Every October 31, American Catholics worth half their weight in holy water are busy reminding their countrymen that without All Saints’ Day (November 1), there would be no Halloween. Indeed, the word “Halloween” derives from the anachronistic designation of “All Hallows’ [i.e., Saints’] Eve.”
There are various worthwhile articles detailing how Catholics can celebrate Halloween, as long as we provide due deference to the true celebration: All Saints’ Day. For example, there are articles from Catholic Answers (by Michelle Arnold), U.S. Catholic (by Angelo Stagnaro), and Busted Halo (in which Mike Hayes reminds us importantly that “we obviously want to steer people away from things like dabbling with the occult, or seances, or other kinds of ‘black magic’ that would be contrary to our beliefs. By the same token, if we are dressing up for Halloween we indeed should notice our style of dress and check to make sure that we are chaste in manner”).
Once you and your family have emerged from your mini-sized Snickers-induced sugar high and subsequent crash, here are seven ways to ensure that your All Saints’ Day is even better than your Halloween!
1. Remember to go to mass!
After all, All Saints’ Day is a holy day of obligation, so all Catholics are required (read: want to) attend. Just try to wear something a little more respectful than a werewolf mask as you take your place in the pew.
2. Perform a random Corporal Work of Mercy
It could even be a random Corporal Work of Mercy. There are many to choose from. On that note, try to perform more than one!
3. Perform a random Spiritual Work of Mercy
Like the Corporal Works of Mercy, there are multiple Spiritual Works of Mercy. (You even have an opportunity in #6 below.)
4. Pray the Litany of the Saints
Here’s the Litany of the Saints if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Do your best to pronounce everyone’s name correctly, especially those funny-sounding, yet Catholic-trendy ones (you know the ones).
5. Practice the cardinal virtue of temperance
(not to mention the theological virtue of charity) by sharing your candy with others (perhaps even your own children).
6. Wish a complete stranger “Happy All Saints’ Day!”
Perhaps he or she will inquire what this means, and you can take the time to “instruct the ignorant” (see #3 above). However, make sure not to reveal to the person that you are “instructing the ignorant” in the process of speaking to him or her.
7. Pray to your guardian angel
(yes, they exist, and they are mightier than their depiction with fluffy wings and a harp implies), as well as to your confirmation saint. Get back in touch with them so that they can help you grow ever closer to the Lord.
As a final note, remember that picking out your dress clothes for mass is reliably easier than picking out a good costume (and, seriously, remember to go to mass – see #1). Also, since we Catholics love excuses for a holy party, remember that All Saints’ Day has an “after-party” in the form of All Souls’ Day (November 2). Happy Halloween! Happier All Saints’ Day! All holy men and women, pray for us!