All Hallow’s Eve: A Halloween Manifesto

There have been a few divisive camps among Catholics as to how best to celebrate Halloween.

  1. Some let their kids dress up as ghouls and ghosts, seeing no harm in it.
  2. Some view it as a way to “laugh at the devil” and the power of death.  We have a desire to encounter the frightening, but in a safe way, as both of these last to links will argue.
  3. Some prefer to eschew the macabre, letting their kids dress up as Saints instead, since it is the Eve of all Hallows anyway.
  4. Few abstain entirely, fortunately, since it is – of course! – a Catholic holiday (…or at least the vigil thereof).

I used to fall into the first camp, and then spent a few years in the third, before coming around to the second.  I never was in the fourth, but I want to add a fifth camp.  It’s one that I’ve argued for in the past, and it is in some ways an extension of the 2nd, but it takes it further, borrowing from Tertullian’s famous maxim:

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

Let us embrace the macabre henceforth.  It’s healthy and natural.  But let us embrace it Catholic-ly.

Many of the saints in heaven got there through martyrdom, and certainly the threat is real even today.  At the very least, punishment for holding one’s faith is coming, be it in the form of the HHS mandate forcing one to violate one’s conscience or face steep economic repercussions, or “hate crime” laws which permit they jailing of priests who teach what the Church has taught for 2000 years on the subject of homosexuality (never condemning the individual, but not approving of the practice).

Dress your kids as the martyrs – as they were martyred!  This allows for the spirit of the day to remain, and yet also for the bearing witness to the reality that people DIED, WILLINGLY for this faith!

Best part: there’s no shortness of costume ideas, or re-purposed party ideas, if you just do a bit of digging!

Costume Ideas…

There is no shortage of martyrs, so I certainly cannot be exhaustive here.  (Please share any ideas you have in the comments below!)

St. Stephen, the first Martyr, Stoned to death. A liberal use of “zombie” makeup for battered bruises and a stone to carry around could complete this ensemble.


St. Paul, beheaded. Optional: Add a plastic silver platter around the neck, and double as John the baptist.

The options for Christians martyred in the Colosseum is nearly limitless.

St. Ignatius, Martyred by the lions.
Sibling Idea: Dress Younger Siblings as the lions!

St. Sebastian, run through with arrows.

St. Philomena was a BOSS! Shot, drowned, kept coming back.

This image of St. Lucy always freaked me out as a kid. Great use for those peeled grapes!

Who could forget St. Lawrence, the Patron of Comedians, who had the audacity to quip “I’m done on this side, you can turn me over,” in the midst of his ordeal.
Bonus: Sit around the campfire in costume the night before for that authentic smell.

Party Idea (Simple)

Halloween parties are common place, but if you’re already carrying on the theme of the saints, it shouldn’t be too hard to whip up some fun ideas for party games and snacks.  Honestly, just go to Pinterest and look up Halloween snacks and games, then make them fit, thematically.  Here’s just a few ideas to get you started:

Peeled Grapes could be great “Eye’s of St. Lucy.”

Numerous saints were dismembered.  Various snack ideas could fit that.

The hand of Hippolytus who was dismembered?

Party Idea (Advanced)

A common Halloween occurrence is the haunted house, meant to terrorize and delight.

Some Christians have taken this idea and tried to make it an opportunity to scare the fear of God into others, presenting a gruesome scene of the horrors of hell, appropriately called a “Hell house.”

What I’d love to see is a heaven house.  Decorate with the saints as they were martyred.  Still gory, and yet a God filled reminder of the promise for which so many ran the race successfully.

St. Peter could greet them at the door…

What are your thoughts about this?

Love it?  Hate it?  Too gory?  Not gory enough?  Sound off in the comments below!

Like us! is a growing community of Catholic bloggers from various walks of life. To get updates, click here to like our facebook page.