Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why our family does not participate in the usual trick or treats and halloween costume parties

Halloween is just around the corner and decorations abound wherever we go even in our neighborhood.  As usual, we see a lot of bats, spider webs, witches, and many other scary characters scattered in places that many people frequent.  It's that time of year again when I need to do a lot of expplaining to my very curious little boy why there are a lot of decors like that.  I thank the Lord that our family was able to attend the Mass at SM Cinema 4 last night as part of The Feast Sucat gathering.  It was our second time to attend The Feast in Sucat.  Fr. Larry Faraon gave a very timely homily during the Mass.  His homily affirmed me and my husband in the decision we made years ago of not participating in trick or treats  or Halloween costume parties that do not uphold the real reason for the celebration.   Let me share some of the things/points that Fr. Larry shared/raised in his homily that strengthened my resolve in this issue.
  1. Don't say it's just a harmless costume party to make kids happy and let kids enjoy.  The devil is the father of lies and he is good at deception. That is what he wants us, Christians, to think.  He wants us to think that there is nothing wrong with the practices, costumes, etc. The truth is that he is actually deceiving us believers by making us believe that he is not behind these activities so that we would be lured to participate. Fr. Larry quoted a verse from Holy Scriptures: "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)  The devil has successfully penetrated modern society by destroying this supposedly beautiful celebration.  But we can prevent this from affecting our families with a piece of advice from Fr. Larry which I will put in number two.
  2. Don't give the devil a chance to enter your hearts and your homes.  We need to be more discerning in this time and age as Christians; otherwise, we would be easily lured and conformed to the influences of our surroundings.  Fr. Larry adviced parents against dressing our kids in scary or demonic costumes and decorating our homes with things/items associated with evil spirits and the dark world because it's like inviting the enemy into our homes and our lives.  He warned us that the enemy would happily indulge himself and take our acts of welcome seriously.  He adviced us to ignore the enemy and his presence instead.  After hearing Fr. Larry say these words, I felt affirmed that I had been ignoring the commercialized/unChristian Halloween celebrations that abound during this time of year.  These celebrations have always made me feel uncomfortable and last night God used Fr. Larry to explain why I was feeling that way all along.  Now, I feel more empowered to explain to my little boy  why we do not participate in these parties.  Not that he wants to join these parties, because he actually finds them scary.  Fr. Larry said that instead of celebrating Halloween as modern/western society does, he encouraged us Filipinos to celebrate it by being true to our Catholic faith, by celebrating the beauty of the communion of Saints and by introducing our newest Filipino Saint to our kids, Saint Pedro Calungsod.  He said that by doing this, we are ignoring the enemy/devil and his presence in our society and thus not giving him a chance to enter our lives.  It is also an opportuned time to teach our kids about the beauty of our faith and that there are Saints who can inspire us in our walk with God and whom we should emulate.  This gave me an idea of who to introduce to our eldest son come All Saints' Day next weekend.  We have started a family tradition in the past years of celebrating Halloween or All Saints' Day differently and we intend to do this again this year.  You may click here to read a previous post I made a couple of years ago on how we can celebrate All Saints' Day meaningfully according to our Catholic faith.
  3. The commercialized celebrations of Halloween distracts us Catholics from celebrating and passing on the rich faith heritage that we have in our Church to our children. Instead of teaching our kids about the real reason of the celebration which is the celebration of All Saints Day and our Catholic doctrine of the communion of Saints, our attention and energies are spent following the trends dictated by modern society. 
    Photo source here.
         Let me quote from Sacred Scriptures again: "Do not be conformed to this world (this
         age),   [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be
         transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its
         new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable
         and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in
         His sight for you]." (Romans 12:2 AMP)
        Here are other versions to help us further understand the meaning/message in this 
        "Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing
         of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing
         and mature." (CEB)
        "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, 
         that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable
         and perfect." (ESV)
        "Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you
         inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of
         God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect." (ERV)
    4.  The enemy of the best is the good.  This was one line/lesson Fr. Larry shared and it's
        true once more in how this truth is embodied in today's modern/commercialized
        celebrations of Halloween.  Aside from parties that encourage kids to dress in
        scary/evil/forces of darkness costumes, there are also parties that encourage kids to
        dress up as superheroes.  Superheroes are good people.  They are portrayed as
        superhumans who fight the evil or bad people in society.  But they are not the best
        people that our kids should look up to as role models.  Christ, the Saints and the men
        and women in the Bible who lived out holy lives are still the best role models for our
        kids and us.  Moreover, superheroes are not real people who truly fought both external
        and internal battles and emerged victorious.  The battles that superheroes fight also
        are most of the time limited to this world.  Introducing the Saints and the holy people in
        the Bible enables us parents to share about life eternal to our kids.  This helps them
        see beyond this time and age, beyond this life and teach them that they are actually
        citizens of heaven and are pilgrims only in this earth.  These are essential
        teachings/catechesis that we should be sharing with our children if we are to offer them
        the best. 
Having said that, how do we Catholics/Christians celebrate Halloween in a way that would glorify God and honor the Saints?  There are many ways and suggestions and I encourage you to read these for ideas.  There are many more that you can discover in the internet through blogs of many Catholic/Christian moms. 
Let's bring back the "hallow" in Halloween and honor the Saints on All Saints' Day!


  1. This is beautiful and I am glad to see a Catholic family not participating in this "celebration." Since converting from fundamentalist protestantism a few years back, I have been very disappointed by the wholesale acceptance of the occult by fellow Catholics. I am encouraged by your references to Sacred Scripture, too! God bless your family.

    1. Thank you, Jennnifer. By God's grace, I have developed the habit of turning to Sacred Scriptures for concerns/issues that disturb me or when I need to make important decisions. God bless your family too!

  2. I would have to agree. Of course we don't do the scary stuff either but my girls do get a chance to go out and Trick or Treat , because they enjoy dressing up and getting candy. But we emphasis the real reason for the season so to speak by learning about the Saints and participating in the All Saints Day party at our parish.

    I do agree that the real reason isn't being passed down by Catholic families to their children. I teach a K/1st grade Religious Ed class and of course everyone was able to raise their hand when I asked them if they knew what Halloween and trick or treating where. But only one ( my 6yr old) was able to raise their hand when I asked them if they knew what All Saints Day was, and sadly ( only my 6yr old knew) none of them even had heard of or knew what a Saint was until I introduced them last week in our RE class.
    Sometime I never really thought of because we teach it in our home(a perk of homeschooling).

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tracy. Fr. Larry stressed in his homily that it is our duty as baptized Catholics and as parents to teach our children about our faith and Catholic traditions; and if we have the opportunity and influence, to share about our faith to others.

  3. This is amazing! On the morning of October 27, when I wrote this blog post, I was just writing because of the strong prompting from the Spirit after listening to a wonderful homily by Fr. Larry. I didn't know that on that same day an article from CBCP was published about Halloween.

    The article began with this line: "The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has called on its member schools to shun holding Halloween parties." It was also said in the article that "Several prelates are particularly concerned with young people, especially children, who may get wrong and questionable values because of the practice." Here's the link to the article