POLL: Halloween costumes in church next Sunday at Mass

DO YOU HAVE A BLOG?  Please link!  Let’s get a strong participation in this poll and discussion.

A priest reader sent a suggestion for a WDTPRS POLL.

Next Sunday coincides with the Eve of All Hallows.  A “hallow” is an old word for “saint”.

For the sake of this poll, let’s consider dressing as saints for All Saints Day the same as Halloween costumes.  They both involve a costume and coming into church for Sunday Mass.

We will exclude “All Saints” parties held at the parish for children.  This is about coming to church for MASS on Sunday in a costume.

Chose your answer and then give your comments below.   For example, you might opine about whether costumes at Mass would be okay, or wicked, or just cute, or irreverent…

Next week we can have a followup poll to see what actually happened.

Knowing your parish as you do, do you expect children (or adults) will come to church for MASS on Sunday in Halloween costumes?

  • No, I don't think that will happen at my parish. (88%, 1,645 Votes)
  • Yes, I expect some people will show up in costumes. (12%, 223 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,868

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  1. UncleBlobb says:

    Does this include the big puppet-like costumes Father?

  2. Iconophilios says:

    The only time I recall something like that at my parish was one three year old dressed as St Michael…

  3. revs96 says:

    Fr. Fryar at Christ the King FSSP Parish in Sarasota, FL has encouraged kids to come to High Mass on Nov. 1st dressed as saints. However, he isn’t allowing this on Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, as it is their Patronal Feast with Eucharistic Procession after the High Mass.

    Personally, I think that if we can have statues, we can allow kids to dress as saints once a year. It’s one way to spread devotion in those who are still young and at the same time counteract Halloween, which is largely marketed to the same age group.

  4. takosan says:

    I absolutely do expect this. From this Sunday’s bulletin:


    [We] would like to celebrate All Saints day … but we need your help in honoring all these great Saints!!! Our priests would love to see you come to Mass dressed as your favorite Saint. Simply come to the sacristy before Mass to process with the priests! Let’s see how many different and wonderful Saints we can have represented that day! Thank you for your help!

    I agree with revs96 – this has never bothered me and I am too easily bothered by things.

  5. Lisa Graas says:

    UncleBlobb, you rock. LOL!

    Father, considering the likely demographics of your readers, I would expect the poll results to indicate a resounding “NO”. I wonder what the poll would be if it were nationwide.

    I know you asked about adults, too, but the main reason I voted no is that there are so few children in my parish, so I thought I’d note that.

    I’m a member of St. Augustine parish in Grayson Springs, Kentucky.

  6. Lisa Graas: considering the likely demographics of your readers

    Let’s expand that base!

  7. Esther says:

    There are very few children at my Mass, and peope don’t make as big a deal out of Halloween in England.

  8. Tradster says:

    I suspect if you limited the responses to the OF Masses the Yes votes would be far more prominent.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    In society, as long as the cultural mores are suspended as they are, there are accommodations that have to be made to the bottom end of the bell curve. Some people just don’t know any better and think they have a right to do the first thing that pops into their little pea-brain. Solution? Teach them better if you can.

  10. jilly4ski says:

    I voted no, not because I attend a particularly traditional parish (why just today the priest decided to give in to his creative side when reading prayers straight out of books) but because the people in the Northeast are pretty stodgy, at least at Mass.

  11. wmeyer says:

    Oy! Can we please have an entry for “Gosh, I hope not!”?

  12. ExHic says:

    Considering next Sunday is, at least at the Mass I go to at my parish, the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I have a feeling the answer will be no.

  13. Ef-lover says:

    I voted no- I don’t think ther should be dressing up in costume at all during mass OF or EF on Halloween or All Saints day – the cute kids will be the focus of attention — if there were to be an all saints processin after mass then the kids dressing up can take a few minuets after mass to put on costumes then re-enter and start procession.

  14. DelRayVA says:

    I voted “no,” but I do remember the adult woman who showed up for Easter Vigil with bunny ears on, so maybe I was too hasty.

  15. At our parish, time will provided for the kids to change into their saint’s costumes AFTER the Traditional Latin Mass for Christ the King on Sunday morning. We will have an All Saints Day pageant and a pot luck. There might be some parents who don’t realize this, and their kids may come dressed like saints to the actual Mass. I don’t think that will be a big deal.

    However, I’m fairly certain that there will be Halloween costumes at the novus ordo Mass later in the day. That’s what I’ve come to expect.

  16. “There are very few children at my Mass”

    That makes me kind of sad. Our TLM is brimming with children of all ages, from babies to teenagers.

