All Saints Day
Kids have fun with this, dressing up as saints, maybe their name saint, or a favorite saint. Sunday our pastor told this little joke about a classroom dressing up as saints. The priest noticed Saint Michael with his sword, Saint Peter with his fishing pole, Saint Theresa, and then the kid dressed like a dog. “Who is this?” the priest asked. “I’m Saint Bernard,” the kid answered.
I loved dressing up for Trick or Treating and Halloween (all hallowed eve) parties. In my childhood I knew nothing about saints or the need to honor them. But I loved the treats and the school parade, parties and hayrides.
I made an author visit to Guyandotte Elementary in WV, on Halloween two years ago. Everyone was dressed up. They had a neighborhood parade just like my class used to do “in the olden times.” They walked around the block with noise makers and passed a nursing home where the residents were on the porch waving. Our school used to walk past my Grandma’s and my aunt’s houses. They were always outside to wave to us.
I don’t think many schools still do this. It’s not safe, I suppose. Most schools I visit these days I have my picture taken and wear ID. Sometimes I have to leave my driver license in the office until I leave or leave a thumb print on file. A code is necessary to open the front door. Here at Guyandotte Elementary the principal stood in the middle of the road, dressed as a cowboy, and held traffic for the parade. The school door was left propped open with a cinder block. I guess the ghouls, goonies and boogey men that have invaded our nation’s schools haven’t reached Guyandotte yet. Perhaps it’s a town of saints rather than terrorists.
Another Halloween/saint adventure I had on the road selling books was a girl in Kentucky who was so excited about her Halloween costume to be worn later that week, she was jumping up and down telling me about it. Her class was dressing up as their favorite character in a book. She said her mother had made her an apron out of a pillow case, she was going to wear her mom’s nursing cap and she had a red curly wig. She planned to smear hamburger juice on the apron. She was dressing as nurse Claire from my Avery and Gunner books. When she said she was “going as Claire” I thought she meant Saint Claire! That was such an honor for Claire and her humble author. I was humbled and gratified. I never thought I’d write a character that would be honored in such a way.