Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016

Some might think that the seriously religious wouldn't celebrate Halloween (All Hallow's Eve) at all, or that it is a minor celebration, but the truth is that this week is one of the biggest in the Catholic liturgical calendar! We are taking three days off of school for it!

Christ the King is on October 30, which helps remind us that Chris is King over all worlds: our earthly world and all of the afterlife. October 31 is the vigil of the feast of All Saints, and we Catholics celebrate vigils big! Halloween reminds us of the realities of hell, hence some of the frightening costumes (although I find very gory decorations on houses distasteful and disturbing). Then November 1--a holy day of obligation for us Catholics--is the Feast of All Saints, when we celebrate those souls in heaven. Lastly, November 2 is the Feast of All Souls, when we pray for the holy souls in purgatory, still suffering but on their way to heaven.

So, around our house, November 1 is the big day of celebration, not Halloween. But this year we've been given the opportunity to learn what it really means to honor the dead and comfort those left behind. Chris' dear Uncle Steve passed away on Saturday, and his funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, which means our children will be missing our parish's giant All Saints party. However, Chris and I felt that this was too important of a lesson: if this trio of days is about remembering the realities of the afterlife, if it is a corporal work of mercy to 'bury for the dead' (which includes attending their funerals) and a spiritual work of mercy to 'pray for the dead', if I've organized a Wednesday field trip for all us homeschoolers to go to a cemetery and pray for the dead . . . then we have to meet our first family obligation, which is to attend the funeral of our loved, departed family member.

Now, kids are kids, and having to miss an anticipated annual party is painful, so Mama and Daddy tried to make this a little sweeter by hosting an All Hallow's Eve party at our home: so fun!

I had about 24 hours' notice for this idea, but I got two dear families to join us (14 kids total) and set up many classic party games around the house using all household objects and lots of the children's ingenuity. Party games; pizza, wings, and salad; and trick-or-treating: what's not to love?

We arranged the games in various areas of the house--the beautiful back deck not being available to us because an animal died underneath the deck, causing the area to smell putrid . . . although that sort of adds to the Halloween ambiance, right?

Dining Room

  • Musical Chairs
  • Cotton Ball Race (transfer cotton balls from one bowl to another with a spoon and while blindfolded)
  • Mystery Bag

The cotton ball race and musical chairs were the top most popular games!

Last two men standing: one chair


  • St. Peter's Fishing (fish for candy behind a blanket)
  • Relay race to draw a pumpkin face

Bonus Room

  • Memory (ten items on a tray)
  • Hot-and-Cold Finding Game
  • Drop in the Jar (dropping wooden bead in a jar from a height)


  • Castle Knock Down (knocking down a stack of paper towels with a ball)
  • Bean Bag Toss
  • Follow the Leader

Games Available to Play After Dinner, if there was extra time before trick-or-treating . . . but kids just ended up playing in the back yard

  • I Spy
  • Parachute Play
  • 20 Questions

Our Costumes:

  • John (9): Bl. Pier Giorgio
  • Mary (7): St. Veronica--she made her own Jesus veil following these directions
  • Margaret (5): St. Queen Elizabeth of Hungary
  • Joseph (3): a soldier--He actually thought that everybody believed he was a real soldier, and that he would have to take off his costume so that they "would know I'm really Josey." (Melt this mama's heart!)
  • Thomas (1): a lobster

I just realized that I forgot to light the candles in the pumpkins!

The baby wailed most of the time we were trick-or-treating such that I left early to go home and tuck him into bed.

Trick or treating

It was an unexpectedly super fun night. Truly, I feel that my two older children will not feel bad at all about missing the All Saints party tomorrow (and they're always up for a road trip with Daddy).

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