As kids prepare their costumes and trick-or-treat routes, families have an opportunity to celebrate All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days at home, by watching and talking about popular movies.
All Saints Day & All Souls’ Day
All Saints Day is a principle feast day in the Episcopal Church and the day of commemorating all saints known and unknown in the church. All Saints is typically observed with baptism, as we celebrate this range of saints from new to ancient, both the capital-S Saints of the church and the whole assembly of the saints. All Souls’ Day, or the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed, is an optional observance that focuses on remembering faithful loved ones who have died.
Two Movies for Engaging All Saints & All Souls’
To help children understand this breadth of our communion of saints and go deeper than candy and costumes, check out these two Pixar movies as a way to start conversations and help your family celebrate new saints, remember those who have died, and engage more deeply in their communities of faith.
All Saints with Up – When Carl Fredricksen flies his balloon-lifted house to Paradise Falls, he also journeys through grief of a dear departed saint and welcomes a new person into his life in a meaningful way.
- After watching Up, ask kids to talk about how Carl felt when Ellie died. How was her love and courage still present with Carl? What do you think he missed most, or when did Carl miss her the most? If your family has lost a loved one, connect that experience to your discussion of Carl’s mourning.
- Ask kids how Carl felt about Russell being on the journey to Paradise Falls. Did he always want Russell along for the ride? Do we get to choose who is on the journey of faith and part of the communion of saints with us? When is it hard to include others? Would the story be the same without Russell?
- Even as we think about the Ellies who paved the way for our faith adventures and taught us how to follow Jesus, we keep an eye out for the Russells, the Kevins, and the Dougs along the way, inviting new companions into our journey with God.
All Souls with Coco – El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is the traditional Mexican celebration of these holy days of remembrance. In Coco, Miguel goes to the land of the dead and learns about his family.
- After watching, ask, what was strange, scary, or interesting about the Land of the Dead? How did Miguel’s family remember their loved ones?
- After Miguel learned more and spent some time there, was it still scary in the Land of the Dead?
- If you have them, pull out a few pictures of your ancestors and share a story or two. Who are the heroes in your family’s or community’s past? How can you honor them?
- The histories of our families and communities are important for us to know who we are. While talking with kids about death can feel intimidating, recalling with joy the stories about those we’ve lost is a beautiful way to open that conversation and remove some of the fear and mystery around death and loss.
The Rev. Claire Brown is an Episcopal priest, writer, partner, and mama living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Claire is the co-author of Keep Watch with Me: An Advent Reader for Peacemakers, a diverse collaboration of stories, reflections, prayers, and spiritual practices to sustain and challenge the faith of those who work for justice and peace. She blogs at revclairebrown.com about parenthood, embodiment, theology, and the church.