October 31 is known all around the world as Halloween, a day for trick-or-treating, dressing up in scary or silly costumes and everything-in-between, and, generally, for having fun.
In fact, most, if not all, parents probably look forward to celebrating Halloween with their kids, and many of you reading this have probably already joined trick-or-treat events during the past weekend.
However, many of us may not be aware that there is a deeper, darker side to Halloween. According to the Church of Satan website, it is actually one of the holidays that Satanists celebrate. To quote:
"Halloween, October 31, is the Fall climax and may be celebrated as a time when one’s inner self might be explored through the use of a costume… We see this holiday as the night when the mundane folk try to reach down inside and touch the 'darkness' which for Satanists is a daily mode of existence."
On another website about theistic Satanism, a writer named Geifood even suggests practices for Halloween, including trick-or-treating, a recitation of the verses below, and a "Witching Hour" ritual that is dedicated to "hailing Satan":
"Halloween, so dear, is here;
The Season of the Witch brings cheer.
Today the Devil will bring light
To those who celebrate this night.
I pledge this day to Satan’s power,
And look forward to Witching Hour;
For at the stroke of midnight’s bell,
I will praise the King of Hell."
I don’t know about you, but I certainly found myself shivering as I read those words as I was doing research for this article.
As a Catholic parent, I want my children to grow up with traditions and practices that help them grow in love for God and His people. This is why I, along with my husband, don’t place any emphasis on celebrating Halloween according to how it is usually done these days.
Of course, I am not saying that other parents who let their children participate in Halloween activities don’t want something similar for their kids, and neither am I judging those who join trick-or-treating activities and other Halloween-themed events.
I believe that each family has their own way of celebrating holidays and creating traditions, so please don’t think that I’m "condemning" those who choose to dress up in scary costumes for Halloween or go trick-or-treating.
I’m simply stating that our family doesn’t do so.
Instead, we choose to focus on the “hallow” within Halloween, or "Hallowe’en," i.e. the eve before All Saints Day.
Source: Inspirational Catholic Saint Quotes and Words of Wisdom Facebook page
We teach our kids that the word “hallow” means “holy,” and so we want to focus on the importance of doing our best to live holy lives, like the Saints did.
We teach them about the communion of saints, according to the teachings of the Church by watching videos together or doing a simple craft.
On the days leading to All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, we try to read books about the saints and also books about how to honor the memory of our dearly departed, whose souls we pray for in a special way on November 2, All Souls Day.
On November 1, All Saints Day, we attend Holy Mass, light candles and pray for the dead, and ask the Holy Saints to intercede for us. We play a few saint-themed games, and read another book about the saints.
We buy a cake that has the words "Happy All Saints Day" written on it in icing and sing "Happy All Saints Day" to the tune of "Happy Birthday."
Since 2011, our kids have also been participating in our homeschool group’s All Saints Day party, dressed as saints or Biblical characters -- much like the children in the picture below, students from Catholic Filipino Academy, a homeschooling program founded by Bo Sanchez, a local inspirational speaker and author.
Photos by Marowe Sanchez of Catholic Filipino Academy, used with permission
At our All Saints Day party, we usually have a "March of Saints," where the kids parade to the front of the venue, and each child has a turn explaining who he or she is dressed up as. We then pray the Rosary, or even just a decade of the Rosary.
We play the usual party games but with a "saintly" theme, and have fun bonding with friends and fellow parents. Each family is usually assigned to bring "saint-themed" snacks, like Saint Pedro Calungsod’s bibingka, or Saint Therese’s flower cookies.
It is our simple way of focusing on the "hallow" in Halloween, and I have made it my personal advocacy to encourage other families to do the same.
If you feel inspired to celebrate Halloween in a "hallow" or holier way this year, here are a few links to help you get started:
And if you’re still wondering why you should consider focusing on the "hallow" in Halloween, instead of the usual ghoulish things associated with the holiday, you might want to read this article on the Christian website Crosswalk.com about how former witches want you to celebrate Halloween.
Whatever you choose to do this Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, I hope you have a blessed, peaceful and safe time with your loved ones!