For us Catholics, All Saints’ Day is a truly special occasion. More than just a holiday, i.e. a “day off” from work, which usually translates to long weekends and extra time with loved ones, it is a “holy-day” too, a time to remember the Saints and all their good works.
When I was a child growing up in Brunei though, All Saints’ Day was not really a big thing for our family. We were “nominal” Catholics at the time, and it was only when our family got involved in the Charismatic Renewal that “religious” things became more meaningful for us.
Now that I’m a parent myself, it’s my hope that our kids will look at our Catholic faith as not “just a religious obligation,” but something that is part and parcel of who we are and what we do.
That’s why we try to live the liturgical year, inspired by other Catholic homeschooling families, especially those in the U.S. Part of living the liturgical year is making occasions like All Saints’ Day special for our children.
Now, before you start thinking, “Gosh, only ‘super holy’ people can do that!”, please understand that we’re not a ‘super holy’ family; we’re just doing our best, and we started with “baby steps,” as Kiendra of Catholic All Year calls them. I still have a lot to learn actually!
Anyway, without further ado, allow me to share how we celebrate All Saints’ Day with our children — and maybe you can get ideas on how to celebrate All Saints’ Day and make it memorable for your kids too!
1. We attend Mass.
The Mass is the highest form of worship. We actually celebrate the Communion of Saints during Mass because “we honor the saints, pray for the souls in purgatory and pray for one another,” according to Fr. Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
Going to Mass on All Saints’ Day may not be a typical thing for some families, especially those who choose to go away during the All Saints’/All Souls’ weekend for some R & R, but taking the time to do so will indeed be beneficial (especially spiritual-wise) for the whole family.
Prior to going to Mass, we try to prepare the kids by talking about what the Communion of Saints means, why we celebrate All Saints’ Day, and the like.
I usually do this the day before, on Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve, as I prefer to call it. I use this post from Catholic Inspired for our yearly preparations.
2. We read our favorite saint books.
We are self-confessed book-
hoarders lovers, but we have yet to beef up our collection of saint- and faith-themed books. Here are a few of the titles we have, which we use almost every year during All Saints’ Day:
Sanne has also prepared a great list of children’s books about saints, a few of which we also own and love to read. You can check it out here.
3. We watch videos about the saints.
To my disappointment, I have discovered that there are not that many saint videos available locally. However, we have still been able to collect quite a few saint-themed DVDs and VCDs over the years, mostly from St. Paul’s.
You can also watch saint videos on YouTube. There is a compilation of a few videos on my old homepreschool blog here, in case you want to watch them.
4. We do simple crafts.
I am admittedly not a very crafty momma — in fact, if we could skip arts and crafts altogether, I would be totally happy! However, I do try my best to prepare simple craft activities for the kids, especially on special days like All Saints’ Day. 😉
Last year, with a little baby at home, we just did saint-themed “crafts” with M&M’s chocolates. We used them to create “rosaries” and the letter ‘M’ in honor of Mama Mary, the Queen of All Saints.
5. We play saint-themed games.
Our favorite — and the easiest to play without the need for any props or materials! — is “Saint Cecilia’s Musical Chairs.” I get my saint game ideas from Lacy of CatholicIcing.com.
6. We attend our group’s All Saints’ Day party.
Our homeschool group has been holding All Saints’ Day parties since 2011 — I can’t believe how time flies!
In the picture below, I am “interviewing” two little saints (who are all much bigger now!) while holding my then-2-year-old daughter. This was taken at our first All Saints’ Day party ever, organized by yours truly. 🙂
Even if you’re not a homeschooling family, you can still have your own version of an All Saints’ Day party with, say, your child’s circle of friends, your friends’ children, your nieces/nephews, etc.
7. We celebrate at home.
Since our group’s parties are usually held after All Saints’ Day, our family also has our own simpler version of an All Saints’ Day party at home, on November 1.
Usually, we just buy a cake that has “Happy All Saints’ Day” on it, play a few games, and enjoy eating our cake, of course! I also try to get the kids simple All Saints’ Day gifts, like a rosary or saint book or DVD.
Resources for you:
If you’re looking for additional resources to help you celebrate All Saints’ Day with your kids, you might want to check out the links below:
- Truly Rich Tips: How to Teach Our Kids About the Saints — I wrote this two years ago, after the canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod. The post contains links to other helpful resources about the saints.
- Catholic Icing’s All Saints Day Party Ideas for Kids — This is a treasure trove of ideas for celebrating All Saints’ Day, whether as a big group or just within your family.
- Family Celebration Ideas for Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day — CatholicCulture.org is my “go-to” site for everything Catholic-related, especially when I am looking for solid ideas on how to celebrate certain feast days and occasions. This particular page contains comprehensive information and tips on how to celebrate October 31 to November 2 as a family, complete with prayers and recipes!