The Triduum of Allhallowtide begins on Halloween on Oct. 31 and concludes with All Souls' Day on Nov. 2. All Saints' Day is on Nov. 1.
In an episode of EWTN's "Living Divine Mercy," Father Chris Alar, MIC, shares the holiday's historical Catholic roots. He answers the question: Should we celebrate Halloween?
According to Father Chris, Catholics should celebrate Halloween as part of Allhallowtide. However, he notes that this does not mean Catholics should celebrate in a completely secular way.
“It’s beautiful and it’s a time in the liturgical year, therefore, dedicated to remembering all the dead, which is Biblical, and has been done by Christians since the first century," Father Chris Alar notes.
"Although, yes, sadly it [has] been, in a way, hijacked by pagans and Satanists. It is NOT a pagan religious event, but a Christian celebration almost 1,300 years old!”
He also explains that while Halloween can be evil, it was never intended to be that way. This is a result of what some would consider to be anti-Catholicism.
“You know, in England after the Reformation, All Saints' Day and its vigil, Halloween, were banned. It was claimed that the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is a modified form of Babylonian worship of the dead.”
He says that at the time, Protestants began celebrating Reformation Day on Oct. 31 because it was the day Martin Luther possibly nailed his "95 Theses" on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenburg.
Father Chris says that when Halloween came back to mainstream society in the early 20th century, the Catholic origins were downplayed, if not altogether forgotten.
“On All Saints' vigil, Halloween, we mock evil–that’s one of the reasons we dress up like that. Because as Christians, we know that evil has no real power over us. Only the power we give it.”
He concluded with some practical ideas on how to celebrate Allhallowtide as a Catholic:
“Tell your kids some saint stories, not just ghost stories. As long as we keep it all in an innocent way to remember the dead and pray for them, like having a saint costume party rather than dressing up in evil or doing evil, we’ll be okay. Now, remember though, focus on the saints or respectful people from society, not the occult.”