Make the most of Halloween

We've been thinking lots in the Gobbett household about how to make the most of Halloween this year, so Dave invited Sally to share some of her ideas in this post:

Sally Gobbett | 11:18, 30 October 2015

Trick or Treat Welcome

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

As you are aware, this Saturday 31st October is Halloween. We may tend to disengage or retreat from what is going on in the shops and culture around us, rightly not wanting ourselves or our children to participate in the commercial celebration of horror and darkness that Halloween has become in recent years.

But I would like to suggest an alternative approach, remembering that Halloween was originally a Christian festival, celebrating the victory Christ had at the cross over the powers of darkness - it is ours to redeem, let's not waste the opportunity! Watch here for an inspiring video: Halloween: Trick or Treat?

There may also still be time to organise something. It doesn't need to be a complicated, polished or expensive affair to be a light in our communities. Even better - club together with another church friend/family to share the cost/ effort.

For grown-ups:

Many older people feel scared in their homes on Halloween, nervous to open the door to masked strangers in the dark, but nervous to lie low as well, for fear of being 'tricked'. Many single people feel alone or excluded from our society's many family-centred festivities. So here are some ways of serving the whole of our church family and community on Saturday 31st:

  1. Host a tea party for older people in your area, where they can feel safe and share company on a dark night. Maybe you could make it a candlelit occasion for extra effect.
  2. Host a movie night where you can watch a film with friends and neighbours and maybe discuss it from a Christian perspective or talk for 5 minutes about how the film mirrors the gospel message (every story does in some way!)
  3. If you're feeling torn because you'd rather be watching the Rugby World Cup final, there's no need!...Make this an event to share with your friends and neighbours, watching together in your home or at the pub, whilst building relationships for future opportunities.
  4. Help out another church family with one of the events below.

For children and families:

As Halloween becomes more gruesome, many non-Christian parents are feeling uneasy about their children participating in the festivities, but don't want them to miss out on the fun. So here are some ways of embracing the occasion and using it as a way to offer our friends and neighbours an even more fun, more wholesome alternative:

  1. Host a Light Party: lantern making (Chinese paper lanterns or decorated jam jars for tea lights), sweets, fairy lights, decorating star biscuits, glo bands, pumpkin lanterns, donuts on a rope, apple bobbing, pumpkin soup, quizzes, sparklers etc etc
  2. Arrange a torch walk or torch-lit treasure hunt after dark, for a few families in your area. Glo bands will always be an added attraction and you could come inside for some pumpkin soup to finish.
  3. Host a 'non-Halloween' themed fancy dress party, eg 'something beginning with...' a letter of the alphabet/ 'light' etc
  4. Get a few friends around to pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child Leaflets with all the necessary information and instructions are available from the welcome desk at church.
  5. Host an Autumn craft party... see ideas at: The Imagination Tree

To encourage you, last year we hosted a Light Party in our home. It was a brilliant occasion which about 5 sets of non-Christian friends and neighbours attended and has led to a number of lasting and fruitful relationships. We mixed in some church families as well to aid meaningful conversation. Our kids had a great time and we want our home to be a place where other children from the neighbourhood want to come.

For trick or treaters:

  1. Make the front of your house brightly lit and look welcoming with pumpkin lanterns (carved this time with a smiley face, stars or hearts), fairy lights etc. Be prepared with the best welcome and treats in the neighbourhood, (even some warming pumpkin soup in polystyrene cups) some friendly conversation
  2. Go door-to-door yourself with 'Truth and Treat' offering a tract/ a copy of John's Gospel and some homemade cake (or similar).

Whatever you do, soak it in prayer and gospel hope and, if you're unable to manage anything for this year, plan in advance for next or prayerfully support others in the church. Most of all, let's rejoice that we have been rescued from darkness to light and ask for hearts that desire to share such wonderful news.

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