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Posts Tagged ‘Light party’

The blog hits from searches on Halloween have begun. So here is my annual pointer to some good ways for Christians to redeem Halloween without drowning in a sea of witch masks and ghoul costumes. This is a great time of year to bless our neighbours and reach out with the good news of the light that Christ brings to our dark world.

One popular activity in many churches is to hold an alternative party. We’re making our Messy Church next week a Light Party. This year Scripture Union sent us a magazine with some excellent ideas for games and activities that we have used. They have free packs and downloads available. We found last year that a light party held on Halloween itself isn’t so popular as people are off to other parties so that’s why we’re holding ours before half term. The next door parish are holding one on 31st October, though, so we’ll encourage any parents who do want an alternative to go along to that. We are wondering if we still have time to get kids a Bag of Hope from UCB. But if your party is in half term, you should be fine.

Here in the Vicarage we’re stocking up on tracts (try 10ofThose or The Good Book Company) and sweeties to give to Trick or Treaters. And we’re planning our pumpkin carving. Dreamer is holding some afternoon drop in activities in the church hall over half term and plans pumpkin carving as an option. Last year we carved ‘Light of the World’ on ours, inspired by a gallery of other people’s pumpkins I posted a few years back. The excellent cartoonist Crimperman has some other ideas for pumpkins, in case you end up with too many. I have found from bitter – and tasteless – experience that supermarket Halloween pumpkins are utterly hopeless for roasting or making into soup or anything really useful.

Pumpkin cartoon

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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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I closed the poll for the Halloween discussion last night. It was interesting to see how many churches are doing something at Halloween, and how the increasing popularity of the festival challenges us to think through how to respond in a godly way to our changing culture. Some of us find the whole thing a bit scary, though, it seems.

Light Party
24%
Turning the lights off and hiding behind the sofa
22%
Giving out sweeties to trick or treaters
16%
Giving out tracts to trick or treaters
16%
Other
14%
Pumpkin Devotional
4%
A Light up the Night type walk
2%
Trick or Treating
0%
Going door to door giving out treats
0%

As ever, the most fun and inspiring part of the poll has been the ‘other’ answers. I was very encouraged to find out that people would be praying. Not necessarily so sure about trying to get the Vicar drunk though. And I can’t be the only one who finds the prospect of a Churches Together disco extremely alarming, surely?

All Souls Day Eve Prayer/All Hallows Evensong 2
Barn Dance (though I’d rather be behind the sofa!) 1
Churches together Disco 1
Trying to get the Vicar drunk 1
Saying that we are Christians and celebrate happy things – so come back at Xmas! 1
Away on half term holidays 1

I enjoyed having another poll up again. Anyone got ideas for another?

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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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