Happy All Saints’ Day!!! Every year, the girls look forward to an All Saints’ Day Party. They talk about what saints they’ll dress up as and why. I love their excitement about the saints—and the sneaky learning opportunities! This year, we threw a Canadian All Saints Day party with some friends.
Here’s what went down at the party—plus a FREE downloadable PDF for the activities I created for the kids to do at the party!
This year, with several other homeschooling families, we’ve been studying Canadian history. When I realized we’d be studying the Canadian martyrs at the end of October, I suggested we have an All Saints Day party for our next history co-op. We had a lot of fun putting together this party, and learned about a lot of cool new saints.
Dressing Up as Canadian Catholic Saints and Blesseds
Because we didn’t want all the kids to show up as St. Isaac Jogues and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, we had them draw names for their saints. We had exactly as many girls as there are Canadian female saints and blesseds.
If you have more than 26 children coming, add saints such as St. Brendan the Navigator (possibly the first European to visit North America), St. Joseph (the patron saint of Canada), St. Anne (to whom many of the fur traders had a great devotion), and Mother Mary to your list. You could also include other North American saints, like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton or St. Katherine Drexel.
Most of the Canadian Catholic saints and blesseds are nuns or priests. In some ways, this made dress-up costumes easier! Sunshine, Lily and Jade drew Blessed Elisabeth Turgeon, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, and St. Marguerite d’Youville. They were all nuns who wore black habits with variations on black-and-white wimples.
We dug out all our black clothing for their costumes. Sunshine wore my black Momzelle dress. Lily and Jade wore black tops and skirts. We used white and black shirts over their heads to create wimples, as Lacy from Catholic Icing suggested.
Our Canadian All Saints Day Party
We started the party off by having each of the kids do a brief presentation on their saint. At other parties we’ve attended, this has turned into a guessing game, with the child giving clues to help others identify their saint. Since many of the Canadian saints are less well-known, we didn’t do that. Each child simply stood up and shared a bit about who they had dressed up as.
Then we sang the Litany of the Saints. One mom led us in the prayers, with the rest of us (who could read) following along. You could also assign various kids to take turns as the leaders.
Next, it was time for the fun part of the party: the craft and activity stations. We planned five stations for the kids to rotate through. We divided the children into five groups to go through the stations together. Because some of the stations involved reading, we had older kids with younger kids, rather than separating them by age group. One mom manned each station.
Station 1: Decorate a Treat Bag
We had some treats for the kids at the end of the party, so we had them decorate a treat bag. For this, we used paper gift bags and Christian-themed foam stickers. The kids put their names on their bags and went crazy with the stickers. At the end of the party, we divvied up the candy into the bags and then tied them shut with a ribbon. (In a vain attempt to have them not start eating candy until they’d left…)
I’d recommend using a bag that is big enough for them to collect all their crafts as well. That way at the end of the party, each child’s crafts and treats should be gathered in their bag, ready to go (and not lost and mixed up with other kids’!).
Station 2: Canadian Saint Bingo
I made Canadian Saint Bingo cards with the names of all the Canadian Catholic blesseds and saints, plus St. Brendan the Navigator, St. Joseph, St. Anne, and Mother Mary. These 30 saints appear randomly on 8 Bingo cards, with a “Pray for Us” free square in the middle. (You can get these Bingo cards in my Canadian Catholic Saints Kids Activity Pack by subscribing to my email newsletter!)
I laminated all eight Bingo cards. The kids used whiteboard markers to circle the saints on their cards as I called the names. Once we finished a round, we wiped the laminated cards clean and they were able to play again. This let us play the game as many times as they wanted, without worrying about running out of Bingo cards.
If you want to do this with younger kids, you could also use pictures for each saint. Catholic Playground has a beautiful set of free All Saints Day Bingo cards with colour pictures. I ran out of time to do this with our Canadian saints.
Station 3: Canadian Saint Candles
For this station, the kids got to decorate a candle with an image of their Canadian saint. We debated the best way to do this craft, and finally ended up getting these saint religious candles. One mom was able to peel all the generic saints off the candles so we had plain glass jars. I liked these candles because they came in a glass jar, which is easier to glue to than a waxy candle. The jar is also tall and straight, which again makes it easier for gluing a picture on.
The kids cut out and glued their image on the candle. Then they decorated their candles with gold ribbon and gold glitter. The mom manning this station brought the candles wrapped in newspaper. The kids then kept their newspaper under their candles to catch the glitter. We also kept a broom handy at this station.
You could also bring hairspray or spray-on varnish to apply to the candles after the kids have finished, to help the glitter and pictures stick. We managed to get our candles home without losing too much gold all over the van.
Station 4: Colouring & Activity Pages
For this station, we had colouring pages, cross words and word searches, and other pen-and-paper activities for the kids to complete.
I shared our Saints of North America Activity Book by Katherine A. Borgatti for this station. It includes six North American saints, but for our party, we just used the pages for St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Andre Bessette. These activity pages are intended for children ages 4-9. There’s a nice variety of colouring pages, along with easy crossword puzzles, mazes, tic-tac-toe, and other games.
I also created some crosswords and word searches with the names of the Canadian Catholic blesseds and saints. For easy word searches for the younger kids, I just used the saints’ first names. For harder word searches, I used their complete names. (These word searches are also in my Canadian Catholic Saints Kids Activity Pack, available by subscribing to my email newsletter!)
Station 5: Make a Saint Medal
This saint medal necklace craft was probably the messiest and the most expensive activity at our party. Since we couldn’t find reasonably priced bulk medals for the Canadian saints, we used a St. Joseph medal (he’s the patron saint of Canada). The kids decorated their washers with nail polish (supplied by the moms!) and glitter.
This craft was probably the most popular at the party. Because our group was mostly girls, they had a lot of fun with the nail polish and necklaces. Even 2-year-old Pearl was able to make a medal (with some supervision!). It was really fun to see the kids’ creativity:
Once the kids had finished decorating, and the nail polish had dried, one mom tied the cord around the washers and glued the medals on. We discussed just attaching the medals via the jump ring at the top, but decided against this because (a) it made the medal stick away from the washer and (b) we’ve all lost too many medals when the jump ring broke.
If you have more boys in the group, have them make keychains with their medals. The medals could be put on 1-inch wide ribbon, rather than cord, and used as bookmarks. I hung Pearl’s medal on the end of her bunkbed, so you could hang the medals as decorations as well.
Potluck & Wrap-up
After all the kids had rotated through all the stations, we had a potluck lunch together. I’ve seen plenty of cute ideas on Pinterest for saint-themed food if you want to go that way, but we just brought veggie trays, cheese and crackers, etc. Then we cleaned up, gathered the kids crafts, and said goodbye.
Tips for Planning Your Canadian Catholic All Saints Day Party
1. Don’t leave it to the last minute! Three of us met once before the party to talk about ideas and logistics. We also both spent quite a bit of time shopping for supplies, browsing Pinterest, and emailing each other about the party. It took some time to find the right supplies for each craft, once we’d decided what we could pull off in a morning.
2. Decide who does what. For our saint party, we had five moms organizing it and five stations. This worked well—until one mom ended up with sick kids on the morning of the party! Thankfully, she hadn’t been bringing any of the supplies to the party so we were still able to pull it all off. We left the treat bags table unmanned and let the kids there work on their own.
Have you ever planned or attended a Canadian All Saints Day Party? What tips would you share?