Twofer Costumes for the Conflicted Catholic Family

Twofer Costumes for the Conflicted Catholic Family October 22, 2013
(This post originally ran at the Register on October 25, 2011)

I really don’t want to talk about Halloween.

I don’t think I’ll manage to prepare anything spectacular (read: anything) to celebrate All Saints’ Day this year.

I do, however, want to immerse my children in the richness of the liturgical year.

I don’t, however, have the energy to come up with any contorted logic about how dressing up as a zombie with bleeding eyes is actually a corking good, theologically sound method of laughing at the devil.

I do, however, let my kids wear costumes involving fake blood, severed limbs and terrifying mustaches, if the spirit so moves them.

I don’t, however, live in Amityville or Sunnydale, so as long as the little temporary pagans don’t show any particular interest in the occult or dark arts or whatever, they’re not going to slide into Satan’s arms because I let them think about creepy stuff once a year.

I do, however, understand the need to use caution.

I don’t, however, expect the candy to come home to me all by itself. Someone’s going to have to go trick-or-treating. Since I applaud myself for making it to the toaster and back without getting winded, that someone ain’t me; so that leaves the kids. But just to be on the safe side, I think it makes sense for Catholic families everywhere to cover their bases.

And so I present: a gallery of Twofer Costumes for Conflicted Catholics who can barely eke out one costume per kid, let alone one awesome one for Halloween and one inspiring one for All Saints’ Day.

These ideas are suitably edifying for any church-sponsored party, but edgy enough to earn you all the Mary Janes and Raisinets you can eat on October 31, all without mom having to make two costumes to satisfy her Catholic children’s double lives. (Note: My sister, Abby Tardiff, thought of all of these brilliant ideas over the years, except for the ones that aren’t funny. Those are my ideas.)

These fall into three basic categories:


It’s super easy to pick anything from the “gory” aisle, add a few props, and voila—martyr. Don’t like the ick factor? Don’t blame me, blame the persecutors! Be part of salvation history without looking like a sissy.

Hilarious on October 31:


but add a toga, and you’re ready to inspire:


Everybody loves a good sight gag:

especially when it’s Biblically sound:


And finally, you can terrify the normals with this fantastic cephalophoric illusion:


Or, well, terrify the normals with something from the more obscure annals of martyologies (hint: Bleach bottles become bishops’ mitres with a few strategic snips and some gold spray paint)


Not recommended: St. Agatha


These ideas are suitable for kids who won’t stand for being left at home, but whose legs are too short to do any significant candy-collecting on their own.

Check it out: You wear a bathrobe and skip showering for a week or two, and you can pass as either an OWS protester


or St. Francis.


And who’s this tagging along behind you?


Awww, it’s da widdle wolf of Gubbio! Or a werewolf, take your pick.

Or you could fulfill your child’s persistent desire to be Shaun the Sheep,


and if you do a bad enough job on the costume,


you can probably pass as a reference to William Blake’s Christological poem “The Lamb,” especially if you follow him around repeating in a skeptical voice, “Little lamb, who MADE thee? Heh heh heh heh heh … “


Take this idea, which clearly marks you as one of those people who may be a little bit too enthusiastic about Halloween for someone your age:


and rebrand it. With a few tweaks done in a sensitive and reverent way, you could easily be St. Christopher.


But don’t tell anyone it was my idea.

Who among us does not love a good toilet paper mummy?


Replace that sinister moan and lumbering gait with a fervent gleam in the eye and a distinct lack of rot, and you become, um, Lazarus:


But don’t tell anyone it was my idea.

What’s that you say? What are my kids going to be this year, if I’m so smart? I’ll give you a hint: So far I’ve made a long yellow wig, a golden fertility idol, a pair of little, round ears, and a cape that resembles black olive pizza. That’s right: We’re going, en masse, as the domestic church, and I just dare you to get in our way.
photo sources:
arrow propSt. Sebastianhead on platter costumeJohn the Baptist, head in jar costumeSt. Denismug shotSt. Franciswolf costumeShaun the Sheephomemade sheeppiggyback costume, St. Christopher, toilet paper mummy, Lazarus

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