Friday, November 9, 2012

Celebrating the Saints :: Our Annual All Hallows' Eve Party!


It wasn't my plan to host another All Hallows' Eve Party this year.  After a physically exhausting year with a new baby and all the extra medical challenges, I thought we'd take a year off.  However, I ended up being talked into it by both my children and friends!  How could I say no when one of my friends said she'd rather I hosted this party, than the baby shower we are planning for her, and another friend said she didn't know what her family would do if I didn't host the party... As for my own children, it's one of their favorite days of the year!



Before we added on to our home a couple years ago, I always wished we had the extra space to host these sorts of parties. I suppose, at least in a small way,  I can thank God for the blessing of the extra space by actually doing so!  :)  



To be honest, the morning of our party, I was in tears.  The cleaning lady I had scheduled to come in the morning for a couple hours hadn't shown up yet, and it was pouring, POURING outside.  My house is bigger now, and I tried to keep the party "small," but I was really counting on the party being mostly outside, especially since we were expecting around 70 guests.   I can't tell you how thankful I was when the sun started shining through the clouds, just long enough for the party!

Yes, the preparation was somewhat overwhelming and a lot of work, but in the end it was all worth it!  As one friend said, in a little thank you note, "Everything you did was so appreciated. You helped to create memories for our children (and us!!) that they will remember all their lives."  And that is really what it's all about - creating wonderful faith-filled memories and growing closer to our heavenly family!    Deo Gratias!


.: Communio Sanctorum :.


Just look at all those adorable saints!   I always love seeing the creativity in our group of friends!  The costumes are all so, so creative and CUTE!  I'm sure the saints in heaven were smiling.



.: Ave Maria :.



Once (most of) our guests arrived, we began the evening with the rosary.   Though I didn't make the various tombstones this year, we still prayed that all of us will one day be Saints in Heaven, for our Departed Clergy, Departed Family, Departed Friends, and for the Forgotten Dead.





.: Dinner and Desserts :.


After the Rosary we had a potluck dinner. I loved how willing my friends were to humor me find ways to tie in All Hallows' Eve themed foods!  My sweet husband even carved out my fairytale pumpkin to use as a vase for the autumn flowers he picked up before the party.



Ann-Marie brought "Juan Diego Beans."  Kristin brought "Kateri's Indian Cake Casserole." Michelle made the cutest little (St. Isidore the Farmer) "Savory Pumpkin Puffs."  And Amy brought "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God Pizza!"  Okay, I made that one up! ;)   There was so many yummy things to choose from!


Jacinta's "Heavenly Fudge" really was heavenly, and aren't those (May the Souls of the Faithful Departed) "RIP Cupcakes" and Candy Corn Krispie Treats that Michelle made so cute?!


I had Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and autumn sprinkles (though I didn't get around to adding pictures of all the saints this year), a delicious big pot of Hot Apple Cider simmering on the stove, along with coffee, tea, water and more!




.: 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 Marshmallows, some regular marshmallows, and everything else needed to make s'mores!


Warning:  Watch out when "St. Michael" has had too much sugar is about to "defend!"



.: Saint Presentations :.


Just before we started the games we had all the children share a little about the saint they were dressed as this year.




Snuggles best friend came dressed as Moses, we had three boys dressed as St. Maximilian Kolbe, my youngest brother (and godson) was holding my niece (and hubby's goddaughter) who came dressed as "Our Lady's Bug" (since the Ladybug was named after Mary), and another one of our godsons came dressed as St. Dennis (who was said to have picked up his head and continued to preach after it was cut off)!


As always I had extra treats for any of the children that came prepared to share something with everyone!  


.: Saintly Games :.



All Saints Scavenger Hunt

Even though the All Saints Scavenger Hunt I made was challenging, all the kids (and even the adults and priest!) learned something new about the saints!   Really, who would have guessed that gentle St. Joseph is "The Terror of Demons."  Those are the types of questions you get when you ask my husband to help put together a game!




All Saints Bingo

We played All Saints Bingo again this year... 



We also had a second scavenger hunt, looking for different religious items around our home...



... and we ended the evening (after 11pm!) with the All Saints Puzzle Race!   



It ended up being such a wonderful night filled with friends and fun...
I'm sure I'll be hosting the party again next year!

All Saints in Heaven, Pray for us!

*All Photography by Marc Salvatore posted with permission.  

27 comments:

  1. Love this post, Jessica! :) Our local homeschool support group had an All Saints' party too, but on a smaller scale. :D Please do check out our photos here if you have the time: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.332530186844178.72985.202974939799704&type=3 :) We are SO inspired by fellow Catholic mommas like y'all! :) Let's pray for one another, shall we? Love and prayers from the Philippines!

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  2. Just wonderful and beautiful! I was also "talked into" hosting our All Saints Day party for our homeschool group this year, but I didn't have the time (or energy) to make it bigger and better. I'm impressed you did so much with all the cards stacked against you as you mentioned in your post. In my case, I'm hoping a little will go a long way with our children's love for the saints by the gathering I hosted. I'm pinning your post to my "All Saints Day" board for future reference! If you are interested here's my post I did for our All Hallows Eve/All Saints Day post: http://asliceofsmithlife.blogspot.com/2012/11/all-hallows-eve-and-all-saints-day.htmlv

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  3. It looks like a wonderful time Jessica! And all those lovely saints to join in on the fun :) God bless!

