Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trick-or-Treating (6)

Or a better title for this post might be "Imitating the Saints" (a good occupation for all of us, I'd say!).

When our boys were attending the local Catholic K-8 grade school, the 1st- and 2nd-graders were allowed to wear costumes to school for their Halloween parties, but there was one caveat: they had to dress up like SAINTS.  Each year, there was a "Parade of Saints" in the schoolyard, and we proud parents would come with our cameras and take pictures of our little angels as they marched around the perimeter of the tarmac playground.

When my four oldest boys were in 1st and 2nd grade, each Halloween I would pull together some saints' get-ups for them that I thought would be more than adequate; you know, like a bathrobe and a staff and there you have it--St. Joseph!   But then I would show up for the parade to see costumes that looked like the moms had spent months and months perfecting them, and I'd be a little mortified.

"But I'm a very busy mom,"  I'd tell myself.  I'd had four sons in four years, and while I loved a good saint's costume as much as the next person, I just didn't feel like I had the time to craft the costume to beat all costumes for my kids, the kind of costume that would produce gasps of wonder at the Parade of Saints.  That wasn't high on my list of priorities at the time.

So when the four oldest boys were going through those early grades, here is an example of what, to me, was a perfectly acceptable saint's costume.  I give you son #4, Saint James the Greater (1995):
This costume was achieved with a bathrobe and a hand towel.  But lest you think me the laziest costume-maker of all time, I DID fashion the rustic fishing pole he's carrying here (because this saint was a fisherman who became a "fisher of men"), even cutting the wooden fish out with my scroll saw and painting it.  I need to get some points for that fishing pole!

By the time my youngest son was in 1st grade, Saint James the Greater was in 6th grade and it had been a long time since I'd had to make a saint's costume for anyone.  My baby's first saint's costume was not bad; but for his second and final appearance in the Parade of Saints, I decided to go all-out for a change and put some real time and effort into it.  I give you Saint Patrick (2000):
The robe was made from an old sheet and the scepter from the handle of a broken mop, but I actually bought the green fabric and gold rick-rack especially for this costume.  I painstakingly appliqued those shamrocks on the robe.  I was determined that my baby, whose middle name is Patrick, would be the most splendid Saint Patrick possible. Although his was not even close to the most amazing costume in the parade that year, I know my little part-Irishman was very proud to wear it in honor of one of his patrons.

God bless the administration of this Catholic school for the effort they took to remind the young, impressionable students who went there that the real heroes they should try to emulate are not Ninja Turtles, professional sports stars, Spiderman, or the like; they're the brave warriors for our Faith, some of whom gave their lives for it.  The real superheroes are the saints.
All the wee saints, lining up to head out to the schoolyard for the 2000 parade.
God bless you on this Sunday and every day, and may Saint James, Saint Patrick, and all the saints watch over you.  In honor of the Patron of the Emerald Isle, I'll leave you with this old Irish proverb:

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.


  1. That is a great Halloween/All Saints Day tradition. I can't wait to dress our girls up like their patron saints.

    1. And I can't wait to see THAT! They've been named after such wonderful saints!