How to Celebrate Hallowtide

Happy Halloween! While you may know today as a day of candy and costumes, what you might not know is that Halloween is just the first day of Hallowtide, the three days when Catholics observe All Saints Eve (Halloween), All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. While the stores may be already ditching the Halloween items, for Catholics the celebration has just begun!

Here are some ways you can celebrate each day of Hallowtide and enter into the month of November, which is dedicated to praying for the souls in Purgatory.

While spooky and sometimes morbid decorations are a staple of Halloween, the purpose is not to scare us, but rather to remind us that Christ has conquered sin and death. We celebrate the victory of the saints in heaven by mocking the devil – showing that just as through Christ the saints won victory over the devil, evil and death have no power over us.

Bishop David Konderla of the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a guest on Morning Air® and he explained why we celebrate Halloween, saying, “The very word Halloween – the eve of the hallows, the eve of All Saints – indicates that it’s the beginning of celebrating the feast day of All Saints which happens on November 1st. So our stance to the celebration is almost liturgical, or can be. It’s a stance that sees us looking towards the saints as models and intercessors and even as heroes.”

“One of the things that’s popular for the celebration of Halloween in the United States is the use of costumes that are the heroes that are on the cartoons and movies.” Bishop Konderla said. “And we have our own large group of heroes in the saints that young men and young women can learn about, decide which one like best, which one fits their personality best and choose among them.”

All Saints Day
November 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints. It is a day when we celebrate and honor those who have lived lives of holiness on earth and are now united with Christ in heaven. As Monsignor Stuart Swetland, host of Go Ask Your Father™said, “We have the saints as our friends, as intercessors, as examples, as companions along the way.”

In many dioceses All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation, so the best way to celebrate is by participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! It is also a day to learn more about different saints and the way they lived lives of holiness in their own way, and in their own age.

To learn more about a host of different saints, you can tune-in to Relevant Radio® on November 1st when we will present an entire day of special programming—Great Stories about Great Saints. Our shows will feature commentary, discussion, and expert guests about the lives and legacies of the great saints of the Catholic Church. Check out the list of saints to be discussed, and be sure to check back over the weekend for audio of any segments you may have missed!

All Souls Day
All Souls Day is a feast in which we pray for the holy souls in Purgatory. In addition to offering Mass and praying for the souls of the faithful departed, the Church also gives us the opportunity to gain a plenary indulgence for the souls in Purgatory.

Here’s how you can obtain a plenary indulgence for souls in Purgatory anytime between November 1-8. From The Enchiridion of Indulgences:

Visit to a Church or Oratory on All Souls Day. A plenary indulgence, applicable ONLY to the souls in purgatory, may be obtained by those who, on All Souls Day, piously visit a church, public oratory, or for those entitled to use it, a semi-public oratory.  It may be acquired either on the day designated as All Souls Day or, with the consent of the bishop, on the preceding or following Sunday or the feast of All Saints. On visiting the church or oratory it is required that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.

Visit to a Cemetery. Only applicable to the souls in Purgatory when one devoutly visits and prays for the departed. A plenary indulgence is bestowed for this work each day between November 1 and November 8.

In addition to visiting these places and offering the prescribed prayers, the general requirements of indulgences must be met, which are:

  • Pray for the intentions of our Holy Father
  • Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day, or within several days if that is not possible)
  • Go to Confession within about 20 days of the indulgenced work
  • Be in a state of grace at the time the indulgenced work is completed
  • For a plenary indulgence it is also necessary to have a complete detachment from sin, even venial sin

If you are not able to visit a church or cemetery on All Souls Day, you can also pray the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory beginning on All Souls Day, or any day during the month of November.

May you and your family have a blessed Hallowtide! All you holy men and women, pray for us. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.