Do All Saints’ Day and Trick-or-Treating Go Together?

Interestingly enough, one of the most common questions people ask me when they meet me in real life is “do your kids go trick-or-treating?” People want to know- is it ok to go trick-or-treating if you’re Catholic? Is it ok to celebrate “Halloween” if you’re in the “All Saints’ Day” crowd?

This time of the year, we do try to keep our focus on the rosary, and the Saints, but my kid do go trick-or-treating. The lovely mix we have found for our family is, when we go trick-or-treating, we dress up as Saints! :-)

catholic trick or treating all saints day

I actually know a lot of Catholics who do this, and the kids love it! They never complain about not dressing up as something else because we talk about the Saints, watch Saint movies, read Saint books, and listen to Glory Stories year round. So when Julian chooses to dress up as Juan Diego for All Saints’ Day, it’s like any other kid picking a cartoon character from his favorite movie to dress up as.

saint costumes for halloween

You can check out my extensive lists of Saint costume ideas for girls, and Saint costume ideas for boys here. There are a lot of fun ideas on there! You don’t just have to drape your kids in sheets to dress up as a Saint. ;-) Above, we have St. John Bosco, St. Elizabeth, and St. Kateri, and they’re having a blast!

Going trick-or-treating as Saints is a great witness to the world! It’s interesting what people say sometimes. For instance, this year Lydia chose to be Saint Imelda (because we are studying her with our First Communion curriculum) and everyone kept saying “What a beautiful bride!” It’s pretty funny to see their face when Lydia tells them, “Actually, I’m St. Imelda”.

One year, Julian dressed up as Juan Diego. We were walking up a bunch of stairs to this one house, and a dad I didn’t know says, “Excuse me, Mam, he’s tripping on his, um, his, um, his, um… thingy.” Lol! That’s his tilma- duh! ;-)

Then there are more “normal” things to be. For the last 2 years in a row, Violet has chosen to be an angel. Everyone totally “gets” that. But when your kid goes as St. Cecelia, she sure is going to get a lot of compliments on her “princess costume”. Because of these misunderstandings, I generally prep my kids ahead of time, and tell them that it’s ok to tell people who they are really dressed up as. They smile and think it’s funny. Sometimes, they don’t correct people. They just smile, get their candy, and move on. That’s ok, too. :-)

saint costumes

I do know plenty of families that do Saint costumes for some parties, and other costumes for trick-or-treating. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this, but the reality is I’m not going to put together 2 different costumes for 4 kids each year. That feels crazy. The Saint thing is more important to me, and they truly are happy dressing up as Saints. Kids are easily convinced of what is fun, so it’s all in the presentation and the attitude.

In conclusion, Halloween has it’s roots in the Catholic church, and I think we need to work on re-claiming it! Even if you don’t have a big All Saints’ Day party to go to attend this year, you can still have some Saint fun. I hope you find a good mix that works for your family. :-)

Check out all of my resources for All Saints’ Day here.

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Comments

  1. Thank you, Lacy, for making being Catholic so fun and ‘real’…of course Catholicism is real, but you have such a natural way to tie in our faith with everyday life. You’re such a great example of how being Catholic is a part of who we are, not just what we do!! :)

  2. We try to make Halloween more of a day to prepare for All Saints’ Day (abstain from meat, etc.). That means all the yummy candy collected has to wait ’til we celebrate on Nov. 1st and then get some more yummy goodies and skull themed foods on Nov 2 All Souls’ Day.
    So, there is still trick or treating in Saint costumes, but the candy is with held until the actual feast day rather than enjoyed on the eve.

  3. We did the same thing when we were kids: my Mom made us Saint costumes for school and said there was No Way that she would be making each of us two costumes every year! (She told us that if we wanted to dress up as something else, that was fine, but that we would have to come up with the costumes ourselves. But like you said, going as saints was fun.) I remember going as St. Lucy one year, complete with two wooden eyeballs rolling around on a plate: definitely a bit of a conversation starter!

  4. This was great! What’s your response/how do you deal with kids asking about how ugly things are (decor/costumes), etc? Are they ever confused between what you tell them and what they see as they trick-or-treat?

