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All Hallows' Eve Shrines

This is my first year as a homeowner, and with Halloween approaching I began to wonder what I would do for decorations. In light of this interesting article by Fr. Grunow about the Catholic roots of Halloween and why Americans came to think of it as a pagan holiday, I decided to try to use this opportunity to reengage the culture and maybe even evangelize my neighbors.

The crazy idea I came up with was to make little shrines to honor a few saints who died as martyrs for their faith in Christ. That way we can remember death, but in a way that points to the Kingdom of God and not the occult. I also hope people are drawn to some of the beautiful and unusual imagery. I made a banner wishing everyone a "Happy All Hallows' Eve" and will leave a basket of free holy cards outside the door. We have really good candy to hand out too!

empty cereal boxes
paper (for template)
x-acto knife
black poster board
print-outs of saints
flameless LED tea lights

Template available: download

I had three different sizes of cereal boxes, so I drew a gothic arch doorway that would fit nicely on the smallest box and traced it onto every box, and cut each opening with the x-acto. Then using the proportions of the largest box, I drew a gothic facade and traced it onto the black poster board three times. Then I traced the doorway onto each facade. I also traced the sides and tops of each box. Once all of the poster board pieces were cut out, I glued them to the cereal boxes, taking care to line up the opening in the front of the box with the opening in the facade.

I printed out pictures of St. Lucy, St. Peter, and St. Denis on 8.5" x 11" paper, trimmed the sides to fit, and glued them inside each box. Do this before you glue poster board over the top of the box! I also printed out their names, glued them to scroll shapes cut out of heavy white paper, and glued a name scroll onto each shrine.

It's also important to take breaks to smile at and/or nurse the cute baby on the floor near your work area.

Once you have the shrines assembled, they might look something like this:

I plan to make a few more next year since this was a last-minute idea.

My kids are pretty excited about them. J calls them "little churches." They just had their All Saints Day party at our homeschool co-op.  S wanted to dress up as St. Barbara. I couldn't get her to hold both her tower and her holy card straight at the same time, so here are two pictures:
J went as St. Patrick, but he wouldn't wear his miter once we were home. He likes to dress up as a priest almost every day, so this isn't even really a costume for him ;)


Jen said…
This is fabulous! Thank you for sharing this, Amanda. I'm going to pin it in all the Catholic ideas I'd like to create. I will try to make these to put on our doorstep on All Hallow's Eve. Bless you!
Kate said…
Thank you so much, Amanda! This is awesome!
Unknown said…
That is great! I have always wanted to a "Haunted House" of Incorruptibles! ;) I think there stories would really turn some secular neighbors heads! LOL! We also have been debating going to the Baptist Church "Trunk & Treat" with my 8 kids all dressed in their Saint costumes. I love it when people ask and who are you dressed up as...real evangelizing.
Unknown said…
Amanda this is fabulous. I pinned it and will share it with my local group as an idea for next year!
Anonymous said…
This is awesome! Can you provide a pdf template for the church facades?
A.R. said…
Thanks everyone! Yes, feel free to share this.

I'll try to work on a template for the facade for next year!

Nora said…
These are great! I found this last year after All Saints Day....did you ever post a template? We finally have cereal boxes and cardboard at the ready!
Anonymous said…
Hi Amanda! were you ever able to make a template PDF for the church facades?
A.R. said…
I can probably work on a template over the weekend and make a new post about it. We're just getting into All Saints Day preparation mode around here. Thanks for reminding me!
A.R. said…
Okay, I got to it sooner than I thought. You can find the template here: All Hallows' Eve Shrine Template!
Nora said…
Thanks Amanda my husband daughter and I made them this morning they look great Thanks so much for a wonderful idea! Wish I could post a picture!