8 Ways to Redeem Halloween
Halloween is a tricky thing for Christians. On the one hand, it’s obviously a deeply pagan festival that is closely associated with the occult. On the other hand, it’s one of the few times of the year that families wander around the neighborhood chatting with one another and knocking on each other’s doors. When Christians turn off the lights and refuse to answer the doorbell they may be missing an opportunity to speak light and life into their community.
We certainly don’t support Halloween as a holiday and aren’t encouraging Christians to participate, but we do have some suggestions for ways you might be able to “redeem the times”:
8. Hot Chocolate Station
In most parts of the U.S., Halloween can be pretty chilly. You’re likely to see a lot of superheros out there who are pretty bulky…Spider Man doesn’t look quite so acrobatic when there’s a down jacket crammed in under that spandex outfit. So set up a hot chocolate station in your yard so kids and their parents to stop by and warm up. Maybe have some brochures from your church available for anyone who wants to pick one up. A propane powered heat lamp or a portable fire-pit would probably be greatly appreciated too!
7. Candy Tracts
Ok, not really tracts…remember those weird, often awkward paper Gospel presentations? While God can and does use surprising things to accomplish His purposes, tracts are probably not an effective way to communicate in our current culture. But there is something to be said for giving someone something they can look at and think about later. So, get some candy with a specific name and staple a little tag with a Bible verse that contains a key word. So for example, staple a tag with Luke 2:10-11 (…good news of great JOY that will be for all the people…) to an Almond Joy. Or maybe James 1:17 (Every GOOD and perfect gift is from above…) to a Mr. Goodbar. Ok, so those aren’t great, but maybe you have some more clever/meaningful ways to do the same thing? Share them in the comments section below! Here’s the key: make sure your tag is actually attached to some candy. Otherwise, kids get home and find the tag in their bag and think “those people didn’t even give candy…they just gave out these little pieces of paper!”
6. After-Haul Party
Invite neighbors to an after-haul party. Serve hot cider or hot chocolate, maybe offer some appetizers and let kids sort through their candy bags and trade with each other.
5. Pumpkin Art Contest
Pumpkin carving is a little dicey (pun intended). Obviously, this is very closely associated with the pagan and occult aspects of Halloween. But, is it possible to offer a new twist that will allow you to tell the Gospel in a unique and engaging way? Consider having a Pumpkin decorating party and sharing an object lesson like these from RealLifeBlog, Creative Bible Study and DLTK. To avoid ghastly or gross entries, say that such designs are too cliche and everyone has to come up with something positive to say with their pumpkin art.
4. Carnival Games
Put out some simple carnival-style games in your yard for kids to try their hand at while they’re out trick-or-treating. Perhaps you could offer some kid-friendly Christian music CD’s as prizes…a lot of Christian bookstores have discount bins where you can pick up that kind of thing very inexpensively.
3. Glow Bracelets
Go to a craft/hobby store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels and pick up a few tubes of glow-stick bracelets. You can generally get a tube of 10 glow-sticks for $1. Print a little sticker-tag that says something like: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
2. Trick-or-Treat With a Neighbor
Again, we’re not encouraging anyone to participate in anything they find objectionable or that goes against their conscience, but if you let your kids go trick-or-treating anyway, then why not use it as a chance to get to know a neighbor? Find a family that has just recently moved in to the area and invite them over for a quick bowl of chili before heading out together to collect candy.
1. Light Festival
Halloween tends to be dark, in ways both physical and metaphorical, so why not reverse the trend? Get out the Christmas lights early and string them around your yard to create a brightly (and cheerfully) lit atmosphere. You could easily combine this idea with some of the other ideas already mentioned. If anyone asks why you have Christmas lights up on Halloween, just say that Christmas is right around the corner and you just can’t wait to celebrate Jesus, the Light of the world!