“What is it like to be a Christian saint?” “It is like being a Halloween pumpkin.

God picks you from the field, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out the yucky stuff. He removes the pulp of impurity and injustice and seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light of holiness inside you to shine for the entire world to see.” This is the Christian idea behind the carved pumpkins during the Halloween season.

Halloween and All Saints’ Day.

All Saints Day is a universal Christian feast honoring all Christian saints – known and unknown. The feast is celebrated by the Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican churches.

“Halloween,” celebrated in the United States, England, Ireland and France on the eve of the Day of All Saints, got its name from “All Hallows Eve” or the vigil of All Saints Day. The Celtic people, who lived in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and northern France before the Christian era, believed that their god of death (Samhain) would allow the souls of the dead to return to their homes for a festal visit on this day.

People also believed that ghosts, witches, goblins and elves came to harm the people, particularly those who had inflicted harm on them in this life. The Druid priests built a huge bonfire of sacred oak branches and offered animal and even human sacrifice to protect people from marauding evil spirits on the eve of Samhain feast.

This belief led to the ritual practice of wandering about in the dark dressed in costumes indicating ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons. But some historians believe that the pumpkin-carving and trick-or-treating are recent customs, reminiscent of Irish harvest festivals, brought to the United States by Catholic immigrants from Ireland and England.

Father Joseph