All Saints Day
As always, the Church not only offers an "alternative" to the garish decorations that are filling up my neighborhood, but indeed the original holyday that the rest of the world so sooon forgets. In the Church's calendar, November 1 has marked the celebration of the lives of great heroes of the faith; In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all; our earliest record of this observance comes from a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian in A.D. 373.
Ocotober 31 is the eve of this commemoration- a time of prayer, thanksgiving, and celebration of exemplary lives that have gone before. "Halloween" literally refers to the eve of the holy ones... "all hallowed's eve"...= "halloween."