‘Saintly’ trend counters ‘scary’ Halloween parties

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MANILA, Oct. 31, 2014 — Bring back the “holy” in Halloween! More and more groups and parishes are organizing Halloween-themed events that are in line with the tradition’s Christian origins, by making the saints the center of celebrations.

More parents, who love to let their kids play dress-up for “trick or treat” costume parties during Halloween or All Saints’ Day eve, are choosing instead to participate in events like the Knights of Columbus-sponsored “March of the Saints”.

"March of Saints" participants include St. Joachim, St. Anne and the little Virgin Mary with the apostles. (Photo: Rommel Lopez)

No more vampires

“We hope that this is done every year. This is the best way to teach our kids about the saints. I will not let my children dress up like encantos and vampires anymore,” Richelle Santero, mother of 3 children, who joined the March of the Saints, held last Oct. 26 at the Diocesan Shrine and Parish Church of Our Lady of Grace in Grace Park, Caloocan City.

Santero’s son came as St. Nicholas of Myra, the inspiration behind the iconic Christmas staple, Santa Claus, while her two daughters were dressed as Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Philippines and the Knights of Columbus.

Each of the 10 Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), mandated organizations and movements were represented by a participant who dressed up as their respective patron saints.

Events like the “March of Saints” are far from child’s play in their attempt to create a counter culture in answer to a highly commercialized, not to mention gory version of Halloween that has evolved in modern times.

“We hope that we can do this every year to reverse the pagan practice of dressing up like evil creatures which is not the Christian way to commemorate the saints,” Dennis Umpacan, Grand Knight of the Our Lady of Grace Council, said.

The March was organized and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus – Our Lady Grace Council 5617 as a way to catechize the laity about the real reason for the celebration of Nov. 1, which is the Feast of All the Saints.

‘All Saints’ Party’

Meanwhile, young people in Parañaque devised their own version of a Halloween party pageant, which was held on Oct. 29 at the National Shrine of Christians Parish in Better Living subdivision, Parañaque, calling it the “All Saints’ Party.”

According to the parish’s youth coordinator Alyssa Judith Reyes, the event, themed “Kabanalan Ipagdiwang, Katatakutan ay hindi Hadlang” aimed “to commemorate the lives and deeds of our saints”, as well as to inspire courage among young people to live holy lives like the saints.

Holyween: Young people have an All Saints’ party pageant, featuring different saints on Oct. 29, 2014, 6 p.m. at the National Shrine Of Mary Help Of Christians – Better Living. Participants answered questions about the saints they represented, with the most knowledgeable one emerging as the winner. (Photo: NSHMC Parish Commission on Youth)

Some 250 young people attended the event, which featured a fashion show where participants answered questions about the lives of the saints.

According to Reyes, each participating youth organization underwent formation regarding a particular saint to prepare for the “All Saints’ Party.”

For many parishes and groups, this year’s “alternative” Halloween celebration will the first of many.

“It’s going to be [our] annual All Saints day celebration breaking the [scary] tradition of Halloween to highlight the lives of the saints,” National Capital Region regional youth coordinator Peter Pardo said.

The event was supported by the parish youth director Fr. Elmer Sicat, SDB. (CBCP News/Rommel Lopez)

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