Once more this year the problem arises whether to celebrate Halloween on the 31st October or the Solemnity of All Saints on the 1st November. Is there something intrinsically wrong with Halloween? Is it incompatible with the Solemnity of All Saints?
Many celebrate both anniversaries without even thinking twice about it. However, a serious problem really does exist that is worthy of further consideration. To explain the problem we will make a comparison of both feasts, the inherent problem and the appropriate response should then become clear.
Halloween is the time that evokes all the forces of hell. Witches, vampires, the waking dead, ghosts and demons are all recalled on this day. By means of contrast, we celebrate the blessed souls who dwell in Paradise on All Saints Day which follows the night of Halloween.
Who are the saints? They are all the baptized who, through the sacrament of Baptism, have been made children of God. Who are the damned? Those in life who have voluntarily and deliberately refused the opportunity to accept the fatherhood and will of God.
November 1st celebrates the certainty of Eternal Life by honouring the saints who welcomed God as Father by renouncing all the seductions of Evil. Halloween, on the other hand, celebrates seduction and deception. As part of its ritual it records the story of the Irishman Jack, a trickster and drunkard from an Irish myth. He cannot enter heaven nor hell. According to the legend, he used his cunning to deceive the devil and wrested from him the promise to not take his soul to Hell upon his death. However, due to this pact with the devil, he cannot enter Heaven either and so was doomed to wonder the earth thus deprived of his eternal rest.
On 1 November we remember the Blessed in Paradise, whose lives show us that God calls men to live life to the full and he gives us a name, an identity and a mission. Halloween, on the other hand, celebrates those who are masked, hidden with no real identity or mission.
The Saints are marked with the seal of Cross because they belong to God’s family that is united in heaven and on earth. Those who live on earth and share our baptism belong to the Militant Church – those making their earthly pilgrimage. Those who are in heaven have reached their real home with God and they make up the Triumphant Church. Halloween carries with it the celebration of devils and demons who, by their nature, do not belong to the family of God. They are condemned to the loneliness and selfish isolation
The saints wear the white robe, which reminds us that Christ has clothed man with the glory of the Resurrection. During Halloween people dress in black robes and cover their faces. This symbolises life lived in darkness that cannot be seen in the light.
Therefore, to celebrate the 1st November is to celebrate the height of the Christian life. The celebration of the saints reminds us of the power of the Gospel message to change the world for the better and that, one day, we too may follow them into everlasting life!
Our recommendation: Celebrate the Feast of All Saints - celebrate Eternal Life not death! Teach our children to imitate the saints!