    • I told my kids that this holiday is about the Saints, but because Saints are people who are in heaven with Jesus, they are all dead people. Some people forgot that it’s really about the Saints, and they think it’s just about dead people now. I’m a really big on always pairing things like this with “but we never judge people who do it differently than us”.

  5. Love this! My kids dressed up as Saints for a party and are going as other things for trick or treating, but I think we’re going to just do Saints next year.

    My eldest is almost 6, and he asked me why people decorate with skeletons, etc.- I told him that we’re poking fun at death, because its not scary. Jesus conquered death, and devils and skeletons are no match for God. :)

  6. JMJ

    Good point that trick or treating as saints is a great “witness to the world.” I hadn’t thought of it that way and have abstained for decades in having my kids trick or treating. Usually we have the alternative of the All Saints Day party at our parish so they haven’t really felt they’ve missed out on anything anyway. I also think your presentation that people have forgotten it’s about the saints in Heaven and not (just) about dead people was very well worded. Good job!

    On another note, thank you so much for all the wonderful ideas with costumes and the super coloring pages! We’ve visited your site plenty in the past and, God willing, will continue in the future.

    May God reward you.

    • Thanks! :-) I really wish we had an All Saints’ Day party. I’ve been thinking about putting one together. Maybe next year.

  7. JMJ

    It’s really not too hard to put the party together. Over the years I’ve learned to have sign-up sheets which include what potluck dish people will bring, what job they will perform, i.e. design and run a game, set-up, clean-up, decorate and then I try to stay atop what everyone is doing. Of course my husband and teenaged son are drafted to help me “map out” where everything will go since we have such limited space in our smaller yet growing parish! I’d be happy to help out from a distance next year! :o)

  8. I didn’t know some of these things now I can tell my kids that kids just like them may go trick or treating or not .

  9. I didn’t know some of these things now I can tell my kids that kids just like them may go trick or treating or not .

  10. Halloween is a pagan feast and beleive it ir not that day satanic sects do celebrate the most! It has nothing to do with All Saints day! This is only a shame for us catholics to assosiate this with heavenly things! I feel terrible this time of the year! We had All saints party but in church! We don’t want to mix good and evil and go trick or treat!

    • The thing is, evil people who are doing horrible things this time of year are not trick-or-treating. I have never seen anyone trick-or-treating other than families with children. Everyone is friendly. We get to meet neighbors that we don’t talk to other times of the year, and everyone is generously giving out free gifts (in the form of candy). In fact, even the houses with big bowls of candy that say “please take one” because no one is home, aren’t being abused- the honor system is working. It’s a night of little old ladies handing my children candy while they say things like “Oh, what a beautiful little angel! So precious!” Honestly, I think the way Satan gets to Christians this time of year is by growing hate in their hearts about what everyone else is doing. I know tons of devout Catholic families, with amazing children, who go trick-or-treating. It is important that we don’t let the Saints get lost in the shuffle, which at our house we most certainly don’t. Even the word “Hallow” means holy. It’s in the Our Father. All Hallows Eve is not inherently an evil day. Even Christmas day was chosen to be placed over a pagan holiday to give people something else to celebrate that time of year. Believe it or not, the Church does know what it’s doing when it places religious days over pagan days. Do you truly believe that the people who are trick-or-treating on Halloween or handing out candy are doing so with evil intent? I’m not saying that everyone has to trick-or-treating (it’s fine if you choose not to), but what I’m saying is, you should be careful in judging people who do.

      • I don’t judge people but action do, if someone is a drug addict I don’t judge him as a child of God but the thing he is doing! The other thing about halloween I want it to add is read what the Pope (Vatican) says about that! In Europe we have catholic tradition too, but no Halloween ( except now that is coming from America)! So you can’t compare Chrismas being pagan with Halloween! I suggest that you read other side of the story and then judge if it’s right or wrong for you! The thing is that we have tendency to beleive what we want to hear and not the real thruth:) May God bless you all !

      • When I said in Europe we don’t have Halloween! I meant some countries in western and eastern Europe! I know that it had roots in Irish culture!