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  4. What a wonderful party!! What a blessing for all your friends and all their kiddos, you are right, those memories are what it's all about, remembering what this special day is really about!

    Everything looked wonderful, the decorations, the food, the games, the costumes and of course all the people...I mean saints!

    Sorry I'm not ordering from the Pampered Chef party, we really don't need anything and my mind has been elsewhere this week. Looks like it's going great though, I'm glad!

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    1. Oh Jamie, don't even think about it! You and your little Simeon have been in my thoughts and prayers especially this week. God bless you both!

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  5. You made the banner yourself, right? It's perfect! Any plans to share a tutorial?

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    1. Yes, I made the banner using the illustrations from Catholic Artworks. I can't seem to find the CD I used on their website anymore and I emailed them to ask (in addition to asking if I could share the printable with my readers here) and I haven't heard back yet. Once I do, I will be sure to share. Thank you!

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  6. wow, 3 x Maksymilian Kolbe, I see he's popular :D
    Greetings from Poland :)

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  7. Beaultifull party!
    In the photo that you are with the baby, you look like you are pregnant, are you?

    God bless you and your family!

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    1. No, I am not pregnant. I just have plenty of extra weight to lose from all my past pregnancies. :)

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  8. Jessica, I am a convert and am trying to find more catholic art to decorate my home with (prints, statues, etc). Do you have any suggestions as to where to being my search? Your home looks beautiful!

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    1. Thank you! Most of what we have around our home has been given to us - both as wedding gifts and over the years - though I have purchased a few icons and a number of statues (mostly made by Joseph Studios). We also have some framed posters/prints that my husband brought back from Rome before we were married.

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  9. You are very fortunate that you have such a great homeschool group, and a Catholic one to boot. We are the only Catholic homeschoolers in our area ( believe it or not). So we don't have the joy in doing something like that, Nor can we get our parishioners to participate in something like that either , sad to say. It looks like everyone had great fun though.

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    1. We actually haven't been active participants in the homeschool group for a couple years now (for many reasons) but we are blessed with wonderful friends - some that homeschool and some that have their kids attending school. As much as I would have loved to, we just couldn't invite all the Catholic homeschoolers in the southern part of our state (which is what the "local" homeschool group consists of) and have room for everyone! Basically the party was just the families of all our local godchildren and a few other of our closest friends. (Which ends up being quite the group!)

      I'm so sorry that you don't have other Catholic homeschoolers in your area, though the same was true at times when I was growing up, and my parents would still have a party with just our own family and us kids loved it! :)

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    2. Tracy - it's the same for my family, too. We just do things at home as a family. It's hard, especially when "combating the secular culture's idea of these holidays"... Know that you are not alone!

      I thank God for blogs like Jessica's because it allows families like ours to see that we are NOT ALONE in our faith and observances of the liturgical year and as Catholics!

      God bless you and your family!

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  10. lol...my jaw kinda dropped at the pregnancy comment. When I scrolled back up though I see what she meant. Your dress and baby's St. Francis robe are the same color and kinda blend together, so what is his body in his Francis robe does kinda look like a baby bump! :) You look great!

    I love the St. Dennis, that is too funny. And the ladybug..that's clever for little ones! I don't sew and love ideas that let me use costumes I can pick up at the store, lol.

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    1. Mine too! ;) lol My cycles still haven't come back, but after seeing the question, and feeling nauseous every morning for over a week now, I did take a test... Definitely not pregnant! And I agree... Let's blame the way I am standing/holding the baby, instead of the fact that I haven't been exercising enough and eating too many goodies! ;)

      My sister-in-law already had the ladybug costume and wasn't sure what she was going to do for my niece for our party and I shared the story of how the ladybug got it's name with her. Most of the kids learned something new when we shared it at the party! :)

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  11. Your party looks super fabulous, Jessica! The games, the saints, the food, the gorgeous hostess - all super wonderful! Isn't it so often true the harder we struggle the greater the blessings that flow. And not only for you and your family - you blessed so many others as well. AMDG!

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  12. Another amazing party...I think that you could charge admission to some of these, they are such wonderful affairs.

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  13. Just another idea...have you ever thought of laminating your games so they would last year to year. Just a suggestion, I know how much work it is to get all those crafts and games ready.

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    1. I did laminate my bingo game last year, which made it SO easy for this year. I didn't have the time or supplies to do it this year with the new games, since I made them the day before the party. I also thought about laminating the banner, but decided I liked how it looked better just paper. I am storing it in a ziplock though and it should be able to be used year after year as well! :) Hopefully the party will continue to get easier and easier each year! :)

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  14. These events truly will be special moments every child there will remember all their life. Just beautiful!

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  15. Oh my I am so jealous! I know that's a terrible thing to say about a saints party, but it's true. Where do you live so that I can move closer and stalk...I mean, get to know you better and join in? :) Seriously though, it looks like it was an awesome time had by all. :)

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  16. I so want to be friends with you! I wish I could stay at home and teach my children like you do! What a blessing!

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  17. Hi, I saw a picture of a child dressed as St. Michael. Its absolutely adorable! Please tell me where can I order this costume at.

    Maria

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    1. Hi Maria, I purchased the costume at Costco and the wings at Target in 2012. Hope that helps!

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  18. Hi, I saw a picture of a cold wearing a St. Michael costume. It is absolutely adorable. I want one for my 7 year old. Please tell me where I can order this costume.

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