Things like, “While my sister Clare is regularly seem swinging from the chandeliers, she is also the most polite kid in the entire church every Sunday.”
Halloween is no exception. It epitomizes just how counter-cultural we are! That said, the culture is so impoverished, who’d want to be in the middle of THAT culture??
“Halloween” is short and adapted for “All Hallows Eve.” “All Hallows” means “All Saints,” ultimately meaning “The Eve before All Saints Day.”
Years ago in Ireland, a custom began: children would dress up in silly or scary costumes to scare the evil spirits away, in order to make the world pure for the next day’s sacred celebration. Treats were given out to clear away mean spirits, as though the sweets were an antidote to evil. So the custom of dressing up on the evening before All Saints Day (always Nov. 1) and passing out treats derives from this Irish custom. The deterioration of this custom into an evening for evil per se is an absolute disordering of the original purpose: it was meant to be a night to cleanse the world of evil, not invite evil in.
In our family, when Halloween approaches, our kids start deliberating: “What SAINT shall I be this year?” We have All Saints parties (thank you, Louisiana Friends, for introducing me to this wonderful custom!). The main focus in our home, as it used to be centuries ago, is the celebration of All Saints Day. This, more than sweets, is an effective antidote to all the evil that our culture flirts with on this evening. This year, our kids were St. Veronica, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and St. Padre Pio.
Our Sacred Heart Homeschooling Group had a big party with games based on religious themes, and it was the high point of my Fall.
But then our family also trick or treats. They dress up as fairies and knights and the like, collect candy, and just have fun. This year they were a lilac fairy, a Muskateer, a “Girl-with-Face-Paint-in-a NON-ITCHY-Costume” (Hello, Sensory Processing Disorder!) and a Frost Fairy.
Now that All Saints Day has passed, our kids’ minds and hearts are full of stories from Sacred Scripture, stories of people who enjoyed unspeakable raptures of joy in God as well as suffered untold amounts of pain for the sake of the Cross, and whose bellies are fully of candy.
(No wonder we now have the stomach flu! Padre Pio, Elizabeth of Hungary, Veronica, and Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!) 🙂