Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrating All Saints on Halloween Sunday

On Sunday, while visiting an Anglican church, I noticed in their bulletin that next Sunday, after service, there would be a special event for kids. The pastor of the church, Pastor Ros, later explained there would be an "All Saints Party with treats" for children in attendance on the 31st. He made sure to emphasize, "This is NOT a Halloween party, folks, but for All Saints, which is actually on Monday."

The decision to have All Saints events instead of celebrating Halloween is an option for many, especially this year, with the ghoulish holiday falling on the holy day. From RNS:

While ghouls, witches and wizards run door-to-door for treats this Halloween, St. Michael, St. Patricia and St. Lawrence will swap candy in their basement, sharing stories of their heroic exploits. 

One child, wrapped in toilet paper, sticks out from the rest, not because he’s an Egyptian mummy but rather St. Lazarus, the dead man raised to life in the Gospel of John. 

The festivities are part of an All Saints’ Day party hosted at the Bowie, Md., home of Sam Fatzinger, a Catholic mother of 12, who wanted a more sacred alternative to Halloween. 

“It’s all about having fun in your faith. Just being a Christian and Catholic isn’t something to be embarrassed about,” she said. “We make faith come alive.” 

Fatzinger said the tradition started because the first neighborhood they lived in wasn’t the safest, but also because they wanted to highlight the religious aspects of the holiday. 

Halloween, after all, was first known as All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Saints’ Day, when Christian churches commemorate all the known and unknown saints and martyrs. 

This year especially, some families question whether it is appropriate to revel in ghouls and goblins since Halloween falls on a Sunday, the first time since 2004. Some will move Halloween celebrations altogether, to Saturday, to avoid Sunday conflicts with church. Some churches will provide more wholesome activities, such as “trunk-or treating” or harvest festivals. 

Delor Baumann, the mayor of Hueytown, Ala., started asking residents several weeks ago to shift trick-or-treating to Saturday night to avoid conflicts with churches. 

“Some people may go out trick-or-treating on Sunday night, but the majority of the people may not,” Baumann said. “This (Saturday) is just the most respected day to do it. Saturday night and Halloween go together.” 

The Yorktown Church of the Nazarene in Indiana welcomes families to its “Hallelujah Harvest,” a trick-or-treating alternative that includes a drama with 16 stations depicting biblical scenes, and candy for children. 

Janice Blankenbaker, the coordinator of the event, said it began as an effort to keep children safe during Halloween, and she was bothered by dark, gruesome Halloween costumes. 

“There ought to be something the church can do,” she said, noting that the church festival still welcomes children “in their little costumes...” 

To read the entire article, please click here.


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