“Blood”,”darkness”, “evil”: these are all words that come to mind when I think of the modern interpretation of All Hallows Eve. Like many other aspects of our culture (including health care!) Halloween, something that was once an overtly Christian holiday, has been claimed by the culture of death.

While some secular traditions, such as trick-or-treating or dressing up in costume, are not inherently wrong, they become problematic when they are done in a way that glorifies evil. There’s a great difference between dressing up as a demon and dressing up as a cowboy. As Catholics we must always be vigilant of the evil we may unwittingly invite into our lives through that which may appear innocent.  

While Halloween and All Souls Day find their origins in the ancient Druid feast, commemorating Celtic New Year, by the end of the third century November 1st came to be celebrated as a feast in honor of all martyrs who had died in early Christian persecution. And as we know today, the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1st is the day in which we honor all saints. 

As we reflect on Halloween this year and perhaps celebrate in ways that are common to our culture, such as trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving, here are some things to keep in mind to help us keep perspective and have good clean fun!

1. What is my Halloween costume communicating to those around me?

As mentioned above, it’s important to remember that while it may not be our intention to glorify evil through our dress, it’s easy to do. Sensual dress for women and gruesome choices, such as knife wielding serial killers that glorify murder have become common finds at costume shops. Consider the Christian call to practice modesty and prudence in your search for costumes!

2. Am I potentially inviting evil into my life?

Our search for Halloween entertainment can go astray when witchcraft and death become the objects of our pleasure. Whatever you and your family decide to do or watch be sure to discern if it’s spiritually safe!

3. How can my family integrate Catholicism into Halloween? 

  • Participate in the reclamation of this feast for the culture of life by honoring the saints and commemorating all the faithful departed! Consider attending Mass on both November 1st (Solemnity of All Saints) and November 2nd (All Souls Day)! 

  • Dress up as your favorite Saint in celebration of those who have answered God’s call. Remember those who have gone before us on All Souls Day, particularly if you have lost someone close to you this year! Pray for them, and honor their lives in a special way.