Parents do you dislike Halloween? Maybe you don’t like the ghoulish aspects or the sexy costumes. You don’t want your kids to miss the fun of dressing up and trick or treating; you just want to avoid the profane parts of Halloween. Well, why not have take the holiday back to its roots? The point of All Hallows Eve was to ward off evil before the Catholic celebration of All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1. So why not celebrate Halloween as All Saints Eve? Here’s an All Saints Day (or Eve) party planner with Catholic saints costumes, games, crafts, activities and treats. Ask your parish coordinator if you can host it at church. Ask the priest to say mass and bless the children.
Have an All Saints Day costume party. Children love the dress up part of Halloween, so help them create Catholic saints and Bible character costumes. Here are some suggestions this author has made: John the Baptist, King Melchoir, St. Michael, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Nicholas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Joan of Arc, Helen of the Cross, St. Vincent de Paul, Miriam (sister of Moses) and St. Joseph the Worker. Children can process to the front of the church for a blessing. The commentator reads the list of saints who are present at mass (kids love that part).
Host a candy hunt. Hide candy around the parish hall as you do Easter eggs. Or let kids Trunk or Treat in the parking lot. This helps children not to feel left out from trick-or-treat fun. Remind children that Jesus is the sweetest treat of all and he doesn’t pull any tricks!
Play Catholic SAINT bingo. Use free printable bingo cards and customize using S-A-I-N-T instead of bingo. Use saints names in squares. Give out holy cards or religious medals as prizes.
Play All Saints Day musical chairs. Set 12 chairs in two rows, back to back or in a circle facing outward. Play “When the Saints Go Marching In” or “For All the Saints.” When you stop the music, the 13 players must scramble for a chair. Remove a chair each time. Winners get icons or saints’ statues.
Have a Catholic All Saints Day cake walk. Arrange 12 chairs in a circle. Attach a different saint’s holy card or coloring page of a saint to the back of each chair with putty. Put the names of each saint in a hat and pull out a name. The person sitting on the chair with that saint gets a little Bible, rosary or children’s missal. All the other players get to keep the saint holy card or coloring page. Attach a new round of images each time you play. Children can choose a different saint each time and might end up with a set of holy cards or coloring pages.
Make Catholic saints crafts. Here are free printable saints coloring pages. Children color pictures and cut out saints. When completed, arrange in a saints banner, with paper dolls “holding hands.” Or make a mural or quilt of from kids’ coloring pages of saints.
Have an All Saints Day scavenger hunt. List common Catholic saints and symbols associated with them: Bird (feather), rock, cup, cross, wood, shamrock, book, Bible, rose, water, stick, piece of cloth, nail, fish and others. Hide symbols. Children work in teams to find items.
St. Peter’s Fishers of Men: Set up a wading pool with a little fishing game. Put numbers on the bottom of each fish. The number indicates the prize. Give Swedish Fish as prizes.
Saints mini golf. Label large yogurt tubs with a Bible good guy or saint: Jesus, Mary, St. Peter, St. Paul, John the Baptist, St. Anne, the Good Samaritan. Arrange them like a mini golf course. Kids throw balls into buckets. Use candy as prizes.
Host a service project. In keeping with the gospel, collect items for charity or missions as an admittance fee. Find out from your church missions committee where missionaries are and what they need. Teach kids about the countries where people serve and the history of the people there. Kids get valuable social studies lessons. Have a shoe box packing party for Operation Christmas Child. Instead of another getting holiday, make this a giving one. Collect items for shoe boxes to donate. Check the website for gift ideas
Make St. Francis of Assisi bird feeders to cheer lonely senior citizens. Collect pine cones and roll in peanut butter and bird seed. Attach a string for hanging. Get a list of shut-in parishioners from the parish office. Deliver your presents after the party.
Serve saintly party treats: Make ice cream “Sundays.” Serve guardian angel food cake. Decorate cookies with saints’ symbols. Make personal pizzas designed like religious symbols.