Have fun teaching your class about about All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day!
By Lori Ann Watson
As you teach children about All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day, we hope you enjoy the fun, help many souls toward Heaven, and make memories that you and your students will treasure for years to come.
We wanted to pull together a few simple All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day activities for you, and the good folks at Peanut Butter and Grace (whom we’ll refer to as PB Grace) were kind enough to help us out. They’re full of great ideas over there, and they were happy to share some for us to pass along.
- Saint Me Activities—Studying already-canonized saints whom we admire is always a worthy effort! To add a different spin, though, each child can also think about the saint he or she would like to become. A martyr? A heroic policeman? A cloistered religious? A devoted mother or father? Here are a couple of ideas based on this take:
Saint Me Outlines: Have children pair up to outline each other on large paper. Then have each child fill in his outline with pictures or words to symbolize the kind of saint he would like to become.
Saint Me Placemats: On a blank placemat labeled with “St.” and the student’s name (“St. Charlotte”, “St. Jack”, and so on), each child writes words or draws pictures to symbolize the type of saint she hopes to become.
- Field Trip! (…to the graveyard?)
This is a good time to visit the cemetery at your church with your class and pray for those buried there. This makes a great time for a quick lesson on Purgatory; for the teaching, turn to paragraphs 1030-1032 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; for one Scripture that supports Catholic teaching, turn to 2 Maccabees 12:39-46. Explaining Purgatory in a way that that focuses on the mercy of God.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to teach students the traditional prayer for the holy souls waiting to enter Heaven:
“Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.”
- Class Prayer for the Dearly Departed.
In the days before All Souls’ Day, collect names of students’ family members and other loved ones who have passed from this life into the next. You can post the names, with pictures if you’d like, to help make praying for these loved ones an important part of your All Souls activities.
You’ll find more engaging ideas for an All Saints’ Day party your students will never forget in Six Ideas for the Best All Saints Day Party Ever. And there’s a bonus—while you’re on the PB Grace website, you can order a Molly McBride book. (No classroom is complete without a book about the spunky, purple-clad kindergartener who already knows she has a religious vocation.)
If you’re having a party in your Catholic classroom for any occasion, you’ll probably want to head over to Shower of Roses, too. There, you’ll find Saint-Themed Guessing Jars (ok — this one could conceivably involve chocolate …), an All Saints Scavenger Hunt, All Saints Bingo, and All Saints Puzzle Races.
Some teachers like to celebrate Halloween in their classrooms, while others would rather just celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints the next day. If you want to play up Halloween, here are some resources to help your students remember that hallowed means “holy,” and that Halloween is really the vigil for All Saints’ (or All Hallows’) Day.
For classroom jack-o-lantern carving, here’s a prayer from Catholic Icing you and your students can say to help keep the focus on God while you’re giving Jack his eyes, nose, mouth, and candlelit glow.
Peanut Butter and Grace is a helpful resource when it comes to Halloween, as well, and many ideas there are also appropriate when you’re working with older children. They shared a poem with us that, in their words, “neatly sums up the attitude Christian kids can take toward all things scary on Halloween night”:
On the Eve of All Saints’ Day,
Jack-O-Lanterns light the way.
God’s children need no longer fear
The ghosts and goblins gathered here.
For evil ghouls with icy breath
Must bow to Him who conquered death.
More tips for Halloween, including costume ideas, can be found in Halloween is the Holy Day Catholic Kids Shouldn’t Miss.
Lori Ann Watson teaches, homeschools, blogs about Catholicism, and almost never gets caught up on laundry. She writes from North Central Florida.