As a proud graduate of Catholic grade school, I vividly remember going to class dressed up as a saint in the week leading up to Halloween. I also remember feeling excited, but also a bit annoyed. Any day not in my uniform was a win, but all of my public school friends got to wear their actual Halloween costumes. And although I knew St. Francis was pretty cool, I’m not sure I would have chosen to dress like him over Woody from Toy Story, if given the choice.
Looking back on those memories and seeing pictures of my little cousins, nephews, and nieces dressed up as saints this year, I’m struck by how much more inspirational the Christian’s Halloween can be vs. the main-stream “annual fright fest”, as Fr. Steve Grunow at Word on Fire describes it.
Without Jesus, we go out tonight with smiles and empty baskets just to wake up tomorrow with frowns pointing to tummy aches and masking cavities in the making. We work up a willing suspension of disbelief as we put on our Stranger Things costumes, our Netflix & Chill signs, or our Joker makeup, but we wake up realizing that it was an empty charade, only alive until the sweaty costumes come off. Next up? 3 weeks until Thanksgiving, or for the more aggressive, time for Christmas music.
But we know as Christians that that is not the fullness of the reality we embrace. Our big event is not tonight, but tomorrow. Halloween after all is “All Hallows Eve”. The eve of what? All Saints Day, that sneaky holy day of obligation where we celebrate all those that have answered God’s call to know, love, and serve him in this life so that they could be with Him in the next.
What’s so inspirational about that? Well no matter how many times I wore my Woody costume, I knew that I would never become him. Our Christian faith however, calls us to believe that by embracing the lives of the saints, we can actually receive the grace to join them in the everlasting joy of heaven. After all, isn’t that the whole point, that we are all called to strive to become saints?
Now of course there is nothing wrong with going out and having fun tonight, but as you prepare, here are 3 quick ways you can keep one eye fixed on continuing to let God hallow your evening.
- Go out with a full basket – In addition to going out with an empty basket to collect your candy , consider also bringing a full basket of food to a local homeless shelter or handing out food to those you see living on the street.
- Remember those without neighborhoods – You will see many happy families out and about tonight, but what about the parents of those parents? Consider making a stop on your trick-or-treating route at a local retirement home. On top of the fact that you will make their day, remember that Jesus tells us that it is the little ones that bear the face of God. Help those that are confined see Him today.
- Pray with those that aren’t around to go trick-or-treating anymore – There are no doubt many people who we know and love that are no longer with us. Before you go out, take the time to pray in thanksgiving for their impact on your life. If you are in a rush, I might suggest a 5 minute Hallow session from the Gratitude praylist
God Bless and Happy Halloween,
BONUS – You can visit www.hallow.com/halloween today or tomorrow for a free 30-day trial of Hallow Plus