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Posts Tagged ‘guising’

All our Trick or Treaters turned up whilst we were eating last night. But despite the bad timing (and a rather cold tea), we had lots of fun. We always ask kids to perform something in exchange for their sweeties, as they do in Scotland, but they were all pretty hopeless and in the end the Joker and the Engineer told jokes from their vast repertoire.

We told them about our Jesus pumpkin, which had a flame on one side and “Jesus” within a heart on the other, talking about how Christ brings light to our world and into our lives. And then we handed out sweeties and tracts. The damp weather put a few off, I suspect, but still a great opportunity to treat local kids and get to know the neighbours.

I was also tweeted a pic of a pumpkin carved by the supremely talented Liz and have spent all day wondering how angled the back-to-front Jesus carving had to be to get this projection. And also planning to try this next year…

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Of course, Halloween is approaching before All Hallows Day, and over the last couple of years I’ve blogged a few different ideas that we’ve used in the Vicarage, and some that others have suggested to me. I had a poll where people owned up to whether they hide behind the sofa or not and I’ve put up a few pictures of alternative pumpkins. Last year I reflected that this sort-of-new-to-the-British festival is only going to get bigger, so we Christians need to have thought through our approach.

So this year we’ll be carving pumpkins and lighting our windows with a gospel message. We’ll have sweeties to hand out and ask the visitors to tell us jokes. Our youth group meet that night so they will be having some Light Party games and lots of sugared items. And we’ll be giving out gospel leaflets with all this too. The Good Book Company have three different ones available this year – a couple for primary school aged kids and one for teenagers. They’re 17p each at the most (discounts apply if you bulk buy). The Good Book Co also sell One Day Wonders, which has everything you need to run a Light Party (and one off events for Christmas and Easter too). Why not stock up now so you’re prepared for the inevitable rings at the doorbell?

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Walking to school this morning, a girl from the Joker’s year had a bit of a moan at me:

When I come trick or treating to your house I have to do a joke.

Last year we imposed our Scottish guising rules and it’s obviously been remembered! I have a couple of pumpkins in and we’ll be frantically carving a pumpkin devotional after school tonight. I need to get off to buy some rubbish sweeties now, but I’m rather looking forward to treating the local kids later and telling them about the Light of Christ.

Last year I posted a Christian pumpkin gallery – so do tweet or link me your pics of this year’s gourds and I’ll stick another one up.

Last year's pumpkin

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We had such a ball on Sunday evening. The kids dressed up, we lit our pumpkin and put it in the Vicar’s study window, put sweeties in a bag and waited around for the doorbell to ring. Which it did, almost continuously between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. Civilised, I thought.

As I’ve mentioned before, we imposed the Vicarage rules of making the Trick or Treaters tell a joke or story or sing a song before treats were given. I have to say, I was generally rather disappointed with the quality of the jokes. After the first group, who had a selection of not too awful jokes, pretty much everyone told the knock knock Dr Who one. Bonus points, though, to the teenage girls at the end of the session who told a proper(ish) ghost story.

After handing out sweeties and a Good Book Company tract, we took our Trick or Treaters to look at our pumpkin and told them about about it. I got the kids to do it a few times and sometimes I talked to them. We took the visitors through sin (the yucky middle of the pumpkin that needs to be got rid of) and the light which we can have in our hearts because of the cross. One set of Trick or Treaters had been in Junior Church with me in the morning, and had heard my (rather longer) explanation of the pumpkin in the service. They joined me in singing the new song I’d taught them: ‘What a Mighty Mighty Saviour You Are’.

In the window on the stairs on Saturday evening

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Recently I was reminded that Halloween is just around the corner (thanks Cassie!) and have been thinking about the different ways that churches and individual Christian families can respond. The idea of celebrating darkness and things of the night goes against the grain with Christians who have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son (Col 1v12-13).

In previous years I have attended a ‘Light Up the Night’ walk in Wolverhampton and friends in Wolves have organised a Light Party. Someone else I talked to had organised the young people from their church to go door to door with lanterns giving out sweets and treats rather than asking for them. In our small church, we’re not really at the stage of being able to organise a party or walk, but we always ensure we have a supply of sweeties and Christian tracts to give to the visiting ghouls. The Good Book Company and 10ofthose supply some, although I feel there’s probably a gap in the market for something a little less wordy.

I also get the visiting kids to perform a joke or song for their sweeties. In Scotland, where the Vicar grew up, Halloween was a night for guising (it’s mentioned at the bottom of the Wikipedia page) – dressing up and going door to door with a wee show for the residents, for which they would give you a treat. So beware, you’ll need to have practiced if you come to my door at the end of half term.

And just the other day I was pointed to a blog post with a devotional based around carving a pumpkin. It’s a lot less weird than it sounds and I think I might try this with my kids this year.

So, how will you and your church be responding to Halloween this year? I’d love some extra inspiration. I’ll leave the poll open for a week.

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