Anyway, with the Holy Days this week there has been a party at school including pizza, costume contests, home-made angel contests, and games and goodies for All Saints, a day off school for the Feast of All Saints, and a half-day today for All Souls/First Friday with an all-school visit to the nearby cemetery taking up much of the half-day. That's the kind of week all school kids love!
Our boys dressed up as St. Louis IX, King of France and St. Acasius, Martyr (patron saint of soldiers) for their All Saints party. They had a great time! St. Acasius (pictured above with Fr. Kurtz and Fr. Pieroni) won for both best costume and best angel for his age group!
Just as an aside, if you're ever in need of good saint costumes and lack the time or energy to pull them together, here is a great link for Catholic saint costumes. I've used them several years and have always been very pleased. Ideas, saint info, costumes, props, it's all there.
On Halloween night, 'St. Louis IX' decided he'd rather use last year's outfit and go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood as "The Scream". Fine... St. Acasius kept his costume and went as a gladiator. And they made a haul. Our neighborhood does Halloween well; one house puts on a pretty elaborate haunted house, and there are many fire pits blazing (reminding me of the Beacons of Minis Tirith--"Gondor calls for our aid!!", but I digress...) and lots of very corny joke-telling.
And speaking of that... joke-telling. I didn't grow up here, so this was a Halloween custom unknown to me when we started taking the boys around. Where I grew up, out in Washington state, we rang the doorbell and when someone answered the door we simply said "Trick or Treat!", they gave us our candy and on to the next house. Here, though, the kids have to be prepared to tell a joke before receiving their treat. Huh?! Never heard of that! But it is a fact. At most houses we go to, the candy bowl holder asks, "You got a joke for me?"
This year we had to come up with a couple of jokes last-minute. "The Scream" told this gem that I still remembered from one of my brother's joke books from when I was about 7:
Q: "What is the difference between here and there?"
A: "The letter 'T'!"
Gladiator told this one (with a hat-tip to Fr. Kurtz!):
Q: Why did the scientist put a knocker on his door?"
A: Because he wanted to win the Nobel prize!"
Nobel... 'no-bell'...ok, you get it....
It's really kind of a fun custom, the whole joke-telling thing. The kids enjoy it and it's enjoyable to stand back and watch/listen. Last year our #2 son did a variation on the "impatient cow" joke:
A: Who's there?
Q: Impatient Ghost
A: Impatient Gho....
Often in our neighborhood there is quite a line of kids at each door, so we parents stand and wait out at the sidewalk. But we always knew when our boys were at the door because out of the relative quiet we'd hear a sudden, "BOOOOO!!!!" On to the next door....
For post trick-or-treat fun, each year our next-door neighbors light up their fire pit and all the neighbors in our cul-de-sac sit around and eat roasted hotdogs and snacks. It's a good time with us all together at once sitting and chatting together. That actually only happens this one time a year, so it's always kinda nice.
Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of All Saints, known and unknown, and today our thoughts are on All Souls, those dearly departed who have gone on before us. In fact, there are indulgences available for the next 8 days (octave) for visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead and indeed, the Church dedicates this entire month of November to the remembrance of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Fisheaters website is a good resource for more information about praying for the dead and indulgences in general.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
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And so, the leaves are past their vibrant color and are rapidly filling our yards, the temperatures are crisp, justifying those cozy evening fires in the fireplace, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Advent is on its heels, ringing in a new Church year and the glorious coming of Our Savior. Every season of the year has its own unique beauty, but Fall into Winter has to be my favorite.
God bless you all during these and the coming Holy Days!