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Should Catholics celebrate Halloween?

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 11/01/18

This holiday has Catholic roots, but not all Catholics are comfortable with its modern form

You might have heard from Christian friends that you shouldn’t celebrate Halloween; they might tell you it is a holiday that glorifies demonic forces. And certainly some of the decorations and “celebrations” might prove they have a point. Still, despite its modern renditions, Halloween itself has profoundly Catholic roots. Check out this video for an in-depth take on whether Catholics should celebrate this holiday.

In an earlier time, Halloween was the first of a triduum of holy days. Called “All-hallow’s-eve,” that is, the evening before “All Hallows” or “All Saints,” it started off three days of remembering and honoring the dead. This is still true today, as Catholics celebrate the Feast of All Saints on November 1 and then the Feast of All Souls on November 2. (And don’t forget that All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation!)

Even though the religious roots of Halloween are no longer the focus, the modern celebration of this day still has much of value for Catholics to enjoy. For one thing, it is the only night of the year when people dress in costume and go door-to-door soliciting treats, a custom which itself dates back to the Middle Ages. Indeed, in many neighborhoods, this may be the one day that you actually meet your neighbors, as the community comes together for some good old-fashioned fun. Furthermore, for Catholics in particular, Halloween can be seen as a time to remember our triumph over the devil through Jesus Christ’s Resurrection.

But if the roots of the day aren’t enough, and the gory and creepy elements turn you off to celebrating this day, no need to worry—go with the alternative option for Catholics. Reclaim the observance of All Saints Day, and have children dress up as their favorite saints. By joyfully celebrating the triumph of the saints in Heaven, children can be encouraged to stick closely to Jesus as the saints did, recalling that death no longer has victory over us thanks to Christ and his sacrifice.

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