Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Glenn
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Posted: Oct 05 2005 at 9:53pm | IP Logged Quote Glenn

So, what do Catholic families do for Halloween? We have been avoiding it, but this year with the children being old enough to notice, we feel a need to something, but want something Catholic. Any ideas to share?
Thanks

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Posted: Oct 05 2005 at 11:53pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Good question, Glenn. We do participate in All Hallow's Eve activities - like we let the kid's trick-or-treat in the neighborhood with us along and we carve jack-o-lanterns. We don't do or promote any of the scary aspects of Halloween in celebrations or decorations. We focus on it being the eve of All Saint's Day. Our local Catholic homeschool community usually has an All Saint's Party with fun and games associated with the saints. Our kid's really enjoy this. Hopefully people will post all the great ideas to incorporate for an event like this.

I really like this Faith Fact from Catholics United for the Faith - All Hallow's Eve as I think it does a good job of discussing this topic - celebrating Halloween as Catholics. It presents it as being okay to celebrate or to choose not to. Each family makes that decision, but it clarifies that it is okay for a Catholic family to do Halloween if they choose to.

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Posted: Oct 06 2005 at 2:39am | IP Logged Quote ALmom

We get together with other Catholic families and have an All Saints Party with games, a litany and procession of dressed up Saints to include a guess the Saints portion.

We have holy cards, and candy as prizes.

We have had various crafts, identify the Saints, catechism type questions and regular games.

We also include a prayer card with all the deceased relatives of participants and we exchange these to include prayers on All Souls and throughout November for our own deceased relatives and friends, but also the one on the card we get.

Janet
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Mary G
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Posted: Oct 06 2005 at 6:39am | IP Logged Quote Mary G

Halloween is always a bit different down here in the Bible belt -- most of the Protestant churches have "harvest festivals" and "harvest parties".

In our neighborhood (we've lived here 2 years) we've never had any trick-or-treaters, which makes it a bit easier for us to avoid Halloween (altho we always seem to have a plethora of the kind of candy I like , just in case we do get t-&-t'ers) and celebrate All Saints Day with a party -- this year co-op is doing a party at Church with costume contest etc.....

I grew up in San Francisco in a very Catholic family and yet Halloween was never an issue -- we dressed up, went t-&-t'ing in the neighborhood, and had parties at home. But here in the South it's always such an issue, and since many of the Catholic hs'ers here don't "do" Halloween, we do All Saint's Day....

Blessings

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Kelly
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Posted: Oct 07 2005 at 8:24pm | IP Logged Quote Kelly

Well, here, we trick or treat. We never do ghoulish costumes, though, and like Mary M. in Denver, we concentrate on the real reason for the holiday. Our homeschool group usually has an All Saint's Day party, too, so we get to "suit up" TWICE! My kids love costumes.    For Halloween evening, we carve lots of "Eucharistic Pumpkins" ----pumpkins with symbols of Christ, Mary and the Church, which we put out along side the requisite happy-face j jack-o-lantern pumpkins. Another thing we do in the days preceding Halloween is look up the symbols for various saints, make the symbol out of construction paper, with the words " Saint ___ Pray for us!" and put it up in the front window for all the trick-or-treaters to see. If we have holy cards for that saint, we'll often attach that to the symbol, as well. We'll intersperse our saints symbols with pumpkins, autumn leaves, maybe a bat or two and spiders made out of handprints, that sort of thing.

In the past, we always loved doing Halloween parties, but we ultimately came up with a b better substitute. We celebrate All Soul's Day, Novemeber 2, Mexican style. We put up paper calaveras, skulls, in bright colors with Mexican designs on them, as well as lots of neon colored streamers, saints votive candles (from the grocery store, for 2.99 each and papel picado, paper cutouts. We make Mexican sugar skulls. We put out all our Eucharistic pumpkins, have a pinata, (filled with candy, holy cards, pencils reading "ALL SOULS DAY", NOV 2" rosaries)and put out plates of "soul cakes"---donuts as well as Mexican food. I decorate with orange, purple--- and pink lights (the purple and pink get reused for Advent!). Lastly, I copied and enlarged a brightly colored article on Mexican All Soul's Day to explain the meaning of the holiday...and then invite all our Protestant neighbors, as well as the homeschool group.

