Students dressed in costumes attend the annual Halloween carnival at Santa Cruz Catholic School in Tucson, Ariz., Oct. 24. CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec

Speaking Out: How to make Halloween holy

By  Christina Donati, Speaking Out
  • October 27, 2017
When I was a child, my favourite part about Halloween was stopping at the “magnet lady’s house.”

Unlike everyone else handing out candy, this woman would give children homemade fridge magnets with pictures of animals and a Bible passage. She would allow the kids to come in and pick one of the many different kinds to put in their treat bag.

I loved these so much that I made sure my mom took my brothers and me to her house every year. This was one way I included my religion into my modern Halloween celebration.

Some Catholics believe that Halloween is a day that praises the devil and demonstrates that evil is able to consume all that is good. I am sure those who believe this will question me when I say that Halloween is actually a day of religious praise.

Halloween actually derives from “All Hallows’ Eve,” which is another way of saying the night before All Saints’ Day. “Hallow” is an old English word for “saint” and it is often used to describe something becoming holy. Therefore, Halloween is meant to be preparation for All Saints’ Day, which is a Holy Day of Obligation.

Unlike the costume tradition, the main focus of this time of year is to appreciate the saints, the heroes of Christianity. There are still ways to do this while embracing Halloween’s modern traditions as well.

When I was younger and dressed up to trick-or-treat, I never thought about the ways in which I could bring in traditional religious Halloween celebrations. After finding out about Halloween’s origins, there are a few ways I will celebrate this holiday differently from now on.

I don’t believe we need to demolish the modern Halloween celebrations, but it’s also important for us to include a new practise on Oct. 31 to honour our religion.

Now that I know All Saints’ Day is about appreciating the saints and their good deeds, I will also do good deeds in their honour on Oct. 31.

For example, I plan to donate clothes to a local shop that will re-sell them. I also plan to donate food to a shelter in order to help those in need.

By doing these small deeds, I am honouring the saint’s work while also celebrating Halloween. It’s important to acknowledge that the true meaning of Halloween is to celebrate Christ’s triumph over evil, the saints’ goodwill and good deeds, and our own ability to triumph over evil.

Halloween is not a day to be feared and it is not a day to praise the devil. Halloween is a religious evening preparing for All Saints’ Day, so we can allow ourselves to embrace it and bring the traditional religious customs back to celebrate Halloween in its true form.

(Donati, 22, is a fourth-year English and sociology student at Western University in London, Ont.)

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