1. Costumes chosen should be of saints. Each child should prepare a short synopsis of his saint for a guessing game later in the party. Costumes can be very simple, with just a symbol for the saint, or very elaborate, depending on the time and the enthusiasm of the family. Many books on the lives of the saints give pictures and having the child do his own research to find the saint that he wants to dress up as will help him learn about them.
2. The festivities begin with a Rosary. If said before the Vigil Mass, can be Eucharistic in meditation. Otherwise, it is prayed for the poor souls, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the saints. This is the Communion of Saints at work! The "De Profundis" follows.
3. There follows a candlelight procession, while singing the Litany of the Saints, to the graveyard. If one is not able to go to a real cemetery, you can create your own "graveyard." There must be 4 tombstones or gravemarkers:
1. Departed Family;
2. Departed Friends;
3. Departed Clergy;
4. Forgotten Dead.
At each tombstoneis lay red berries and an evergreen branch to symbolize the Passion of Christ which wrought eternal life for us. Then the Church prayers for each group are said after the berries, etc. are deposited. There may be a "Poor Soul" from Purgatory present or a "damned soul" after for a fearful reminder of the loss of sanctifying grace.
4. Games--any which are suitable, i.e. guessing the names of the saints of some of the children, and /or a play, preferably with feast day significance. For older children, a scavenger hunt could be organized, with different groups going around the
neighborhood searching for items on the list, instead of "Trick or Treating." If the setting is appropriate, a bonfire, or even just a fireplace could provide the right setting for a sing-along and/or marshmallow roast.
5. Refreshments include traditional soul cakes (see "Cooking for Christ" by Florence Berger), donuts, popcorn, cider, nuts, apples. Remind the children to pray for the dead as a return for the snacks. Some food may be left in the graveyard and adds an
interesting touch when the children get ready to leave and the food is gone.
6. Singing or reciting of the "Dies Irae" in English. Then the children get a bag of candy to take home. On the bag should be some reminder that the treats of this world are passing--a reminder to the child whenever he partakes of his candy. Each bag and admonition can be individualized for each child. For example: "Take care to store your 'treats' in heaven." "These earthly treats will pass away. Be mindful to store your treasure in heaven." (Some children may need reminders to share, etc.) The candy is saved for All Saints Day, when the Church rejoices with all the saints in celebration. The bags can be distributed with an element of the scary so as to end in excitement. The order may be changed in the schedule. But it is important that there is a penitential note to the party so that the real celebration is All Saints Day. If the party is at home, a sign to remind all to pray for the dead, as well as red berries and
evergreen should decorate the inside and outside. Jack-o-lanterns are appropriate also. The adults should take part fully too, either in saints' garb or by being the Damned Departed for a touch of scare. A room for "Hell" can be created. A sign "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" is above the door. A sheet covers the doorway and a silouette of Satan stands with a light behind it, creating a life size demon. Eerie music or noises can be played in the background. This reminds the children of the ever present reality of Hell.
On All Saints Day, you can celebrate after Mass by wearing the costumes again, as well as a special dinner and dessert. Games may be played also. The Litany of the Saints should be prayed after the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. There can be a discussion of the beatitudes or some other applicable theme.
All Souls Day should also be sober, reminding the children to make sacrifices for the dead. At least one Mass should be attended and the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary prayed. A visit to the graveyard can gain a plenary indulgence as well as teach a vivid and interesting lesson.
SUGGESTED TIME SCHEDULE FOR A HALLOWEEN PARTY
6:30: Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary for the souls in purgatory through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints. Conclude with the "De Profundis":
Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
O let Thine ears consider well: the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall abide it?
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and because of Thy law I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath waited on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night:
let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him is plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel: from all his iniquities.
Glory be to the Father, etc.
7:00: Procession to the graveyard chanting the Litany of the
7:15: Prayers at the graveyard for deceased family, friends,
clergy, and forgotten dead. Berries and evergreen are left on
each grave to symbolize that it is Christ's Passion and Death
which brings to us Eternal Life.
7:30: Procession home singing "Dies Irae."
7:45: Refreshments. Tableau of the Communion of Saints. Games--
Who Am I?
8:30: Children receive bagged candy and depart.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
LITANY RESPONSES: HAVE MERCY ON US; PRAY FOR US; DELIVER US, O LORD; WE BESEECH THEE HEAR OUR PRAYER.
