|The LaFond family in their holy finery at the All Saints party.|
November 5, 2009. Halloween is always a colorful affair at
Mary Queen of Peace parish in Rogers, Minnesota. After the
regular parish Mass at 5 pm, a brightly clad army
of little saints comes marching down into the parish hall,
ready to dive into the dozens of games set up
for them by a crew of volunteers. They throw beanbags
at a life-sized cardboard Goliath, toss a ring onto a
dragon’s horn à la St George, play Musical Saints (prizes
included), march in a parade, and eat their fill of
pizza and cookies. At the end, prizes are awarded for
the best costumes in several categories.
The All Saints party started
out some years ago with Familia members who wanted
to bring Catholic traditions to life in their family. Later,
it was handed over to the parish, where it is
now organized by the current Youth and Family apostolate coordinator,
Laura Selkin. With over 25 volunteers, including Familia members and
teens who were able to earn double service hours for
their Confirmation classes, this year’s party gathered over a sizeable
group of children from in and outside of the parish.
|St Florian, a Roman soldier, won a prize for best costume.|
It also gathered parents who were looking for an alternative
to the usual ghouls and goblins.
“People look forward to it
every year as an alternative to Halloween. It’s a chance
to truly celebrate the joy of all saints. And of
course, the kids still get to dress up,” said Robin
LaFond, local Familia director and parish volunteer.
“The costumes get
a little more creative every year,” she observed. “The kids
are now seeking out new saints they haven’t heard of
One boy did extensive research on his chosen saint—a
Roman soldier named St Florian—and prepared as authentic a costume
as he could. There was a Juan Diego walking around
with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in his
hands. A St Michael the Archangel was also there, his
wings lit up with white Christmas tree lights. And a
very small Noah also made an appearance, carrying an ark
in his hands.
The kids weren’t the only ones who
had fun. St Lawrence (Mr. LaFond) was the party emcee,
wearing chains and sporting grill marks all over the front
and back of his shirt and pants, as well as
on his face (washable marker can do wonders). And one
teacher showed up as St Francis, sporting the requisite bald
spot and stuffed animals pinned all over his brown robes.
a parting gift, each saint also took home a bag
of Halloween candy.
“The kids aren’t losing out on what
Halloween is all about,” said Robin. “Lately it’s become so
much about death and gore. We’re trying to take it
back for what it is: the Eve of All Saints.”