Happy Holy-Ween?

If you thought Halloween was just a harmless occasion for dressing up like your favourite celebrity while skull-shaped celestial objects hurtled past overhead, think again. Experts understand that this seemingly lighthearted celebration is fraught with little-known hazards.

Rome’s chief exorcist, Gabriel Amorth, has warned of a danger to young people at Halloween, because of the increase in occult activity, which fuels insomnia, mental illness; depression and suicidal thoughts in children, he claims.

The Church has apparently also been claiming that “a spike in possessions in October is down to the phenomenon of Halloween”. Fortunately, the priest who runs something called the Anti-Sect Service (it would be funnier, and more in line with the puritanical side of the Catholic tradition, if it were called the Anti-Sects Service) has thought of a brilliant solution to the entire problem.

Last year Father Buonaiuto even called for Halloween to be scrapped and replaced with Holy-ween, a night in which children would attend prayer vigils and dress up as saints.

I think “Holy-ween” sounds pretty stupid and prayer vigils are for people with too much time on their hands, but I fully endorse the idea of dressing up as a saint on October 31. Some saints, after all, came to such ghastly ends that they’d fit perfectly into a typical zombie parade. I thought I would have to dig up a few illustrative examples myself, but it turns out that instructions for dressing up like St. Lawrence (cooked alive), St. Cecilia (gradually bled to death because her miraculously durable neck prevented a swift decapitation) and St. Lucy (blinded before being executed) are already available online, courtesy – to be fair – of an impeccably Catholic blogger who appears to have an excellent sense of humour. You could also take on the role of the Head Honcho himself, complete with stigmata and crown of thorns. Trick-or-treating in the guise of a Muslim martyr is likely to pose a little more of a challenge, considering that (1) there generally isn’t much left of them after the explosives go off and (2) recruiting 72 people of your preferred sex(es) to portray the officially mandated harem of virgins can require substantial time and coordination. In particular, it’s probably too late to get such a costume together for this year – but nevertheless, happy Hallo-ween!

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