Saturday, November 21, 2015

All Hallows Eve 2015

All Hallows Eve is a very special day for me.  Twenty minutes into it, 15 years ago, I became a mother for the first time.  I went into labor the morning of October 30th with just gentle contractions, 10 minutes apart.  By 8pm I was in hospital.  At about 11.30pm I was told I probably had another 6 hour of labor to go.

Two thoughts passed through my mind.  One,  'I can't last 6 more hours of this'.  And the other, 'baby, if you don't want to be born on Halloween you'd better hurry up!'  And she did hear my silent plea, so it seemed to me, and decided to save me from '6 more hours', but in spite of our team effort she was born at 12.20am on Halloween day.

When I was a child nobody celebrated Halloween in Australia.  Certainly not in my hometown of Albany.  It was something you saw on TV.  It was for Americans.  

This has changed slowly over the years and I would say that in maybe the last 10 years it has really started to grow.  It's still not celebrated like it is in places like the US and UK, but we are getting there.
I wasn't brought up to like Halloween, I was taught that it was an American tradition that didn't belong in Australia, and after becoming Catholic I had even less interest in it thinking it a commercial/pagan event.  (There has been quite a bit of discussion in my local Catholic homeschool group and on the internet as to its Catholic past this year.  All I will say is I prefer All Hallows eve parties that are 'saint themed'.)

For many years we have chosen not to answer the door to trick or treaters or just to tell them 'we don't do Halloween'.  
I will always remember the year I took the trash out the front door, in a large black bag, opening the door just as some children were about to knock on it.  They looked at me with big excited eyes for a few moments, pleased I think that I had anticipated them, before I had to disappoint them and tell them it was actually a bag full of rubbish, poor things.  

Dd1 has not enjoyed that ghosts and ghouls come knocking during her birthday celebrations.  It has sort of become a tolerated annoyance.  

For some years now I have seen Jessica at Shower of Roses All Hallows Eve Parties and thought it would be a great idea to turn DD's birthday night to a celebration of the saints rather than the ever increasing emphasis on secular Halloween activities that surround us.  And so this year, albeit to a small degree due to sickness and tiredness from our recent vacation to Jakarta, we had a 15th birthday party and an All Hallows Eve party.  I had meant to keep it simple, following the general outline given here but time and energy ran out and it got real simple.  But we had a good night.  We gave away treat bags with holy cards inside to door knockers.  This was the one part of the night we are uncertain of whether we will repeat.  We watched one little girl show her mum with delight the holy card she had in her bag, and her mother looked up at us from the roadside where she was waiting and smiled at us.  But other visitors left you feeling a bit like you'd offered up your goods to looters, and then some of the costumes were too frightening for the little ones.  

Once dark fell there were no more trick or treaters.  We began our party.  We lit our Saint O Lantern and set a beautiful party table.  We have been meaning to make a Saint o lantern for the last few years, but haven't because we left it till too late hoping to buy them cheaper and they were gone. This year we just bought it early to be sure to have one.  They are so expensive to buy in Australia.  Ours cost $24!  It was a fun experience carving it though.  I recommend learning how to do it safely through doing a bit of research first.  I could see how you could come to grief using the wrong equipment after cutting out our design (which I forget the link for, sorry). 

We didn't get dressed as saints.  I had meant to get out sheets and whatever came to hand but our recent illness had left us too tired.  And so we ate party food and birthday cake and watched our lantern, and then toasted marshmallows inside our lantern, because lighting a big bon fire in the backyard that night was an idea that had grown cold too.  It was not quite what was planned, but a lovely night of laughing, and merriment over the warmth of the family table.  We are looking forward to making this an annual celebration :)


  1. What a lovely birthday celebration. Happy Birthday!
    God bless.

  2. Thank you Emma! It was a lovely day :)

  3. I've never enjoyed Halloween celebrations, even though I'm from the US! We were in a neighbourhood growing up where you would get egged if you didn't give out treats. We had some Satanists or wannabe-Satanists (probably also the rotten egg-throwers) living across the street from us. They did many bizarre things, and they also came up to our door with a stolen shopping trolly complete with big black garbage bags attached to the sides, looking for candy. I was always petrified, and gave them big handfuls. The other kids coming to the door were cute, but sitting there for hours handing out candy was not really my idea of fun. Where we live now we've not had a single person come trick-or-treating, which is a relief for me.

    I would definitely struggle if I had a birthday to celebrate that day, but it looks to me like you did it brilliantly!