I think the best way to counteract the images of ghouls and goblins of Halloween is head on — teach youth the truth about this time of the church year and its purpose with a celebration of All Saints Day. Contrast All Saints Day with Halloween so they can see the difference for themselves.
It could be a true blessing to set aside some time to observe All Saints Day with our young people. However, this could be a challenge for local churches who do not keep strict adherence to the liturgical calendar. Nevertheless, if we make an intentional decision to do so and employ a little creativity, much is possible.
I think the first step would be to explain the purpose of All Saints Day. Find some materials that explain it and allow the youth to think about and discuss it and its relevance in our time. Youth group or bible study time would be good for this.
Second, offer the youth possible ways of celebrating All Saints Day: a small service of remembrance, which they plan. Point them to hymns and other songs that capture the meaning of All Saints Day for them to learn and sing. Allow them to write their own songs/poems about saints who have gone before us. The use of visual arts could be good also. Encourage the expressions to be personal. However, as the leader, try to set a “thankful” tone rather than a mournful one. Show youth that remembrance of the saints should lead us to offer thanks to God for their lives and their example.
Finally, plan this activity to be as near the actual All Saints celebration as possible. This allows you to really balance out the message of the thanksgiving for the saints with the Halloween mania.
by Arionne Williams
Minister to Youth and Families
Metropolitan AMEZ, Kansas City, MO
Deputy Chair youTheology Advisory Board
Loving God, Loving Neighbor