  17. Christina says:

    Dressing in costume for Mass seems to be the type of thing people at my parish would only do if they were encouraged to, and my parish certainly hasn’t encouraged it at all.

    Personally, unless I KNEW costumes were called for, I would never dress myself or my child in costume and just show up, whether I liked the idea or not. I have a feeling most people think similarly, at least I’m guessing so at my parish.

  18. Patikins says:

    I voted yes since my parish is having an All Saints party for the kids right after the last mass next Sunday. The bulletin announcement does not say not to come to mass in costume so I assume some will. I don’t mind seeing a few Little Flowers at mass; I expect that the parents of kids who are going as martyrs have enough sense to make them wait until after mass to put on their costumes.

    I think next Sunday I might go to the Melkite parish just to be on the safe side.

  19. Marcy K. says:

    At our parish they are having a parade of costumes. Our DRE told me that at the Family Mass at 11am will be a parade of the CCD kids dressed as saints. She invited my 7 year old son to attend since I homeschool him for religion. I don’t get excited about the costumes at Mass thing really because I look at it this way – the CCD kids most likely get very little, if any, Catholic education beyond CCD. They will not be encouraged by their families to dress up or learn about saints. The Religious Education office is doing the best that they can. The parish is poor with many, many immigrants and many families are not living a solid Christian life. The fact the kids are in CCD is in itself a blessing to those kids. Lots of the parents are not married.

    The CCD program runs on volunteers and they have very limited time with them. I guess they figure this does not take away from instruction time and they might not have time to have a party. Dressing in saint costumes is not unusual and really does not seem to distract from the Mass but only brings a joyful element. It was something our old Catholic school did too to try to counteract the whole Halloween thing.

    Now, I am pretty orthodox and long for a good solid orthodox Mass with deep reverence by everyone in the Church. I don’t know of a parish here that has that. Our priests are wonderful Religious missionary priests and do the best they can with what we have. I asked permission to homeschool my son for CCD because I thought he would get a better religious education that way. Our Catholic school closed a couple of years ago and we could not afford the tuition at neighboring schools, so this is my way of giving my son a Catholic school curriculum.

    While it would be wonderful to have it a more orthodox way, I think they are doing the best they can. There are worse things that could happen at Mass then to have little children imitate & honor the saints.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    Except that it ratifies what goes on in the culture on Oct 31st, Marcy.

  21. kjh says:

    There is generally an encouragement for children to come dressed as “their favorite saint” and have an “All Saints Parade”. I think that last year our Pastor asked the organist to play “When the Saints Go Marching In”… I think that it is a really “good” excuse for a cute and short homily. Perhaps in the Religious Education classes they foster a little more development of the theme? I hope so, because I’m afraid that it doesn’t do a lot for me, and I suspect that it doesn’t do much for most people.

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    If they really think that this is beneficial for the kids as a lesson, then they need to treat it like a lesson, which means surround it with genuine catechesis, and then schedule it on a day of its own. Catholic children ought not to think they’re being “thrown a bone,” so to speak. I used to teach and I can tell you that kids are not dumb. Don’t treat them like dummies. They see through it like little laser beams.

  23. Marcy K. says:

    Well catholicmidwest, the culture is what it is. We won’t be getting rid of Halloween any time soon. At least we can promote Catholic culture. I would rather it be out of Mass but I don’t have control over it. I refuse to lose my peace over it. Realistically, there are very few traditional parishes out there compared to your middle of the road or flaming liberal parishes. Wdtprs is an oasis in the desert. We can only pray for our parishes and for our bishops to make good choices. Praise the Lord that our Archdiocese recently received a strong, solid archbishop who is already making changes. I’m hoping that the new English translation coming next year will allow more orthodox changes to take place too (ie: ad orientem.)

  24. lwestin says:

    We won’t have hallowe’en costumes or Saint costumes (though we sometimes have an All Saints party in the hall). However, every year we have visitors from off-island come to Mass in pirate costumes during ‘pirate week’! Adults in really pirate-y pirate costumes! I’m not sure why …

  25. JohnMa says:

    Father wouldn’t let anyone dressed in a costume into the church for Mass. They are having something an hour after Mass for the kids so it is clear that there is time to go home and change.

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    I put that proviso (really think that this is beneficial as a lesson) in there because most of the time contemporary religious instruction isn’t really about preaching the virtues of the saints qua saints. You know, things like purity and chastity and piety. Have you checked any catholic school religious instructional materials lately?

  27. Magpie says:

    Coming to Mass in fancy dress is always inappropriate. It won’t be happening in my parish here in Ireland.

