Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Memento Mori {Activities for Halloween, All Souls, and All Saints}

My new students are chomping at the bit for the end of October to get here, but it is not actually (entirely) because of costumes and candy.  During our current units about the life and mission of Jesus, we have talked about the Four Last Things, the role of Jesus as Savior, and the presence of evil in the world.  I have promised them long sessions discussing these topics further as well as open Q & A about their remaining questions on good/evil, scary movies, demonic possession, youtube gamers faking scary things, how to become a Saint, why relics aren't weird and more.  They've been storing up some tough questions (pray for me!) and I know that we are going to have great discussions.

I'm so glad that I have a wealth of info and truth to pull on from the Catholic Church as I prepare for these conversations, and that my previous experience led me to create some Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls Day resources.  I've linked my favorites at the end of this post for you to use too! Don't pass this season by without using the opportunity to teach about deep truths of the faith found in the Liturgical Year.

To take it up a notch and to connect to our current unit, I'm going to incorporate the ancient teaching of Memento Mori- "Remember Your Death."  This idea is not dark or depressing, it is a call as Christians to remember that this life is a mere drop in the bucket compared to eternity.  The way we live now should always be with our death and heaven in mind.  Many (including 2000 years of Saints) have already written about Memento Mori, so check out these articles for more info:
Memento Mori- Five Benefits to Remembering Your Death
Memento Mori- How Religious Orders Remember Death
Memento Mori- How a Skull on Your Desk will Change Your Life

To bring a little Memento Mori into my classroom, as we study this topic and through the month of November (the Liturgical month to remember the Poor Souls in Purgatory), we'll keep this skull, memento mori sign, prayer for the faithful departed, and a book to record the names of the dead in the prayer corner of our classroom. If you'd like to create your own sign and book for the names of the faithful departed, you can click on the image below to get the printables.

FYI, typo (Momento vs Memento has been fixed in the actual printable, just not the pictures!)

And now here's a repost of my top 12 activities for Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, which are some of my favorite celebrations of the year!

1. Tying All Hallows Eve in with All Saints and All Souls Day has been a part of my curriculum for several years.  This post has a mini coloring book and many coloring pages about those topics. Click on the image to go to the post:

In that post, there is an All Saints Day page with a list of great Saints who can be intercessors in kids lives.  I love to introduce them to new Saints and give them some heavenly heroes to look up to and be inspired by. They also love using the Saints Name Generator to learn about new Saints and chose patrons.  Click on the image to go to the post:

2. Litany of the Saints and All Souls prayer cards:
My students loved these.  I took the general opening/closing for most litanies and put it on one side of the prayer cards.  On the other side they get to create their own "All Star" cast. Oh, and we'll be listening to this song as well.

We will also use these prayer cards with the Eternal Rest prayer on one side and a place to list specific people on the back.  We plan to use this prayer card for the rest of the month as November is dedicated to praying for all souls in purgatory.  It would also be a great resource any time of the year to teach about the Spiritual Works of Mercy, or for kids who are experiencing a death and working through grief.  (You may be interested in my post on Helping Kids Grieve.)

3. We love this All Saints Day art project. Click on the image to go to a post with step-by-step instructions and ideas:

4. If a whole art project won't be in the works during your celebration, I have several Saints coloring pages you can use instead. The growing list of coloring pages can be found under this tab and then under the Saints heading.

 5. You could quickly make these easy Saint shrines.  This one features St. Joseph, but you could have each student pick a different Saint and then display them all together.  Click on the image for the post with details:

 6. Practice some writing skills and intercessory prayer with these All Saints and All Souls Day Letters.  Click on either image to go to the post:

 7. You could play this Beatitude and Modern Saints game, which is modeled after the idea of Old Maid, but introduces kids to facts about eight modern Saints and the Beatitude they exemplified.  And instead of the "Old Maid" card, there is a "Bad-Attitude" card in the mix.  (Get it? Be-attitude, bad-attitude...I know, groan.)  Click on the image to go to the post:

8. Here's a whole playlist of videos on YouTube about Saints or the Canonization process.  Click on the image to go to the post:

9. Here's a Happy All Saints Day coloring page: (Click on image for the file)

10. An easy and cool art project is to make giant Saint medal using tin foil and a coloring page of a Saint (or student drawing).  I always have the kids make Miraculous Medals like this during our St. Maximilian Kolbe unit, but I had several early finishers ask if they could make a Saint medal too.  Here we have St. Max:

Sts. George, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Hubert, and Christopher:

And St. John Paul II. Click on any of those images to read about our Miraculous Medals and you can use the same technique for Saints.

11. This post gives you seven ideas for celebrating a Patron Saint Day (ours is St. Joseph) but many of the ideas would transfer to All Saints Day as well.  Click on the image to go to the post:

12.  We aren't actually doing this on All Saints Day, but my class has made it a point to celebrate the specific patron Saints of each class with them throughout the school year.  So on St. Vincent de Paul's feast day, we sent 2nd Grade a card, and on St. John Paul II's feast day we sent one to 3rd grade, etc.  You wouldn't have to wait all year though- using a list of classroom Saints, have your class send each of them a card on All Saints Day.  You could also do this for name Saints or patron Saints of your friends and family members.

So there you have it!  Tons of options, so don't let this great Solemnity pass you by! :)
How will you be celebrating All the Saints with the kids in your life?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments!


  1. Wow! You are amazing! And inspiring--I'm hoping to take some of these and do them with my kids! Thank you so much!!

  2. Katie you are amazing! From all of us procrastinators out there, thanks for making it easy to celebrate (by printing off stuff the morning of :)