Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Let Them Be Saints

Our parish has a fabulous Trunk or Treat All Saints party every year.

While talking with other parents at our parish, I realized some of them were avoiding attending because the thought of another set of costumes the same weekend as Halloween was overwhelming. I've always encouraged them to just look around their house. The dress-up bin, which every family with children should compile as a basic source of imaginative play, is the first and best resource for All Saints costumes. A simple prop can be enough to make a costume: a bit of lace for St. Zelie, a watch for St. Martin, a hammer for St. Joseph, a stuffed bird pinned to the shoulder for St. Francis. One of the easiest costumes for All Saints was a doctor costume I bought at an after-Halloween sale for pennies on the dollar and paired with a baby doll for St. Gianna Molla. An old white shirt of Dad's over regular clothes would work for a doctor's coat, don't you think? If you have a toy stethoscope, all the better!

Here are our delighted and excited saints on the day of the party in 2015.

Second Son (age 5) is St. George. He's wearing pieces of the Armor of God costume which First Son received when he was even younger than Second Son is in this picture. It's been worn by every child over and over again. Every family should have a knight costume floating around. We did buy a new sword because Second Son wears them out faster than most kids go through shoes. He's stomping on his defeated dragon, First Son's Folkmanis Tyrannosaurus Rex Hand Puppet, received on another birthday. It's still beautiful after years of use and abuse.

Second Daughter (age 7) is St. Elizabeth of Hungary. We've had a St. Elizabeth more often than not. She's a queen who carries a basket of bread so is always an easy and pleasing choice for girls. Any fancy dress will do. For at least three parties, one of the girls wore a sparkly pink dress we inherited from my nieces. I bought this one at Goodwill a few years ago for about $3. It's been in the costume box the whole time and has suffered quite a bit of wear (multiple pieces fell off during the party), but is still cherished by the girls. We've had many crowns over the years but they were currently all broken, so we bought one at the grocery store. It happened to come with a ring and earrings, so she wore those, too. Last year, she made her own crown out of paper, but the purchased one did stay on better. We made rolls for her to carry in the basket. I left her in the kitchen to shape them (while cleaning out her summer clothes) and she made crosses out of them. She distributed them throughout the party, replacing them with candy from the trunk or treat. The rolls are wrapped in a blue table runner I bought at Goodwill sometime in the past and kept in the saints costume box.

First Daughter (age 9) is Our Lady of Sorrows with her salt-dough crown of thorns. Over the years, I've found basic shirts, skirts, tablecloths, and pillow cases in white, blue, black, and brown (all at Goodwill) which can be put together to create a facsimile of nearly any nun or angel so most of her clothes came from my stash. She did spy the blue scarf at Goodwill this year and requested it as a sash around her waist. Big sizes are the most useful, especially in skirts, and can easily be pinned to fit lots of different sized-girls over the years. The ladies' skirts are long enough to be at ankle length for most girls. Wimples are easily faked by pulling a white shirt over the head and then pulling it up partway to cover the hair. Pin the sleeves and cover with a black or brown pillow case (why else would you want one in black or brown?).

First Son (age 11) is Bl. Jose Sanchez del Rio. He's wearing the same white shirt and tan capris we bought at Goodwill last year for his Tintin costume for Halloween. Those capris were huge around his waist last year; we just put a belt on him and called it good. It was great this year because he could wear them again! We added a red sash (a scarf) and his father's good brown boots. He made the flag himself (Google is good for something) and taped it to an old broken broom handle.

For 2015, we bought a grocery store crown (which now lives in the dress-up bin), a sword (also in the dress-up bin), a basket at Goodwill (because she wanted one with a handle and which she now uses for toys in her room), a blue scarf (put in the saints costume box), and a red scarf (which I will wear). The total was probably about $20, but if pressed we probably could have managed without any of the new items. Dressing as saints is not about buying or making another costume; it's about envisioning ourselves as saints and delighting in their love of God.


  1. They look great. Ethan is now in a size 8 men's shoe - looks like First Son's feet may be growing like his! Our costume bin has gotten so much use over the years - the best are the spontaneous plays that take place!

  2. First Son is currently a 9.5. (He was an 8 last winter.) I love the costume bin. I think it we could only have two kinds of toys, it would have to be the costumes and Legos.


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