6 Steps to Planning a Successful All Saints Day Celebration

Putting together a last-minute All Saints Day party and don’t know where to start?

No problem!  We’ve got you covered.

1 – Secure a Location and Get Word Out!

A classroom. A church hall. A local park. Your own home. Pending weather and availability, any of these locations can work for an All Saints Day party.

If you choose a classroom, of course, you’ll want to limit or eliminate having food at your party depending on the school’s rules. You also may wish to narrow activities down to just a few stations, a saint-themed classroom “obstacle course” like this one for St. Martin, or some group games like the All Saints Day Bingo shared by Jessica at Shower of Roses.

In a church hall, having a variety of stations spread out in different areas of the room can bring All Saints Day party success. Have a food table, a prize table, and plenty of activity and game stations which children can visit at will works well for a freer-form All Saints Day party. Or, if you like more structure, set up food and drinks in one area and plan 5-7 activity stations in another. Then, spend some time with prayer, followed by some time eating, before having a game and activity period where one adult monitors each activity station while children rotate around the stations in set groups at timed intervals.

If you choose to have your party at a local park, think picnic foods and large motor fun. A Saint obstacle course like the St. Ignatius of Loyola one I’ve done before or active games like Saint Michael’s Stomp shared by Jessica at Shower of Roses can be particularly fitting for large outdoor spaces. Or, if you like having a variety of games and activities, have participating families set up “booths” using card tables, blankets, etc. outdoor fair-style. Also, be prepared to explain what you are doing to passerbys, taking advantage of the opportunity to evangelize.

For an All Saints Day celebration in a home, some food, a few game stations or group games, and prize/goody bags can be ideal whether hosting just 2-3 families or a whole bunch!

Wherever you choose to plan your All Saints Day celebration, get word out via personal invitations, emails, social media invitations, etc. and consider the next easy steps for a successful celebration.

2 – Decide about Costumes and Share Ideas

Some children love to dress up for All Saints Day, while others are not as enthused about it, so – knowing your crowd – decide if your party will be costume-mandatory, costume-optional, or no costumes at all. 

Then, if going with costumes, direct invitees to some ideas, such as:

Also, you may wish to suggest they look at our Index of Saints to find images and facts about a variety of saints that might inspire costumes.

Stress that no one needs to break the bank. Think saint symbols, fun, and freely shared ideas and you’ll be all set!

To show off everyone’s costumes, consider choosing one of these ideas:

  • Play “When the Saints Go Marching In” at the beginning of the party while children have a costume parade.
  • At the beginning of your party, ask each family to introduce themselves and have children “get the spotlight” to share a few facts about the saints they are portraying.
  • Have each child come with 2-3 facts about their saint written out. Scramble these up and hand them out. Then, have each child try to find the person dressed as the saint whose facts they hold. (Our Index of Saints can come in handy for this.)

3- Share Ideas for Saint-Related Snacks and Dishes

If your location allows food, suggest a potluck! 

Have a few people bring paper plates, napkins, etc., have one bring drinks, and ask everyone else to bring any snack or dish that can be related to the saints.

Catholic Cuisine is a superb resource for ideas and has printables for Saint Guessing Jars.

It is also a good idea to bring some pre-cut cardstock to your party, too. That way, you can make tent cards to put by each snack or dish. For example, a sign for St. Isadore’s Farmer’s Bounty works perfectly next to a salad or veggie tray and St. Bernadette’s Sticks can be placed near a bowl of pretzel sticks.

4 – Gather Prizes or Treats

Decide if you plan to offer prizes, goody bags, or other treats.

Sometimes, it works well just to give every child a goody bag filled with saint cards, trinkets, and treats at the end of the party. Other times, it is fun to have a different treat or trinket offered at each activity station.  Or, if you have a wide variety of trinkets, candy, faith-based items, used books, games, etc., it can be fun to put tokens by each activity station and to set up a prize table where the tokens can be cashed in for prizes, much like with tickets at an arcade.

Of course, prizes, goody bags, and treats are not necessary, so, if you like simplicity, it is perfectly okay to have the fun of party itself be the treat!

5 – Prepare Saint-Related Activities and Games

Whether preparing all activities and games yourself or asking each family to bring one, first consider your space and, then, the number and ages of participants. A few group games or activity stations can work well for small spaces and homes, while eight or more activities and games often works best for larger areas.

Regardless of the number of activities and games you choose, it’s helpful to have variety: service activities, skills-based games, creative activities, etc.

An easy Corporal Works of Mercy service activity is to have a St. Vincent de Paul’s Pantry station. Ask guests to bring shelf stable items to donate to a local charitable cause.  Collect these at a table where you put paper, tape, and markers, so people can write encouraging notes to tape onto the cans and boxes.

A Spiritual Works of Mercy service activity is to create All Souls Calendars. Put up a piece of paper, shaped in a headstone if you wish, where anyone at the gathering can write the names of their dearly departed. Near to it, place blank November calendar grids and art supplies. Encourage everyone to make their own calendars, listing names of dearly departed on each day of November so they can remember to pray for the dead daily throughout the Month fo All Souls.

Skills-based games abound.  Just about any traditional skills-based game can work – ring toss, bowling, bouncing, balancing. You name it, a connection to a saint can likely be made. You can check out the 10 Printable All Saints Day Party Challenge Sheets shared at Training Happy Hearts for some ideas to get you started.

Creative activities can include a “St. Luke’s Studio” with coloring pages of the saints, crayons, markers, and watercolor paints.

You can also use our saint coloring pages for a game of Musical Saints.  Just print out two matching sets of pages with different saints, tape one set to chairs facing outwards and keep another set stacked face down. Turn on some faith-based music and have children walk around the chairs as they might if playing musical chairs. Then, when the music stops, draw a saint from your stacked pile. Whichever child is sitting the corresponding chair gets a prize.

6 – Pray and Learn!

Finally, the most important part – prayer… and, learning, too.

You might start your gathering with the Prayer for All Saints Day from Pray More Novenas.

Dear God, thank you for the example of the Saints.  I desire to join in their company, worshiping you forever in Heaven. Please help me follow their footsteps, and yours, Jesus Christ. Please help me to conform myself to Your image, seeking Your will in all things, as the Saints did. Please help me to devote myself, and all that I do, to Your glory, and to the service of my neighbors. Amen.

Following that, a Procession of Saints while praying the Mini Litany of Saints from CathFamily works well.  You can even add the names of all the saints your guests come dressed as to the litany.

Another purposeful idea is to have a chat about the significance of All Saints Day or to show a video clip about it such as the succinct and sound one here on Catholic Brain.  The video, of course, can be followed by a brief discussion as outlined in our All Saints Day Lesson pdf. For, while the fun is, of course what draws some children to a party, the prayer and learning is paramount to an All Saints Day celebrations success.

Whatever you choose to do, may your All Saints Day celebration be richly blessed.

Saints in Heaven, pray for us.

Author: Martianne Stanger