St. Joseph Elementary and Preschool has a longstanding and very cute Halloween tradition – the annual costume parade. At the end of this year’s parade, a new tradition began.
Fr. Chris Ankley sent a letter to parents, sharing the Catholic roots of All Hallows Eve and the various traditions it inspired over the centuries. He extended an invitation for the children to dress as saints – saints with the intention to trick and receive a treat.
Who were they to trick? Fr. Chris and Fr. José Haro.
“They have to give us two clues about their mystery saint,” Fr. Chris wrote. “If we can’t deduce who they are, they get a prize. All the traditional Halloween activities of St. Joseph School will remain the same. If a child so chooses they do not have to dress as a saint. They should be aware, however, that the contest is only for those who dress as a saint.”
St. Joseph School Principal Sara Myers hung a large signup sheet by the office, pleased to have ten students willing to participate.
“We are a Catholic school, and we are always looking at ways we can add to our Catholic identity,” Mrs. Myers said.
Parents, students, and staff gathered in the cafeteria after the Halloween parade to see if Fr. Chris and Fr. José could name all ten saints. They got eight out of ten right.
Can you guess these Saints? [l. to r.] Mary Sui as Mother Theresa, Jennitzy Talavera as Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Adriana Olsen as Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Emma Rose Smith as Saint Philomena, Aaron Barraza Reyes as St. Aaron, Addisyn Lowe as St. Catherine of Sienna, Carson Brown as St Joseph, Jerome Bastian as Saint Emile Martyr, and Juan Mejia Lugo as John Paul II.
Who stumped our priests? Emma Rose Smith, who was St. Philomena, and Jerome Bastian, who was St. Émile.
Fr. Chris chuckled over his losses.
“The clues [Emma] gave me were, ‘I’m a female saint and like babies’,” Fr. Chris said.
As far as St. Émile, Fr. Chris could only deduce he was a martyr.
“[Jerome] had a very clever costume,” Fr. Chris said. “He had a ring of fire around his feet and a palm branch, which meant he was a martyr.”
The winners received a rosary. All the participants received a small crucifix and a sizable candy bar – so sizeable Mrs. Myers reported hearing a collective gasp. After that, the room was far from quiet.
“The students really loved when they were able to stump the priests,” Mrs. Myers said. “The kids were screaming and cheering.”
Fr. Chris is already looking forward to next year.
“Hopefully we will get more kids,” Fr. Chris said. “We gave out some really big candy bars. One of the teachers said the parents were already talking about it.”
The parents weren’t the only ones talking.
“I’m anticipating that we are going to have a longer list next year,” Mrs. Myers said. “At the end of the day, I heard kindergartners walking down the hall saying, ‘I’m going to be a saint next year!’”