You may want to have a party of some sort on All Hallows Eve with your families. You can send sweets to families for the parents and carers to give to their children, have an online pumpkin-carving competition, and more.
Here is a liturgy that you can do on Zoom as part of this. It takes about 20 minutes – 11 minutes of that is a film, a portion of Disney’s Fantasia that explores the journey from a scary night to the dawn of God’s light in the morning. It helps put All Hallows Eve in its context – yes, death and evil are real, and yes, the world can be a scary place. By dressing up as skeletons or ghosts or zombies, children take charge of those fears and, through play, achieve mastery of them. In the morning of All Saints Day, after we have confronted our fear of death through the symbols of All Hallows Eve, we are comforted by the reality that we do not become ghosts or zombies after death, but saints, given new life in God’s Kingdom by the one who has defeated death, and who invites us to follow him into new life with the saints who have come before us.
Once we’re in more normal times again, the liturgy can be easily adapted to be done in person, not over Zoom.
All Hallows Eve liturgy:
Approximately 20 minutes, on Zoom. Appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Leader: The night is far gone
All: the day is near.
Leader: Let us then lay aside the works of darkness
All: and put on the armour of light.
Leader: As the earth turns towards autumn, darkness and cold, and the year dies, we remember that all living things will die, and we face our fear of death. We may dress up as ghosts, or skeletons, or vampires, or zombies, in this dark autumn night. We play with spookiness, as we confront symbols of death and darkness. And we acknowledge that the world can be a scary place, and we need bravery and courage.
But we remember that death does not have the final word. The night of All Hallows Eve passes, and with it, the ghosts and skeletons and vampires and zombies. And the dawn breaks on the day of All Saints Day, when we can remember that after death, we become not ghosts or zombies, but saints. We remember that in the battle with death and darkness, we have on our side Jesus, who has fought death for us and won, and who invites us to follow him through death into new life that lasts forever in God’s Kingdom.
If you have a decorated pumpkin, you can light it now. Otherwise turn off all the lights except one, or turn off all the lights and light a candle.
On Zoom – participants mute themselves. Leader shares their screen and clicks the “share computer sound” box in the bottom left of the “share screen” popup. Everyone sings along at home.
For All The Saints – missing a few verses.
Shorter version, but includes the “when the strife is fierce, the warfare long” verse that’s cut above, which may be pastorally needed this year.
Shorter version, with verses 1, 2, and 8 only.
Fantasia – Night on Bald Mountain / Ave Maria (11 minutes)
I wonder what your favourite part of that film was.
I wonder what the most important part of that film was.
I wonder where you are in that film.
I wonder where God is in that film.
I wonder how that music made you feel.
Turn on the lights again.
Leader: Let us remember the promises made at our baptism, or look forward to promises we may make when we are baptised.
Do you turn away from sin?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you reject evil?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
All: I do.
Leader: Do you trust in him as Lord?
All: I do.
Leader: With the help of the saints who have run the race of life before us, and who now rejoice in the new life of Christ, let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.