Halloween is most commonly known for super scares, gore, satanic symbols, extreme frights, and demons. As Catholics, should we celebrate this holiday that seems to revolve around paganism?
It might surprise you, but I think we should! Halloween started as a Christian holiday as the first in the Allhallowtide. This means that we should take the holiday back. Here are five reasons you shouldn’t skip over Halloween and how you can make it both holy and fun.
1. Halloween started as a Catholic tradition
In the past, different cultures would pray for the dead as they walked (like in Poland) or fast and pray for the dead. You can still practice these traditions today. Start with a walking rosary around your neighborhood and pray each decade for deceased members of your family. You could also go to a local cemetery and pray for the souls of the departed at their grave sites, even if you don’t know who they are.
Spend the day fasting before the parties and trick-or-treating to remind yourself of the passing of this world and the glory of the next. Of course, you can offer your fasting for the dead. It’s a work of mercy to pray for the dead, after all! So find some way to pray in a special way on Halloween and make this holiday Catholic again!
2. The holiday offers a chance for celebration
Catholics like having fun–just think of all the wine at the Wedding of Cana! Don’t forget that it was Jesus who turned that water into wine.
There is a goodness in stepping back and celebrating. Dress up as your favorite saint or character, party, and pray. When God made the world, He said, “It was good.” Through this, we understand that we are meant to revel in the goodness of God through his creation.
Having a party or dressing up silly to celebrate honors this!
3. Halloween is an opportunity to build community
Having a reason to celebrate means you get to gather as a community and. That’s what the Christian life is all about. We call the source and summit of our Catholic life, the Eucharist, communion and that’s on purpose. We are meant to be a community, we are not meant to be alone.
Even at the dawn of creation, God gave us to each other. Even the communion of saints is a reminder of this reality. All the saints are individuals, but they come together (and bring us together!) in the faith. So celebrating Halloween this year is another way to come together as a community. When done for good-hearted celebration and respect of self and others, it can be a wonderful way to glorify God.
4. Halloween kicks off a Triduum
As Catholics, we know the power of three. Don’t miss out on another opportunity!
Called Allhallowtide, this celebration encompasses (All Hallows’ Eve) Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. On these days, we honor all who have gone before us and pray that we might follow in their footsteps. This is our entire goal in life, to spend eternity with Christ in heaven.
This is also an excellent way to prepare for Advent. Take time to reflect on the fleetingness of life and our eternal home. Begin to clear space in your heart to welcome the Christ Child soon.
5. You can spread joy this Halloween
One of the things we are called to do for each other in this life is spread joy. What’s more joyful than a kid receiving candy? Stay at home and pass out candy to trick or treaters or throw a party for your friends! Anything that will uplift the spirits of those around you. We may never know this side of heaven how these little gestures impact the lives of others.
Some people relish going all out in decorations for neighbors to spectacle at, bringing each other out of the humdrum of the everyday and into the magnificent of the beyond. Others adore interacting with others by picking out just the right candy, passing it out, and commenting on all of the costumes that visit their door–this lets others know (even in a small way) that they are cared for and loved. Some people love dressing up!
No matter who you are, there is some way for you to participate on Halloween that will both lift your spirits and those of your neighbors. Call it an act of service if you want, but this is a way for us to do what we were made for.