Did you know… the word Halloween means ‘holy evening’ and comes from All Hallow’s Eve? Traditionally it is the fast day before the feast days of All Saints (1 Nov) and All Souls (2 Nov) which are opportunities to celebrate the saints and remember those who have departed this life.
Resourcing Church, All Saints in Worcester, offers some ideas to celebrate Halloween in a positive way.
Acknowledge death and talk about resurrection.
Let all the garish and ghoulish décor become prompts to acknowledge the realities of evil and death in this world and also the reality of the resurrection of Jesus in this world. We can use the moment to talk about the victory of God and the hope of life beyond death, for example:
“Because of Jesus we don’t have to be scared anymore, the Bible says he is the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot stop the light (John 1)."
"Sure, there are bad things in this world, all is not well, yet we can be ultimately safe in God’s love. God is much, much bigger than all that.”
“That can all reminds us that each of us will die, but the wonderful thing is the love of God is stronger than death, death is not the end of the story, the last word is life.”
Celebrate the saints and receive inspiration
All Saints day is all about receiving the gift of the heroes of the faith who have gone before us. Look up an alternative bedtime story, or perhaps pick out a favourite quotation and stick it up, or stick them onto the lollypops that you might leave out for any fancy dressed visitors?
“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” - Saint Catherine of Sienna.
“Preach the Gospel, if necessary use words.” – Saint Francis
“For those who love, nothing is too difficult, especially when it is done for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Saint Ignatius of Loyola
“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” – Saint Mother Teresa
“Prayer is nothing less than being on terms of friendship with God.” - St Teresa of Avila
Remember the departed with fondness gratitude and hope
In line with the traditions of All Souls, this can be a good time to take a walk through a graveyard or light a candle, to tell stories of grandma, to show where she is buried, or to talk about where you might like to be buried. Our fear of death is treatable, and the precious tribute to love that is our grief and pain can get transfigured into gratitude. Say prayers of thanks to God for the gifts of love we have known. Go there.
Lead your street in friendship and light.
Instead of hiding away inside with the lights off, how about organising a local Halloween ‘Night of Light’ - inviting your neighbours to set out a candle or lantern display in their garden for children to walk around and spot. Perhaps you could reward those who complete the trail of light with sugary treats.
Have a glorious Halloween!