    The only exception to fancy dress is the kind of ceremonial dress as worn by Knights of Columbus and so forth. That is fine, but not any other kind of fancy dress!!!

  28. Catherine says:

    Since I belong to an Anglican-use Catholic parish, the answer would be a resounding “NO.”

    Children dressed in costume would be a distraction from the holy sacrifice of the Mass. If our pastor did allow costumes, I’d go as a wanna-be saint, dressed only in humility and charity.

  29. I fancy I could add a pair of wire specs to my usual garb and claim to be the “The Doctor”. Will my Traddie friends all rebuff me if they figure I’ve been in costume at Mass EVERY SUNDAY for … well, a LONG TIME!… ?

  30. Alice says:

    I don’t expect that it will happen at my parish but I don’t really know because my toddler is a little young for the parish religious education program. We might have taken said toddler to church in his costume last year -he was a Cistercian monk- but I can’t remember. At my parents’ parish the CCD students have a saints parade as part of the entrance procession. I don’t really care one way or another myself.

  31. mike cliffson says:

    This is still the world’s nº 1 nation, that got a man on the moon?
    It’s OUR feast, the Prods rejected it, secularists world wide pant to implant your version of it,can’t we take (as in wrest, conquer, struggle, impose) it back?

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    Why Mike? It’s been blown completely out of proportion by the culture and is now celebrated with all the vigor of Christmas in many places, to which even in its previous unadulterated form it could not aspire. My advice? Kill it as a holiday. Supplant it with silence. Turn off your lights and relax at home instead of rewarding this perversion with candy. And by all means, keep your children and pets indoors lest mischief come to them.

  33. meippoliti says:

    My children are just starting to like to play dress-up. What better than to dress up as saints for pretend play. On the Oriental Trading Company websight they have a couple “religious knight sets”. Thought it was interesting thay they had religious knights under their Christmas costume section? One son became St. George and the other Saint Michael with some angel wings from the same websight. All around the city they are having Halloween or Fall Parties before of course Halloween. I felt that dressing them up and attending, let’s say the Zoo Boo would be a way to telling others what we believe and helps my sons become more aquainted about the saints through play. I believe it’s great to dress up as the saints on All Saints’ Day, but we should encourage this play all the time, rather than all the princesses and comic heroes. Thus Halloween/ All Saints’ Day is not the only time they should dress up.
    Though, the older they get the more scared they are of Halloween costumes/decorations that other people utilize. Thus, making our family decide Halloween is not a time for the kids to be out, unless we want nightmares.
    By not dressing up in costume on Halloween and going to Mass, but instead doing it on All Saints’ Day really gives the message to everyone how special of a day it is that kids get to dress up and go to Mass when they usually must wear their “Church” clothes.

  34. I will defend to my dying breath Halloween and all the trappings: decorations, beggin door-to-door, custumes, and all the rest. And with the costumes, the scarier the better. The devil, being besotted with pride, cannot stand being mocked. So with great Catholic gusto, we mock him and have a grand old time doing so.

    That said, Halloween costumes at Mass are entirely inappropriate. Ditto saint costumes. Mass is not for that.

  35. Rich says:

    I am a teacher who has been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with his class the past few weeks. Hopefully we will be done by Friday, on which day most kids will be coming to school in costumes and my class will substitute a Halloween party with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory party (though, with the presence of Wonka bars – candy – my class will likely miss the general lack of connection with Halloween). I will dress as Willy Wonka for our party.

    However, were I to wear my Willy Wonka costume to church on Sunday, I would not be the least bit surprised or disappointed if my friends were to take the costume cane from me and beat me silly.

  36. Well, if someone were out all night, and realized they were about to miss Mass and had no time to go home and change, and hurried to Mass though dressed in their costume, that would make sense.

    Or if someone were part of a reenactment group and had been out camping, and didn’t have any other clothes with them or a place to change, and they hurried to Mass though dressed in their costumes (or had Mass on-site at their camp), that would make sense. Even better if the whole group went to Mass to get blessed, just as sports teams do.

    Or if you were doing a procession for a saint’s feast day, possibly right from church after Mass, and your confraternity wore a specific costume in the procession, obviously wearing your costume to Mass would make sense. I could see the kids wearing saints’ costumes for some full scale All Saints’ Day fiesta of this kind.

    But it’s a bit weird to get dressed up in costume specifically to go to Mass that way, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done.

  37. Frank H says:

    Last year when Nov 1 was in Sunday, the TLM I attended featured a lovely procession of youngsters dressed as saints. At the sermon, Father invited them to the front of the church and tried to guess the saint each represented. He was quite accurate, and told a bit about each saint. It was quite respectful and catechetical.

