Halloween has the potential to be so much fun; what other holiday in the year gives us social permission to dress up as anything? I just wish that people would realize that just because we can dress up does not mean that “anything goes.”
It was when I started casting around for alternatives that I learned something cool. Halloween (or All Hallow’s Evening, as it once was called) is followed by a holiday on November 1, called “All Saints Day,” which honors “all saints, known and unknown” (Wikipedia). The next day, November 2, is called “All Souls Day,” which “specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven” (Wikipedia).
Surely we, if anyone, have the most reason to celebrate on those days!
Did you know the hymn “For All the Saints” was written to commemorate All Saints Day? (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_All_the_Saints) Check out the lyrics, six stanzas of which are not in the LDS hymnal.
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,It seems to me that if we want a Mormon alternative to Halloween, we could celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day. How could we celebrate them? There’s a raft of possibilities!
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
- We could make those days into days of temple worship to bless the dead and then have feasts to refresh the living!
- We could dress up as saints from all ages of the world! (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and even.. future saints (Mormon Star Trek?))
- We could take bread (representing the bread of life) to non-Mormon neighbors!
- We could celebrate by flying kites (to represent the angel souls of the dead that are sealed to us)!