The above is the Full Monty. If we want to do something small, we simply make paper calaveras to decorate the kitchen, have our own pinata, eat Mexican food, and have an inhouse saints costume competition contest. Often we go to visit and clean up the cemetary. And we keep our Eucharistic Pumpkins out thru. Nov. 2!

By all these activities, we like to think we're baptising the holiday, and maybe providing a witness in
a small way.

Kelly in FL
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Lisa R
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Posted: Oct 08 2005 at 11:54am | IP Logged Quote Lisa R

Wow! What great ideas!

Thanks for asking and posting.

Blessings,
Lisa

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Posted: Oct 08 2005 at 2:21pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

We enjoy Halloween, too, and try to keep it historically accurate (and Christian). Here's a recipe for "Soul Cakes":

Ingredients:
Two sticks butter
3 and 3/4 cups sifted flour
1 cup fine white sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
1 teaspoon each, cinnamon, ginger, allspice
2 eggs
2 teaspoons malt vinegar (or cider vinegar)

Oven: 350 degrees bake 20-25 minutes

Method: Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender (or a large fork); Blend in the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and spice; and mix to a stiff dough with the beaten eggs and vinegar. Knead thoroughly and roll out, 1/4 inch thick; cut into 3 inch rounds and set on greased baking sheets. Prick cakes with a fork and bake; sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar while still warm.

And here's the Souling Song to go with it (the harmonies we know are from this Watersons' CD):

A soul,a soul, a soul cake!
Please, good missus, a soul cake!
An apple a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry!
One for Peter two for Paul,
Three for Him that made us all.
The lanes are very dirty, my shoes are very thin.
I've got a little pocket I can put a penny in.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God Bless You!
A soul, a soul, a soul cake!
Please, good missus, a soul cake!
An apple a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry!
One for Peter two for Paul,
Three for Him that made us all.

The Waterson's music is a bit like human bag pipes...click on the link to hear a sample.

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Posted: Oct 08 2005 at 5:59pm | IP Logged Quote Kelly

Oh yes, the Soul Cake song! When we do the Big Version of the All Souls Day party, we print that out, too, and post it next to the Soul Cakes. Another subtle evangelical tool baptising the Holy Day!

Kelly in FL
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Posted: Oct 09 2005 at 1:13pm | IP Logged Quote Glenn


Oh these are great ideas! Thanks ladies! I can't wait to try the soul cakes!
Glenn

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Posted: Oct 09 2005 at 11:26pm | IP Logged Quote teachingmom

We do Halloween here. In the early years, when we first started trick or treating, I had the girls dress up as saints. We also regularly held an All Saints party with our playgroup back then.

When my oldest was around 2nd grade, she began begging to be allowed to dress up as something else. Dh and I decided that this was not a "hill we were willing to die on", so we began to allow other wholesome costumes too. And I must admit that it has remained a fun and safe holiday for us. Most of our costumes have been those of characters from books we have read or people from historical periods we have studied. The girls really enjoy planning who they would like to be for Halloween--they usually start throwing around ideas beginning in late August or early September. I always remind them that it's way too early to make costumes then, and we wait until around now to put something together in earnest.

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Posted: Oct 10 2005 at 8:31am | IP Logged Quote momwise

Check out this article:Taking Back our Holy Halloween

Katherine Andes talks about the little messages they printed out for the kids to give away as they Trick-or-treated. We did this a couple of times and it was a big hit. They say "Thank you for the treat. My family and I will be praying for you and the souls of your dearly departed loved ones during the month of November. Happy All Saints Day and happy All Souls Day!"

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Posted: Oct 10 2005 at 12:00pm | IP Logged Quote teachingmom

Another idea that my sister-in-law and brother-in-law do each year is to give out holy cards along with the candy to the children who come trick or treating to their home. She told me just yesterday about meeting a woman for the first time recently in her community. The woman said, "I know who you are! You always give out holy cards each Halloween. My kids love it!"

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Posted: Oct 11 2005 at 2:36am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

For anyone who didn't follow the earlier thread about Non-American Catholic Traditions there is discussion of Day of the Dead celebrations and resources in the last several posts of the thread.


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Posted: Oct 13 2005 at 9:48am | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

Mexgrocer has great stuff for Day of the Dead, including recipes, or ready made treats.

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Posted: Oct 16 2005 at 4:02pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

teachingmom wrote:
We do Halloween here. In the early years, when we first started trick or treating, I had the girls dress up as saints. We also regularly held an All Saints party with our playgroup back then.

