I just read this apparent quote from Pope Francis on faithreel.com (accessed October, 2014):

Most churches agree with what Pope Francis has expressed in this opinion, “Many think Halloween is a simple carnival like celebration, it is not innocent. It is a small room leading to a much more dangerous one. There is always more evil rituals, sacrifices, defilements of cemeteries and stealing of sacred bones on Halloween. Taking part in Halloween is like being ritually initiated into the occult.

Pretty strong words coming from the pope. Is this quote genuine? and if so, do all catholics agree with this? Is there an official stance taken by the catholic church against Halloween?

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    The secularized Halloween (dressing up like ghosts and devils and all that stuff) is an obscene perversion of All Saints Day. As a Catholic, I celebrate All Saint's Day but not the secularized version of it. Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 18:48
  • Shem, "Do all catholics agree with this?" has an obvious answer: no. I suggest that you remove that clause from your question, since "all or none" questions -- particularly about belief -- cannot be objectively answered, and lead to generalizations and other sloppy answer elements. Your last sentence seems to be what you actual question is. (And IMO it's a good one). Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 14:57
  • @KorvinStarmast In my church you either sustain the Lord's spokesperson or you do not. Had a prophet of the restoration said this, it would be unanimously accepted by those in good standing in the church.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 2:27
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    This year 2017 Halloween will be a public holiday all over Germany, as it is in some German states every year. The Germans call it Reformation Day commemorating Marti Luther nailing his theses to the church door in 1517.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 16:30
  • the faithreel.com link you mentioned is broken and i couldn't find information about that website in general, doesn't even have an "about" page that says something informative about its origins. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 1:47

4 Answers 4


Is there an official Catholic position against Halloween?

No, there isn't.

How did Halloween originate?

Believe it or not, Halloween is of Christian origin.1

By 741 there was a feast in the Church celebrating all the martyrs and saints in heaven. By 840 it was known by the title "Feast of All Saints". Pope Sixtus IV in 1484 established November 1 as a holyday of obligation and gave it both a vigil (known today as "All Hallows' Eve" or "Hallowe'en") and an eight-day period or octave to celebrate the feast. By 1955, the octave of All Saints was removed.

In England, saints or holy people are called "hallowed", hence the name "All Hallow's Day" or "Hallowmas". The evening, or "e'en" before the feast became popularly known as "All Hallows' Eve," or even shorter, "Hallowe'en."2

1. cf. Should Catholics Celebrate Halloween?; HALLOWEEN: ITS ORIGINS AND CELEBRATION | EWTN; Halloween or Samhain? | Catholic Answers; and 2. below that stand in contrast to the article linked in OP as regards the origins of Halloween.
2. Liturgical year: October: History of All Hallows' Eve | Catholic Culture. (The reader is encouraged to read the rest of the article to understand the feastday's customs in England, some of which can be seen in the current celebration of Halloween).

How a pious custom turned into what we see now with no reference to the religious aspect is what can be said as well of celebrations like Christmas, where in China, for example, it is purely secular and commercial. (Of course one need not go as far as China).

Should Catholics pay attention to what the Pope says about Halloween if he said it?

Of course because he is Papa, Father. I haven't seen any official statement on the matter but given that we are called to escape the corruption of this world, we always ought to be vigilant as regards corrupting influences. The danger of the occult cannot be underestimated or overemphasized.


Does the Catholic Church celebrate Halloween?

No she doesn't!

cf. USCCB > Calendar > Roman Liturgical Calendar: October 31, 2014 was Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time, November 1, 2014 Solemnity of All Saints, and November 2, 2014 The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls).

Halloween doesn't feature.

Interesting reads:

  • Could you possibly expand your answer to include what the Catholic church believes about dressing up and trick-or-treating?
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 5:11
  • @ShemSeger There isn't a Catholic belief on dressing up and trick-or-treating. cf. Halloween | Wikipedia for those who have preference for Wikipedia.
    – user13992
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 5:50
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    The Catholic Church does not celebrate Halloween.
    – user13992
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:53
  • Prior to 1960 the Catholic Church in its' Liturgical Calendar the date of October 31st was the Vigil of All the Saints. In other words, it was a fast day in order to prepare ourselves for the Feast of All Saints!
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 3:51
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    @ShemSeger The Church is perfectly within her rights to remain silent on a matter of non Catholic practice and secular custom. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 15:00

Your question is a little bit ambiguous because you can call "Halloween" the 31st day of October, you can call "Halloween" any festivities celebrated therein or you can call "Halloween" a festivity celebrated in a certain way. If you refer to the festivity where people disguise themselves as mythological beings, princes, government agents, monsters, criminals, etc. and go around asking for candy or party some way, some Catholics do celebrate that, although, as you can infer from your quote, controversially. But Catholics and the Catholic Church celebrate on the day of Halloween "an international initiative to reclaim Hallowe'en for the church" and they call it the Night of Light, which can be considered the Catholic Halloween.

