Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween: Why We Don't Do It

1. All Hallow's Eve mean the "eve of all holy" because it's the night before All Saints' Day. All Saints' Day is specifically a Catholic feast day celebrated on November 1st.  Halloween takes place on the day before.  It is a vigil.

2. vigil - n. (vjl) a. A watch kept during normal sleeping hours.
               b. The act or a period of observing; surveillance.
            2. The eve of a religious festival observed by staying awake as a devotional exercise.
            3. Ritual devotions observed on the eve of a holy day. Often used in the plural.

3. devotions - n. (d-voshn) 1. Ardent, often selfless affection and dedication, as to a person or principle. See Synonyms at love.
            2. Religious ardor or zeal; piety.
            3. a. An act of religious observance or prayer, especially when private. Often used in the plural.
                b. devotions Prayers or religious texts: a book of devotions.
            4. The act of devoting or the state of being devoted.

4. It is conceivably a devotion to have the children dress up in the costumes of the saints, learn their stories, and celebrate their lives playing saints games at a party on the Eve of All Saints.

5.  It is not a devotion to dress up like a devil, or ghoul, or ghost, or princess, or political figure, or movie star or a cowboy, or a bum, or hobbit,or carrot, or what-have-you -- and go door-to-door collecting candy from generous neighbors.

Scary, huh?
 6.  While playing dress-up, imitating wholesome characters or things, such as cowboys, hobbits, princesses or carrots, is a natural and perfectly acceptable thing for a child (or adult) to do for fun, glorifying unwholesome characters, such as devils, ghouls, ghosts or political figures by dressing up like them is never a good teaching tool for raising good and holy children.

7. It's not so much what we say, but what we do that our children remember.

Sidenote: We do not hide from Trick-or Treaters; if our driveway weren't so long and any costumed youngins actually came to our door, we'd have candy ready for them.  We know that there is rarely evil intent in the little ghosts and princesses who are out and about at twilight on October 31st and we hold them no grudge, whatsoever.  If we got any Trick-or-Treaters, though, I'd include a holy card with the candy just for the principle. 

In lo, these many years of raising children and interacting with other human beings, we've come to understand that not every family is on the same page in the book as we are at the same time we are.  Where we've come to conclusions regarding Catholic action in some categories, others have not; and where others excel, we fall short.  It's the human condition.  I only hope we are learning from other's good examples and that our examples are good ones, too.  And where there is concern, the best antidote besides a good example is prayer. 

All our glorious saints, our special patrons and helpers, pray for us!


becky said...

We do the same, Lisa...but this year we don't want (I don't have the time/energy) to put together outfits as saints, and since it is the grand Feast of Christ the King, I am trying to come up with something more meaningful for the day. Any suggestions?

Constance said...

My family holds the same views on Halloween, and it was so encouraging to read your post!
I am the "official saint costume maker" at our home, and just realized I still need to make a St. Joseph Moscati costume for my brother!
My youngest brother is going to be St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, because of this story !!!
Oh brothers! =)
God Bless!

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

Thank you so much for this, Lisa!!! It is exactly what I needed like a balm to soothe my aching heart. I get that not everyone chooses to celebrate the eve of All Hallows the way we do, I just don't understand what fellow Catholics have to call us everything from lame dorks to secret Protestants!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, again!

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

"why" not what

MightyMom said...

I've posted my thoughts on Halloween.....,along with our costumes;-)