Halloween Costumes & blasphemy

So, up unto this point I’ve been unaware that some Halloween isnt celebrated among certain catholics for various reasons, but mainly centered around costumes.

Generally, what would be considered inappropriate/blasphemous costumes (aside from the obvious like things that glorify the devil and immodest clothing)?

Specifically, would dressing as an Archangel be considered inappropriate?

I don’t even think dressing like a devil is an issue. Everyone knows that Halloween is kitschy and goofy. No one sees someone dressed as a demon for Halloween and thinks the costume is expressing some kind of sincere affirmation of demons.

1 Like

Tell that to the people that come on CAF and rail against Halloween every year. :joy:


I haven’t seen a thread like that yet this year. Halloween is Saturday!

Why would you think that dressing (modestly and not in a horror or gory way) like an Archangel would be inappropriate?

You do realize that many Catholic schools encourage the kids to dress as their favorite saint, which includes the angelic saints? St. Michael the Archangel is a “superhero” warrior and I’m sure there are little boys dressing like him every year in these saint pageants.

When I was a kid it was not verboten to dress as a little devil either and some kids still do. I dressed up as a devil when I was in about third grade and my mother for a joke sent me to trick-or-treat at the parish rectory.

Are you a convert from some faith that condemns Halloween dress-up?

1 Like

If it helps, I know a convent of habited nuns who dress up for All Saint’s Day. :slight_smile: If I remember, the guideline they give themselves is to dress up as a holy person or holy object. Then the other sisters try to guess who or what they are.

I guess technically I don’t remember seeing them dress as any particular angelic person, only human persons… but maybe that’s coincidence? I don’t see a specific reason (personally) why not to. Maybe someone else will chime in with one though.

No, just a revert who never really took the time to learn about how catholics address certain elements of secular culture, and being that nobody around me is really into the faith, I find it a bit difficult to discern

Edit: I know Halloween is a catholic holiday, but I mean the secular side of it in how its been changed into just dressing up and asking for candy

Every Catholic family has their own ideas about appropriate costumes. Many families are fine with kids dressing as all kinds of stuff, including not only the generally okay stuff such as animals, but also stuff that might make some other people nervous, such as police officers, jail inmates, GI Joe, hobos, Native Americans, witches, wizards, Harry Potter characters, Disney characters, horror film characters, devils, ghosts, and people currently in the news like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Donald Trump.

When I was a kid 50 years ago, all this stuff would have been fine, except maybe for the military costumes because the Vietnam War was a hot button issue. Nowadays, some families would probably find some of the above costume choices offensive or inappropriate. I’m pretty sure that the reason Catholic schools have switched to promoting “dress up as your favorite saint” is not only to teach kids about saints for All Saints’ Day, but also to let kids have the fun of wearing their costume to school for a parade and party without having to deal with 20 calls from parents upset about their kid’s classmates’ choice of costumes.

I note that the Catholic Church itself doesn’t have specific rules for costumes except it would obviously object to anything immodest, obscene, or blasphemous, and blasphemous would be in the sense of mocking the sacred, not just dressing up in a respectful way like an angel or even Mother Mary.

Dressing like an angel, either one of the named angels from Scripture or a generic unnamed angel (which also appear in Scripture) does not present any controversy. I would note that to the extent that Catholic or Protestant schools still have Christmas pageants, there are always many kids dressed as angels (and shepherds) because you can have as many of each as needed to make sure each kid gets a part in the play.

1 Like

Halloween is not a Catholic holiday here in Australia. Is it really a Catholic holiday in USA? We have all saints and all souls.

He means it’s traditionally a Catholic holiday, which it is.

Nowadays we would celebrate the vigil of All Saints Day on Halloween night. In past centuries it was regarded differently.

This is a Protestant source, but the explanation it contains is the same one my Catholic mother told me as a child. Halloween was traditionally when the ghosts and witches and such did their mischief, before being shooed away on the morning of the All Saints’ holy day.

1 Like

We dont really have halloween here (except for the hall mark type commercialism attempting to introduce it for commercial gain) and would call just stick with All Saints and then following that, All Souls.

1 Like

The way my mother told it, when she was a kid in the 1930s in US, kids didn’t dress up or go Trick or Treating like they did later. It was a “mischief night” and kids, usually boys, would go out and play tricks like soaping people’s windows, or ringing doorbells and hiding when the person came to answer. Teens might have some sort of a party. The kiddie costume aspects took over later and I’m sure they were driven by merchandising, selling masks and costumes and candy.


I can imagine mischief night really taking off here with kids. :slight_smile:

I remembered there is a Hollywoodized example of “Mischief Night” in the Judy Garland musical film “Meet Me in St. Louis”, involving the bratty little sister Tootie. This is way more elaborate than most kids would have done - typically the “costume” might have been some old raggy clothes and coal dust on the face to hide their identity - but the pranks seem like the type of thing kids might have done in the first half of the 20th century.

1 Like

If I recall correctly, in Betty Smith’s novel, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, the protagonist, Francie Nolan talks about growing up in Brooklyn in the early 20th century and how they would dress up for Halloween (mainly rub burnt cork on their faces and put feathers on their heads) and play tricks, but on Thanksgiving was when they took a basket or sack and went from door to door asking for treats.

I need to look this up, as I haven’t done my annual read of the book this year, but I’m pretty sure that’s what they did.

Mother Angelica had children dressed as saints visit her on the set of her show on All Saints Day. The reruns are available on EWTN.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.