In the Catholic Church we have obligations. We are to go to Mass each Sunday and on Holy Days. Halloween itself is not a Holy Day, but it is the eve of All Saints Day in which we remember and celebrate the lives of all Saints who have left this world in faith. But Protestants have removed themselves removed from that.
Of course, to a Protestant it is more than just a day of dress-up and candy. We have to give them credit, its also a day for family fun. Though, because Protestants do not celebrate the Holy Days as the Church has for so long, they miss out on so much. The time between now and the Reformation, circa 1530-ish, has diminished almost all memory that Halloween is a serious day. For them, All Saints Day is a “Catholic thing”. It is interesting that they still celebrate Easter and Christmas – those aren’t even “in the Bible” – and few are even aware that the decision to celebrate Easter on a Sunday each year was the authoritative decision of the 11th Bishop of Rome, Pope St. Anicetus (155-165). But that’s just Easter.
Halloween is a special day for the Catholic. It’s more than candy and dress-up and the occasional scare-prank which are harmless. It’s a day were we prepare to celebrate, which is as important as the celebration itself. Why else have Advent if not to prepare our hearts for Christmas? Why else have Lent if not to prepare our hearts for Easter? The eve of All Saints Day might be only one day worth, but it gives the necessary time to prepare to say a “thank you” to those who have gone before us. It doesn’t just include St. Gregory, or Thomas, or the “greats” but also our grandparents, our children who might have perished, or those whom our wives have miscarried.
This Holy Day is for all Christians, not just Catholics, because the Catholic Church doesn’t have a patent on making Saints. Adding to that, for the Protestant or “non-denominational” (which is still Protestant) reader, please understand that the Church sees you as our family as well. We don’t share all the same beliefs but Protestants can’t afford to lose out on All Saints Day. So if you don’t celebrate it, give it a look. Think of this as less of a day of obligation and more of a day of opportunity. A day particularly set aside for thanksgiving for our brothers and sisters who died faithfully, or even less than faithfully but still with the hope of the Savior Jesus.