So the Bishops of England and Wales are recommending that children and their parents celebrate the proper meaning of Hallowe’en. I think that is a Great Thing. I really shiver when I go into the supermarket at this time of year and see all the horrible, ghoulish masks and costumes. Perhaps I’m getting old, but when I was little, there were not such vile things available all over the place: no Munchian “scream” masks, or detailed rubber witches and demons. It all seems very disturbing to me, and I can’t really imagine what seeing this sort of thing does to children’s minds. I feel the same if I go to the video store – all those horrific DVD covers, both disturbing and lacking any artistic merit, at child-height. No doubt some people will think it rather soft of me, but I maintain that it’s damaging young people’s minds. And anyway, I find it disturbing.
So, I’m pleased the Bishops have taken this initiative to start to address the problem at least among Catholics.
Unfortunately, it still smarts that, since Advent 2006, the feast of All Saints and its obligation, where it falls on a Saturday or Monday, is transferred to the Sunday. That means this year we will be celebrating All Saints on Hallowe’en. I cannot understand this transferring of Feasts to Sundays. I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen before the Council, but even if it did, at the very least there could exist the reason that many Sundays were superceded. But the Council wished to emphasise the importance of Sunday as the great Feast of the Pascha, and to eliminate or at least minimise the celebration of feasts not of the Lord on this day. So, the transferring of a celebration of All Saints, remains somewhat confusing! (Sorry, this moving of feasts remains one of by bugs about the Ordinary Form calendar.)
Should you want a light-hearted Hallowe’en film (though it has nothing to do with All Saints Day), and which is entirely suitable for children of average intelligence, I recommend Disney’s Hocus Pocus which is immense fun. I must have been about 13 when it came out, and, since I was pretty corny (as I am still) and innocent (not so much) it was just my kind of thing. Bette Midler, Kath Najimy (of Sister Act fame), Sarah Jessica Parker (also of Sister Act, but now best known for Sex and the City (sadly!)), and Omri Katz (he of Eerie India – anyone remember that? – and that brilliant comic salute to 1960s B-movies with John Goodman Matinee). It’s still great fun to watch today, and not at all disturbing, even for adults!