Halloween, often feared by Evangelicals, is not the satanic celebration of evil it is sometimes portrayed to be. Catholics know this is a day to celebrate, not to frighten. In that vein, Catholic Christians often choose to dress as saints or other characters we admire, as well as poking a bit of fun at the devil. After all, he has already lost the battle; Jesus Christ the Savior was victorious when he became man and dwelt among us. He even allowed the devil to tempt him, as an illustration of the power of light over darkness.
The eve of October 31st, as well as the days of November 1st and 2nd, are unofficially called the “Days of the Dead” – these are the days we pray for or remember those no longer dwelling on this earth. We celebrate all the Saints in Heaven All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows’) on the evening of October 31 and November 1st. Then, on the day after All Hallows’, we remember the saved souls who are in Purgatory being purged of the temporal effects of the sins committed during their lifetime, before they can enter Heaven.
t might be beneficial to look at these three days of Halloween as follows:
- October 31 – Halloween (All Hallows Eve) recalls the reality of hell and reminds us to consider ways to avoid it. Damned souls are remembered as a warning and the faithful vow not to join them. Many Catholics attend Mass on the evening of this day as a fulfillment of their All Saints Day obligation. This is also the evening that many children dress up and collect sweet treats from neighbors and friends.
- November 1 – All Saints Day is officially a Holy Day of Obligation. The Church Triumphant is recognized on this day by recalling great saints as well as those uncanonized saints not known to us.
- November 2 – While not a Holy Day of Obligation, we remember to pray for the Church Suffering – those souls who are still in Purgatory – on All Souls Day. Remembering our deceased loved ones during this time, and having a Mass said for them, is a Corporal Work of Mercy.
The Origin of All Saints Day
The earliest form of All Saints Day was originally celebrated on May 13. As it has been since the 300’s, this is still the case in some Eastern Churches. Initially, only the martyrs were commemorated, but by 741, all saints had been included. Read more…