A Christian Perspective
on Halloween:

by Fr. Richard Lonsdale, 1996

Some people think that Halloween celebrates evil and should be banned. Just the opposite is true!

"Halloween" is a short form of the words "All Hallows Evening". "Hallow" means holy, as in "Hallowed be thy name...". So Halloween means "the evening before All Holy Ones' Day," the Christian feast of All Saints. Every Year Christians celebrate this feast on November 1. punkincata.gif

During the Middle Ages, Christians would gather in Churches for worship. They would recall the saints' victories over evil. At some of these services, the Churches would put on little plays in which they acted out Jesus' victory over Satan and his forces. The actors would wear unusual masks and costumes to act out the story.

 So, when Christians celebrate Halloween, we are really recalling that Jesus has defeated evil by His death and resurrection. We remind ourselves that with the power of FAITH and God's GRACE we can overcome evil, too. Happy Holy Evening!



The Meaning and Origin of All Saints Day

All Saints Day is a universal Christian Feast that honors and remembers all Christian saints, known and unknown. In the Western Church (esp. Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans) it is kept on November 1. The Orthodox Churches observe it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

Ephrem Syrus (d. 373) mentions a Feast dedicated the saints in his writings. St. Chrysostom of Constantinople (d. 407) was the first Christian we know of to assign the Feast to a particular day: the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Feast did not become established in the Western Church, however, until the Roman bishop Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to Christian usage as a church on May 13, 609 or 610. The Feast was observed annually on this date until the time of Bishop of Rome, Gregory III (d. 741) when its observance was shifted to Nov. 1, since on this date Gregory dedicated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter's to "All the Saints." It was Gregory IV (d. 844), who in 835 ordered the Feast of All Saints to be universally observed on Nov. 1.

All Souls Day

All Souls' Day is a Roman Catholic holyday commemorating the faithful departed. It is celebrated on November 2 unless this date falls on a Sunday. When this happens, All Souls' Day is celebrated on November 3.

Odilo, abbot of Cluny, established All Souls' Day in the eleventh century. The day purposely follows All Saints' Day in order to all faithful Christians who have died.

Christian Pumpkin

A woman was asked by a coworker,
"What is it like to be a Christian?"
The co-worker replied, "It is like being a pumpkin! God picks you from
 the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then he
 cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the
seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."
Halloween Novena

October 25: After Sun down, open your pumpkin. Take the seeds out and soak them for a hour. Dry them over night and bake them after Sun set on the 26th.

October 26: Carve the fist eye. (Pray for the gift of sight)

October 27: Carve the 2nd eye. (Pray for the gift of creation)

October 28: Carve the nose. (Pray for the gift of smell)

October 29: Carve the mouth. (Pray for the gift of speech)

October 30: Carve a small hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. (Pray to be open for light-grace to come within)

October 31: Take off the top of the pumpkin and place a small amount of earth on the bottom of the pumpkin. This is a reminder of where this gift came from, mother earth. Place a lighted candle on a plate and put the pumpkin over it. Let the face shine out towards all to see. This reminder is that we to will shine out to others. Drop a small amount of water on the sides of the pumpkin this is a reminder of refreshment. Now you can eat the pumpkin seeds that where baked on the 26th.

November 1: All Saints Day. Carve a cross on the back of your pumpkin. At sun set light the candle again with the cross shining towards all to see. 

November 2: Take the pumpkin, open the top and drop in names of dead relatives and friends you love. Take the pumpkin and bury it. Give the earth back what it gave to you.
Ed Arambasich, Jr. 10/25/02
A Prayer for Autumn Days

 

God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.
God of autumn, the trees are letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored mosaic on the ground, our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. May we always recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.
God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.
God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all this, we are grateful.         
 (Anonymous)