SUGGESTED SCRIPT FOR THE POOR SOUL IN PURGATORY:
A "poor soul(s)" dresses in long dark robes and paints face gruesomely to look dead and under torture. The "soul(s)" hides in the graveyard and waits until all the prayers are recited for the dead. The leader may give a cue such as "Remember to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. They suffer so. Are there any poor souls out there now to hear us?..."
The "Poor Soul(s)" then rattles chains and moans while still shrouded in darkness. She comes out slowly, painfully, speaking mournfully:
(Put flashlight under face when speaking)
"Children of God, (This may need to be repeated several times
until all are paying attention.) Children of God, and members of His Holy Church. We (I) have come from Purgatory to beg your prayers, and to urge you to amend your lives.
"While I lived on earth, I was forgetful of my true home in heaven. My sins were not so qrave as to condemn me to Hell, but neither did I strive to love God with my whole heart and soul, mind and will. I am now bound to suffer....(Trail off in a moan)
Oh, the sufferings I endure now in order to purify my love and make up for my sins.
"My Brothers and Sisters in the Mystical Body, begin today! to change your ways. Be obedient to your parents and to the Church. Pray! Pray much!! Especially assist at Holy Mass and receive the sacraments often. Pray the Rosary and wear the Scapular. You must make up for your sins and the sins of others now, before you die, by making sacrifices and offering up your daily duty. Remember, it is in the Cross that we most resemble Jesus, our Savior. And finally, love His Vicar on earth, Pope John Paul II, and His Blessed Mother Mary, who is our Mother, too. "I must leave you now to return to my temporary prison of suffering. How I long for Heaven" (Here moan a little.) Then shout: "Pray for me! Pray for all the faithful departed! REPENT NOW!!!!" (Trail off)
Turn flashlight off and hide in darkness again.
KNOW YOUR SAINTS
1. I am the apostle to the Gentiles whose letters you read in the Bible. ___________________________________________________
2. I am the first American citizen to be canonized whose work among the immigrants gave me the title of 'Patron of All Immigrants. '_______________________________________________
3. I am the Carmelite saint whose 'Little Way shows us how offering joys and sorrows daily can make us a great saint.
4. I am the foster father of Christ and the patron of a happy death. ______________________________________________________
5. I am the cousin of Jesus who prepared the way for the Lord.
6. I am the woman who offered my veil to wipe Jesus' face when He was carrying His cross.
7. I am the apostle chosen by Christ to be head of His Church.
8. I am the missionary who made Ireland famous for its piety and learning. _______________________________________________________
9. I am the beloved apostle and the writer of the fourth gospel.
10. I am the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose baby was Presanctified.
11. I am the patron saint of music because I sang the praises of God while I was cruelly put to death.
12. I am the modern day saint who chose martyrdom rather than to be impure. ______________________________________________________
13. I am the mother of the Blessed Virqin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. ___________________________________________
14. I am the valiant young girl who led France to victory over England and then suffered death by being burned at the stake.
15. I am the 'Little Poverino' whose order is now the largest in the world and who so resembled Christ in my life that I was privileged to bear His sacred wounds in my own body.
16. I am the 'Wonder Worker' of Padua and a Doctor of the Church.
17. I am the Patron saint of schools who was once called the Dumb Ox by my classmates but who wrote many treatises on the faith. My teach was St. Albert the Great.
18. I am the saint who reformed the Carmelite Order and who became the first woman Doctor of the Church.
19. I am the simple parish priest of Ars who was tormented by the devil because my great sanctity brought my people closer to God. ________________________________________________________________
20. I am the Visitation nun to whom Jesus appeared showing His Sacred Heart and to whom He delivered His message of love and plea for reparation.
St. Therese of Lisieux
St. Joan of Arc
St. John the Baptist
St. John, Apostle
St. Margaret Mary
St. Maria Goretti
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. John Vianney
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Francis of Assisi
* 20 point bonus for those who know the century in which their
saint lived. ________________________________________________
* 5 points for each piece of information you know about your
For more or different ideas, consult the following books:
"The Year and Our Children," by Mary Reed Newland
"We and Our Children," by Mary Reed Newland
"Cooking for Christ," by Florence Berger
"The Holyday Book," by Francis X. Weiser, S.J.
"Book of Feasts and Seasons" by Joanna Bogle