The quote you mentioned apparently from Pope Francis is not something he said but it was said by Father Aldo Buonaiuto, of the International Association of Exorcists, according to the British newspaper Daily Mail in an article titled "Halloween really IS evil, says Vatican, and should be replaced with HOLYWEEN so children can dress up as saints and pray" (but be warned that I don't know how accurate is the title of the article because it is not clear in the article if the priest has the authority to proclaim the official stance of the Vatican on the issue). It would be impossible to know if ALL Catholics agree with the quote.

It took me a few hours to answer this question and in that time I was not able to find an official stance taken by the Catholic Church against Halloween, but as I pointed out before, I don't know who has the authority to promulgate the official stance of the Church on an issue besides the pope (and there is even controversy as to how and when what the pope says becomes the official stance of the Church). Although I did find some officially sounding stances in an article of the newspaper The Telegraph titled "Vatican condemns Hallowe'en as anti-Christian" (again, the title of the article might be misleading) stating in one instance that

Hallowe'en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.


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    The Night of Light is a Catholic way of reclaiming in some small way the sacredness of the defunct Vigil of All Saints not Halloween. In fact Halloween (All Hallows Eve), the evening of the 31st October, is the Vigil of All Saints - the feast in which we celebrate the glory of God in His saints. The victory of light over darkness in the lives of God's holy ones in heaven. Jesus is the 'Light of the World'. The saints lived by that light, and became a beacon in their own generation. We are called by Jesus to live out this vocation - to be the Light of the world today.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 15:55

Halloween is the first day in a triduum of Catholic feasts called "Allhallowtide." All Hallow meaning "All Saints."

So, as a liturgical feast? Yes. As a secular festival about ghosts and monsters and killers? No. That said, the feast has embraced the imagery of death in many cultures as part of the custom of remembering the Saints. We hold up the images of death and suffering often regarding the saints as a taunt in the face of death. That is to say, "do your worst, we are the Easter People. Kill us and we live." Our primary symbol, after all, is the crucified Christ for this very reason. Read this. It's an excellent explanation: Halloween.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Meanwhile, I hope you'll browse some of the other questions and answers on this site. Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 0:23
  • Historically the Vigil of All Saints was a fast day, a day of preparation for the feast of All Saints. It was not a feast day whatsoever.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 16:05

Do Catholics celebrate Halloween?

The Catholic Church does not celebrate Halloween.

Some Catholics, I am sure celebrate Halloween as something out of popular culture, but Halloween has nothing to do with liturgical celebration whatsoever. The Church has no official stance on celebrating Halloween as a popular secular celebration, but to say that its' origins are Catholic or that the Church endorses this celebration is completely nonsense. You will always find some church leaders saying their personal views in favor of Halloween, but there is nothing official from the Catholic Church.

Its' origins are not Christian, but are of Samhain origin.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. - History of Halloween

On May 13, 609 Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Roman Pantheon to the Virgin Mary and All the Martyrs, know in Latin as Sancta Maria ad Martyres. Later on Pope Gregory III (731–741) expanded the feast to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and Pope Gregory IV moved the observance from May 13 to November 1 in 844. The monks of Cluny established the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed on November 2 around the year 1000 and from there the custom of All Soul's Day spread to other Benedictine monasteries and eventually to the entire Latin Rite.

There is no historical evidence that Pope Gregory IV even was aware of the Druid celebrations linked to Samhain when he established the Feast of All Saints.

What is more is the fact that just up to the liturgical reforms of Pope John XXIII, October 31, was liturgically known as the Vigil of All Saints (Vigilia Omnium Sanctorum) which meant that priests donned purple vestments at Mass (color of penance and mourning) as well as being a day of fasting. The modern idea of Halloween as being something the Catholic Church would officially endorse makes no sense at all (Feast of Nonsense).

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    For those who do not think Halloween is somehow linked to the occult, they might prefer to read this: What Witches, Satanists and Other Occultists Say About Halloween.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 12:01
  • The Catholic Church actually celebrate Halloween and it calls it the Night of Light which is a festival to reclaim Halloween for the church. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 2:50
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    @freethinker36 Night of Lights is not Halloween, but a Christian festival which is a substitution for Halloween. The Church has no need to reclaim Halloween because it was never from the Church.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 10:36
  • The "Night of Light" is in effect a Catholic way of bringing back the sense of the Vigil of All Saints (Vigilia Omnium Sanctorum) which at one time was a liturgical fast day in preparation for All Saints Day. It is reclaiming the sacredness of the Vigil that once existed. In fact Halloween ('All Hallows Eve'), the evening of the 31st October, is the vigil (beginning) of the feast of All Saints - the feast in which we celebrate the glory of God in His saints. The saints lived by the "Light of Christ" and became a beacon in their own times for others to follow.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 15:48

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