18 Ways Knights of Columbus Are Bringing Catholicism Back to Halloween
By Rose Wagner
Whatever your plans this Halloween, it’s the perfect moment to appreciate the Catholic history behind Halloween and see how Knights are putting their traditions in action for Halloween, All Saints’ Day and throughout the fall season.
Check out what Knights near you are doing now and through the years:
Nativity of Our Lord Council 10961 in Broomfield hosted a Trunk or Treat and chili cook-off as a safe Halloween event for more than 100 of families. The event included a Vigil Mass to celebrate the feast of All Saints as well as a car show that included classic vehicles, a Broomfield police cruiser, and a North Metro Fire Rescue District fire engine and ambulance.
Orinoco Council 39 in Greenwich hosted a Halloween party for people with intellectual disabilities. Knights threw the get-together for members of Abilis, an organization that provides therapy and advocacy to people with disabilities and their families.
Every story about Halloween and All Saint’s Day needs mention of at least one council named in honor of all the saints. All Saints Council 11402 in Atlanta, hosts a “Pumpkin Patch” event each fall, starting five weeks before Halloween, to raise money for charities. The event includes 3,500+ pumpkins, scarecrows, hay bales and a special performance – the Singing Pumpkins.
And what about those Knights of Columbus staples? Those pancake breakfasts and Tootsie Roll Drives? Halloween is a time for those too, according to Knights in Illinois. St. Joseph Council 11358 in Manteno hosts a Halloween pancake breakfast for area youngsters, donating proceeds from the event to the Manteno food pantry, while Msgr. James Patrick Burke Council 2964 in Mount Vernon distributes Tootsie Rolls to residents at an area nursing home for Halloween.
More Tootsie Rolls can be found during the Pioneer Park Halloween Hike, where Knights from St. Thomas More Council 7431 in Mooresville, pass them out. And in Anderson, Msgr. Thomas J. Travers Council 563 hosts an annual Children's Halloween Party with games, prizes, a goody bag and a free hot dog meal.
Msgr. J. M. Hanson Council 5038 in Ankeny hosted a Halloween party for young parishioners at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Church. Admission to the event was a donated item for a non-profit organization offering disability services, advocacy and support.
Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary Council 14372 in Lexington, hosts a pumpkin patch for parish children to build community among various local and parish groups.
At the Knights of Columbus Kids Halloween Party organized by Holy Cross Parish Council 12652 in Lewiston, children are encouraged to dress up as their favorite saint, angel or Biblical character.
James C. Fletcher Council 11422 in Largo treated nearly 50 local children to a Halloween party. They also join councils throughout the state in supporting an annual fall banquet benefiting the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns.
For decades, Father Dennis J. Rocheford Council 4241 in North Oxford has conducted a Halloween party for approximately 50 adults with special needs and their caregivers.
Minnesota is home to some of the oldest-known Halloween celebrations in the United States. In fact, the city of Anoka is called the Halloween Capital of the World, and Anoka Council 2018 helps keep up the Halloween tradition by sponsoring a Haunted House in the city.
Other councils in the state celebrate as well. Queen of Peace Council 5296 in Elk River sell Halloween pumpkins to support their Pennies for Seminarians fund, while Brother Elzear Council 5202 at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona hold a holy hour at the university chapel in honor of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
St. Isaac Jogues Council 11312 in Lincoln holds an annual Halloween pumpkin sale. In past years, Knights have sold the pumpkins at the North American Martyrs Church craft fair, one year netting $231 to build a prayer garden at the Lincoln Right to Life center.
Delaware Council 1056 hosts a Hallowed Hayride through the St. Mary Cemetery during which attendees learn about the history and martyrdom of Christian Saints.
In the past, Corvallis Council 1785 has hosted an Italian dinner fundraiser before All Saints Day raise funds to repair a building used for youth and other parish activities. Holy cards of different saints were used at each table.
Members of Pokrova Council 13561 in Bristol provided refreshments for a “Holy-ween” party in 2009. About 60 adults and children dressed in costumes as their favorite saints or holy people enjoyed an evening of food, games and fellowship.
St. Basil Council 4204 in Sugar Land hosted a Halloween party for local children. More than 100 angels, hobgoblins and more enjoyed games, gifts and food. And St. Elizabeth Council 10373 in Pflugerville held an All Saints’ Day party in 2006 for the children of St. Elizabeth Church, who were encouraged to dress as their favorite saints. The council provided food, face painting and games.
And it’s not just Knights in the U.S. celebrating the weekend. One of our favorite stories is from a Knight in Canada.
Ivan Franchi of Father Gerald M. Warren Council 7969 in Stoney Creek, Ontario, has built a Halloween maze at his home for several years. Making use of fog machines and animatronics, he provides a memorable fright experience for children and adults alike. Admission to the exhibit is a donation to the local food bank: One year, visitors donated nearly 1,000 pounds of food to help those in need.
And halfway around the worldwide, Knights in Japan celebrate as well.
Twenty-Six Martyrs Council 12970 at the Atsugi Naval Air Facility co-hosted a Halloween party for children at a local orphanage. Knights helped create a haunted house and provided candy bags for all those in attendance.
Didn’t find your state or country on the list? Let us know what your council is doing this Halloween (and any time of the year) by sharing your story with Rose Wagner at email@example.com. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Catholic men are welcome to put their faith in action by joining the Knights of Columbus: www.kofc.org/joinus