This year, instead of organizing and/or attending a local homeschool All Hallows' Eve/All Saints' Party, as we have done in the past, we decided to host a party at our home with just family and close friends. It ended up being quite the party and my kids have already asked if we could "have a party like this every year, please!!" They weren't the only ones that had a great time... One little boy told his mom that it was "the best night of his entire life!" before falling asleep on the drive home. Here are some pictures from the evening:
.: Family, Friends and lots of little Saints :.
Pretiosa in conspectu Domini
We ended up having over 50 guests, including two wonderful priests, all six of my siblings that currently live in the area, and even four of our godchildren!
My children were especially excited to see their Aunt Julianna show up dressed as Blessed Kateri, and their little cousin as St. Philomena!
.: Rosary :.
Once the priests arrived, we began the evening with the rosary. We prayed that all of us will one day be Saints in Heaven, and also prayed for our Departed Clergy, Departed Family, Departed Friends, and the Forgotten Dead. I had created tombstones for our loved ones names to be written on, before the rosary, and we laid a couple branches of evergreens with red berries to symbolize the passion of Christ which wrought eternal life for us.
Following the Rosary, everyone that was dressed as a saint stood up and shared a little something about their saint, and received an extra treat!
.: Dinner and Desserts :.
After the Rosary we had a potluck dinner. Somehow I only managed to get a picture of the dessert table, once all the food was set out...
We had all sorts of delicious hot dishes to choose from, which was perfect for the chilly, but thankfully rain free, night.
For dessert I made lots of All Saints' Cupcakes...
...One of my friends made this cute little Pumpkin Patch of Cake Balls...
... and her sister, Rascal's godmother, brought "Soul Cakes!"
I also had a delicious big pot of Hot Apple Cider brewing on the stove, along with Coffee, Tea, and these Saintly Water Bottles, complete with Gold Halos!
.: Saintly Games :.
Guess Who? Patron Saints Edition
I posted about this fun variation of Guess Who? here:
Search for the Saints
I had started to create my own Scavenger Hunt, but after seeing (and loving!) Charlotte's I printed her Search for the Saints instead. I worried that it might be too challenging for the children, especially since it was going to be played outdoors, but I had them form groups of 5 (older children with younger children) and with all the saint costumes running around, they didn't have any trouble finding symbols for each of the saints. St. Catherine of Alexandria's Wheel was especially easy! ;)
As prizes for this game I had made bags of Candy Caramel Corn labeled:
These earthly treats will pass away.
Lay store your treasure in heaven.
All Saints Bingo
The Saint Bingo game I created was also loved by all the children.
You can print the cards I created here:
.: Seven Deadly Sins Pinatas :.
I mentioned to one friend that I had been looking everywhere for a "Seven Point" Piñata, and wasn't having any luck... All I could find were six point piñatas, at least here locally. I was about to give up and do a Dragon for St. George instead, when she offered to make the piñatas for the party!! Apparently she already had a few that she and her children had made in their garage and just needed to add the seven points/sins to them. She ended up making "three ugly piñatas, but since they represent the deadly sins... they shouldn't be pretty!" They were perfect!
I love the all the symbolism in the seven point piñatas, emphasizing the three theological virtues and overcoming the seven deadly sins:
FAITH: The blindfolded participant represents the leading force in defying evil, faith, which must be blind. People gathered near the player and spin him around to confuse his sense of space. Sometimes the turns numbered thirty three in memory of the life of Christ. The voices of others cry out guidance, while others call out false directions to disorient the hitter.
HOPE: With the piñata hanging above their heads, the children watch towards the sky/heaven hoping and waiting for the prize. The stick for breaking the piñata symbolized virtue, as only good can overcome evil. Once broken, the candies and fruits represented the just reward for keeping faith.
CHARITY: Finally the piñata symbolizes Charity. With its eventual breaking, everyone shares in the divine blessings and gifts.
The moral of the piñata: all are justified through faith.
And what child doesn't love a party that includes piñatas?!? :)
.: St. Isidore's Pumpkin Roasting :.
Once it got dark, my husband lit a fire in our fire pit so that everyone could roast "pumpkins!" I had picked up a couple bags of Jumbo Pumpkin and Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows, some regular marshmallows, and everything needed to make s'mores!
These two little cuties were asleep during the group photo, but didn't their mom do an amazing job sewing their costumes?!
At this point I started wondering if some of the children, including my own, had eaten a little too much sugar... They were literally
Yes, it truly was a wonderful and blessed night!
All Saints in Heaven, Pray for us!
All Saints in Heaven, Pray for us!