  38. Stvsmith2009 says:

    I linked to you twice. First as a post share from my main blog page, and then made a post about your poll from my “Saint Quote of the Day” blog, which is the most popular of my blogs, and has the most subscribers, so there may be more response from there.

  39. AnAmericanMother says:

    If I wear my “Nightmare Before Christmas” hairsticks under my mantilla, does it count? I wear them every Hallowe’en, but nobody has ever noticed them (or at least nobody has ever commented on them, but my friends are not usually shy).

    The school attached to our parish has a Parade of Saints for the little ones on Hallowe’en, or on Friday after school if the holiday falls on a weekend. I’ve never seen anybody near the church with a costume on — but of course we only came to this parish in 2004, which was the last time Hallowe’en fell on a Sunday, but we had just converted and didn’t notice.

  40. Esther says:

    @David Werling – the reason there are very few children at the Mass I go to is that it’s a university chaplaincy, and very few students are parents (although some students are, and some University staff who have children come with them.)

  41. jflare says:

    Personally, I’ve never had a real problem with Halloween.
    I’m well aware that there are those who’ll blow it out of proportion, but I’ve never felt that we could resolve THAT problem by trying to ban it. It’s a holiday which offers enough fun–to those who’re willing–that it’s not worth the bother of trying to abolish it.
    I’m forced to chuckle a little at the idea of costumes for Mass though. Or groan, I’m not sure which. I remember attending a Halloween party at church, dressed at John, the Baptist. I think another year, I went as a train engineer.
    I can’t imagine my parents ever allowing me to wear a costume to Mass though. Unless it was VERY clear that we were dressed as saints.
    Otherwise, I think Dad would flip, while Mom would be..skeptical?

    Thank heavens, the parish I attend these days doesn’t tend to go for these..ideas.

    Why not let Halloween be Halloween, then celebrate All Saint’s Day with more vigor?
    After all the sugar the kids get Halloween night, parents need all the excuses they can find for keeping the kids in line….

  42. I could show up as a girl altar boy and frighten Fr. Perrone….

    …. but I think it would be in my best interest not to.

  43. darcy-wi says:

    I’ve never know it to happen at my parish. However my 2 year old might show up in her new Tinkerbell winter nightgown… because I can’t get her to wear anything else. At least it is kind of like a dress.

  44. K. Marie says:

    Usually the families with kids 2 and under will dress up the little ones at my “home” parish(I attend a commuter TLM held at a different parish most of the time, but am registered with this one and am part of the youth group). I’m not a huge fan of it, but at least at that age the costumes are still cute instead of wildly inappropriate and revealing.

  45. I’ve never seen costumes at Mass for our parish.

    Our parish usually has Eucharistic Adoration on the first Sunday of the month in the evening. This week they are canceling it because of Halloween. I admit, with my husband being out of town and 3 kids, I don’t know that I could go anyway, but I do find it a disappointing interpretation of All Hallow’s Eve.

  46. cheekypinkgirl says:

    I agree with Sean – Halloween has inherently Catholic aspects to it. Yeah, there’s paganism as part of it, but there are lessons to be learned on that subject, as well.

    Too many Traditional Catholics act like sheep when it comes to Halloween. Afraid of being judeged by all the other “good” Catholics who only allow their kids to do the All Saints thing. In my opinion, kids should be allowed and encouraged to celebrate both.

  47. q7swallows says:

    Were my parish a liberal one, I might be tempted to don the costume I wore last year: Bl. Miguel Pro. It had a sash that said, “Just Shoot Me” . . .

  48. digdigby says:

    On Holy Innocents in England before the ‘reformation’, little boys would dress as priests and even bishops and enter in solemn procession to remind us that when we destroy a child we destroy only God knows what.

  49. benedetta says:

    I am wary that adults may come dressed up for Halloween (the secular celebration, not All Saints) at my large suburban parish in which adults and children seem to dress similarly on Sundays for Mass…shorts, t-shirts, sneakers or flip flops. I was startled to run into an elderly lady on July 4th weekend wearing unfortunately high short-shorts and a white t-shirt with the American flag emblazoned. It would be nice if a children’s All Saints party had been planned…maybe it’s something I could suggest for next year. Since this parish has a somewhat theatrical, and in-the-round, atmosphere, I would not be surprised to see a spontaneous showing of costumes just for the fun of it. We relocated to this region and it is hard to find much different although we have finally happened upon a great, reverent place about a 45 minute drive away. If I do see (secular) costumes this Sunday I am going to think long and hard about undertaking that drive a lot more often in the future.

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