Be saints not monsters on Halloween, Filipino kids told

Church leaders renew call to drop scary gimmicks and celebrate life, not death

Children in the Philippines planning to go trick-or-treating for Halloween are being encouraged to dress as saints, not as monsters or devils.Church leaders have appealed to parents not to make their children look “like they are from the underworld” because it’s “un-Christian.”Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said Catholics should not follow the “secular way” of observing Halloween.Scary costumes make Halloween a “celebration of death” instead of life, he said.”When people visit their dead in cemeteries, what do they bring? Flowers, bouquets of flowers, are signs of life. Candles too are signs of life when lit,” said the prelate.He said Filipinos even bring food and hold parties in cemeteries, “which is again a sign of life.””It is really a celebration of life,” said Bishop Pabillo, adding that, “it is the kind of life that we wished for our departed love ones when they go to heaven.”He said Catholics should stop promoting and patronizing scary Halloween gimmicks because “secularism” is using it.The observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is a major family affair in the Philippines when tombs are cleaned and repainted, candles are lit, and flowers are offered. It is a public holiday and, traditionally, families spend a night or two in the cemetery near their relatives’ tombs, playing card games, eating, drinking, singing and dancing.Church leaders have repeatedly encouraged parents to instead dress their children like saints “to create a deeper awareness on the lives of holy men and women.”For years now, several parishes around the country have been holding what they call a “Parade of Saints” instead of Halloween parties.The “parade” also serves as the culmination of the observance of the month of the Holy Rosary aside from being a prelude to All Saints’ Day.Remembering the dead and visiting their tombs in cemeteries during the first two days of November have become part of an annual Filipino tradition.As well as offering prayers and flowers and the lighting of candles, the two-day holiday has also become an occasion for family reunions