Today is Halloween, or for those traditionalists out there, All Hallows Eve. Not a bad day to put a jack-o-lantern in the window, put out a bowl of cream for your local hob or nob, and read some ghost stories around the fireplace. (Except here in Texas where it'll be 80 degrees today.)
The girls are eager to go to the parish Halloween party and lark about with their friends in princess costumes. And here, unfortunately, is where the rant comes in. Because the party at the parish tonight is not a Halloween party -- it's an All Saints Day Party. One is not supposed to come as a princess or fairy or night or (as our eldest ambitiously proposed) Lyle the Crocodile, but rather as one's favorite saint. Every year some people flaunt this and come in normal custumes, which is probably what will happen with us this year, but I'm assured by the daughter-in-law of one of the organizers that, "It really drives them nuts when people do that."
I don't have anything against the idea of having a saints themed costume party on All Saints Day -- there's no real tradition behind it, but it's not a bad idea. However, All Saints Day is Nov. 1st, not Oct. 31st. And I'm not really sure why we as Catholics should feel the need to counter-program against Halloween parties. Certain Protestant groups, certainly, are convinced that all that surrounds Halloween is evil superstition, but there's no reason for Catholics to go off the deep end about this stuff.
Indeed, as a Catholic, it annoys me a bit to see All Hallows Eve (with all of the cultural texture that originally surrounded that day) turned into an All Saints Day party. Not that modern American Halloween is much in touch with older traditions surrounding All Hallows Eve, but if we're going to insist on changing it as Catholics, we should get in touch with some original All Hallows Eve traditions, not do a All Saints counter program to American Halloween.