The Feast of All Souls
I'm confused because culturally I never saw anything wrong with Halloween. It was a pretty big holiday when I was a kid. In Brazil it has a bad rap because in Portuguese it is called "the day of the witches" and it's looked down upon. My wife seems to be fully convinced that it is demonic. I had to explain it a little at work...etc.
Then I see articles like "Halloween is Catholic" etc.
Basically, I just want to see it from everyone's point of view to see if I form a different opinion.
As poche pointed out, the 31st of October is the Vigil of All Saints (Hallow means saint, coming from Middle English 'halwe', cf. German Heilige). All Saints (Nov. 1st) is the feast of the Church Triumphant in Heaven, All Souls (Nov 2nd) is the feast (if I may use the term) of the Church Suffering in Purgatory.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia
: The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy and all the Masses are to be of Requiem, except one of the current feast, where this is of obligation.
Pope Benedict XV granted priests permission to offer three Masses on All Soul's Day. One of these Masses the Celebrant may say according to his own intention; one must be offered for the faithful departed and the third for the intention of the Holy Father.
The Raccolta gives the immeasurable privilege of a plenary indulgence applicable only to the Holy Souls, toties quoties
to all who devoutly visit a Benedictine Church or, if because of infirmity or distance, greater than a mile, you can't visit a Benedictine Church, wearing a blessed medal of St Benedict, visit any Church, from the Vespers of November 1st to sunset on November 2nd. I can see no reason why not to go in and out of the Church as often as ever you can. You could obtain many plenary indulgences on a single day.
The Raccolta itself gives the conditions:https://archive.org/details/theraccoltaorcol00unknuoftCustoms
On the Continent [of Europe], the laudable-seeming custom of tidying up relatives' graves, bringing candles and flowers and saying prayers for the Dead is observed on Nov. 2nd. I can understand the Breton custom of washing the grave
Soul-cakes were once given to the poor as alms, the merit of the act being applied to the Souls in Purgatory.
The dressing up as demons, ghosts, witches (I remember listening to an interesting tape by an elderly Jesuit who pointed out that a ghost may be one of two things -- a soul in Purgatory permitted to appear on Earth to ask for succour or else a demon. If it's malicious, then it's a demon as they're Holy Souls. The best thing to do is have a Mass said for it. If it's a holy soul, it will do it good. No demon wants a Mass said!) and so on, divination, horror stories, carved pumpkins and the rest of it strikes me as thoroughly pagan, glorifying the occult, and to be avoided. So, too, trick-or-treating, guising and the like.
The custom of souling, or going from door to door begging cakes in exchange for prayers for the dead, seems to have degenerated into trick-or-treating.Summary
To my mind, avoid ''Halloween'' utterly. The disgusting parades of witches, murderers, demons and the like are in no sense Christian and have nothing to do with the Holy Souls. Take your children to church on All Souls Day to pray for the dead and above all to obtain the precious graces our Mother offers us for the dead.
I am not a priest, but it seems an open-and-shut case to me. A holy feast has degenerated into occultism, perhaps by connection with the pagan Samhain.