When my oldest was around 2nd grade, she began begging to be allowed to dress up as something else. Dh and I decided that this was not a "hill we were willing to die on", so we began to allow other wholesome costumes too. And I must admit that it has remained a fun and safe holiday for us.


Interesting, Irene. I'm glad you shared that. I co-wrote an article on ideas for Sanctifying Halloween years ago. It's all over the Internet. But I'm rethinking some of my "stances."

I love Kelly and MacBeth's ideas...and we implemented many. I want to do more of the Day of the Dead stuff. Growing up by the time I was in 2nd grade my mother and her sister decided that Halloween wasn't good, and we needed to make it All Hallows Eve, with everything having a Catholic bent. We had fun, but we were also wierdos and ostracized from other parties and people because we were different. I had fun dressing up as saints, and we did some great parties. But now I think we were "too" Catholic...and eschewed even innocent fun.

I was remarking today to my husband that he has brought a positive attitude about Halloween into our family, and I appreciate it. He came from Small Town USA where everything was a wholesome and family environment. Halloween was good clean fun. Costumes were fun, not ghoulish or scary (and there are a lot of options out there!) and trick or treating all over the neighborhood and Jack O'Lanterns of course.

I don't need to retreat from some of the traditional innocent aspects of Halloween. We are carving pumpkins, dressing up other than saints and "trick or treating" (dh calls it "Halloweening"). I'm emphasizing pumpkins while son is small...we'll see where we go as he grows.

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Posted: Oct 16 2005 at 4:23pm | IP Logged Quote alicegunther

momwise wrote:
They say "Thank you for the treat. My family and I will be praying for you and the souls of your dearly departed loved ones during the month of November. Happy All Saints Day and happy All Souls Day!"


I love this idea, Gwen. Thank you for posting it.

Love, Alice

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Posted: Oct 16 2005 at 7:57pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

Our parish announced a Fear and Faith event...family potluck and activity night, including costumes, followed by a teen only "lock-in." (Chaperoned, naturally! And, our church building is very tiny, so there is really nowhere for mischief to occur.) Everyone's very excited about this event.

We also have a tradition of asking children to dress as saints on the Sunday closest to All Saints, and they come up after Mass to explain their saints. This year, our CCD coordinator has added the option of drawing an icon of a favorite saint (for those too shy to dress up). My animal-loving daughter is considering a Saint Genevieve costume, because she began life as a shepherdess and is usually shown as one in paintings.

Well...she couldn't go as St. Francis...so I tried hard to find a female animal-loving role model!!!



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Posted: Oct 24 2005 at 3:40pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Kelly wrote:
We make Mexican sugar skulls.


We just bought some molds today to make sugar skulls and I went on-line to find instructions and coloring ideas. This Mexican Sugar Skull page is loaded with info (recipes, supplies, other things related to Day of the Dead).

The molds we bought are not the ones from this page - they are the half skulls and we may end up making (white) chocolate ones instead of the actaul sugar skulls. Kelly, what do you use to decorate them? Do you to frosting or actually use the foil and sequins and such? Any hints?

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Posted: Oct 24 2005 at 11:31pm | IP Logged Quote ladybugs

I have a story that I thought was really funny but not funny enough to post on the Funny Story thread....

But...

Today, outside, I was reading Maria Molina and the Day of the Dead to the kids. I think it was recommended by Kelly here...

Anyway, I said, "So, who can we remember and celebrate who has died?"

Sophia says, "Gigi!" (who was my maternal grandmother).

Isabella pipes up, "Peter Jennings!"

The interesting thing here is that we rarely watch the news...but one Sunday night, on the eve of his passing, as we were watching Extreme Homemakeover, the news team of ABC interrupted the show and reported Jennings' death...we mentioned that it was important to pray for his soul...

Obviously, she didn't forget!

Thanks for sharing these resources, ladies.



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Posted: Oct 25 2005 at 2:49pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

That's sweet! Children are so thoughtful!

I gave this link to Glitter Pumpkins in the pumpkins thread, but just checked again and saw that pictures were posted. These are so pretty!

How about a different kind of Jack-0-lantern? or Jar-o-lanterns?

Florence Berger has some wonderful ideas for Halloween or Nutcrack Night that I love to read and implement.

And how about Apple Dolls for a fun Halloween craft?

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