Our Halloween Witness
Written 01 Nov 2017
It’s tricky to know how to handle Halloween as Christians and as the church. We don’t want to participate in a festival that celebrates darkness and evil, but ideally we don’t want to be hidden away in our homes with the lights off - after all, that’s not much of a witness from a people whose life, hope, and strength is in Jesus.
Since last year, we have decided as a church and a missional community to go out to meet Halloween head on, with the following characteristics:
- ‘Yes’ to generosity
- ‘Yes’ to light
- ‘Yes’ to telling people about Jesus
- ‘No’ to spookiness and darkness
Helen and I live in the community in High Park, and we light up our front garden for the event. We serve hot chocolate (properly made with milk and the works; cream, marshmallows…) and cakes to all who come. We ask that people take their masks off when they go up for service.
People seem to really enjoy this and it creates a buzz. Last year we gave out 120 cups of hot chocolate and this year it was 160. As some of our friends and neighbours have more than one, we figure this equates to about 120-130 people served this year.
Not every neighbourhood will have this many visitors, but because we live on an enclosed estate, we think more people feel safe to go out and about in this way. We say a big thank you to the eleven helpers from various churches who helped to make it a success this year, and to Yahweh our God who makes it all possible!
This year we had a new idea to have a small craft area. Children and families can make two kinds of craft; lanterns and thank you cards. The lanterns are a classic chinese lantern design, made from coloured card, which say “Jesus is the light of the world” around the top rim. Kids can make these and take them away for themselves. Put a little jar with a candle in the middle and it makes a nice light.
Secondly, the Thank You cards are little slips of pre-printed colour card. The idea is to challenge the kids to decorate and then give their card away when they are trick-or-treating at another house later. As well as having John 8:12 on one side, the cards say “Thank you for your generosity and for being part of our community”. Older kids may not want to decorate the card but enjoy being “dared” to give it out.
The first amazing thing for us was to hear kids earnestly reading out the little passage from the Bible, even as they stand there dressed up as who-knows-what. The truth of God’s Word is being read out loud and it was really touching. Secondly, a lot of the kids took the challenge seriously, to give away their card. We hope that this spread the love, warmth, and light all around the neighbourhood.
The classic Christian alternative on Halloween is the “Light Party”. These are great and there are plenty of resources available. There are local light parties to us, and the kids that have heard about them and are invited to go will be blessed and well taken care of! But there will always be kids trick-or-treating, and we want them to encounter the gospel as well.
This format takes less set up and fewer helpers than a light party, and it lights up the whole community, not just the church. We love to make a difference not just within our church bubble, but in our wider context. Don’t hide your light, but put it on a lampstand for all to see!
I hope this gives you ideas and inspiration for what you can do in your community next year.
You can download resources to print for your own event on our GitHub page, where the designs are free and open source (anyone can download, make changes, and contribute).
Thanks and God bless!