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Putting "hallowed" back in Halloween

UPDATED SEPT. 28, 2007
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UPDATED OCT. 24, 2007
How is your church, youth group or other organization using Halloween as an opportunity to tell others about Jesus? I'd like to hear from you. Below are responses I received last year and that I have also begun receiving this year, and I will be adding to the list this year as I hear from people. So if your church is planning any activities or if you have any ideas, please e-mail me and I'll post them here.

Mix and match ideas, try new angles on old ideas, ignore the ones you think are cheesy and share the ones you really like. Bottom line: Have fun, and in all things glorify Christ. (Psalms 86:12) To paraphrase an old Christian rock song: Why should the devil have all the good holidays??

And the replies keep coming in...

Michael wrote:

The college groups from several churches in my city held a bash last year at a concert hall with several different Christian rock bands and called it "Time to Raze Hell." A lot of people did a double-take when they heard the name and started asking questions, and we told them that Jesus "razed hell" and shared the Gospel with them but also just had a really great time and showed them that Christians can have fun too. I think they're doing something like this again this year.

Teresa wrote:

Halloween is a very good time to have a Youth Lock In at the church, show clips of popular Halloween movies and discuss with the kids why exactly the things portrayed in these movies is not good. Often, people are shown as overcoming Satan or evil on their own. God is not a part of the movies. Youth Pastors could spend all night (after the youth help clean up from Trunk or Treat of course!) teaching and discussing the wrong and right theology pertaining to witches, warlocks, black magic, halloween, satanism, the occult and more. In fact, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea for the adults to hear it too!

Becky wrote:

Our youth group is doing a thing called backwards Halloween. we make little baggies of candy, Gospel tracks, and stuff about our church and go knocking on doors and instead of saying "trick or treat" and getting candy, we say "Jesus loves you" and give them their goody bag.

Jessica wrote:

My church does Hallelujah Night each Halloween. We usually have something specifically that we do or we go to other churches and participate with them. Two years ago we did a play titled "The Ultimate Conflict: Freddy and Jason Meets Jesus". That was the year the Freddy and Jason movie came out and a lot of youth went to see it bcuz Freddy and Jason are known as the ultimate villains and they can never be defeated - supposedly - but in the play they come face to face with Jesus who IS the Ultimate Chain Breaker And Yoke Destroyer so therein lies the ultimate conflict. It was very good. We ran it two nights and did a matinee. Last year, we visited other churches and they were doing skits about the last days like The Revelation Walk, Judgement House, Flight something (I can't remember) but they were excellent. You either are "killed" in some type of accident like a plane or you're a group of Christians secretly serving God in the Tribulation. We do a lot of things and support a lot of other churches.

Tanya wrote:

My husband Devon and I have a CD with three "demo" songs on it. My vision is to have a huge church play with the three songs similar but not totally like "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames." The titles are "Rose OF Sharon"--a soft violin and piano song about how I want to be like THAT ROSE (Jesus); the second song is "NO SONSHINE" (grungy song about that black hole down there where there's no SonShine).... and thirdly a rap song about being "DELIVERED."

I mention the songs because what Devon and I do each Halloween is take the second song, NO SONSHINE, and use it as the background song along with scary sound effects, as the kids walk through "hell." We enclose our carport on our driveway in black trash bags. Inside we have red light, a HEATER to make it HOT, with a red spotlight, black lights and strobe. Devon dresses as the devil in a costume we searched for, for over two years. I dress in that costume that is all black with a black see-through face like death. With the fog, strobe, red light with heater, it feels a bit like hell, as we could make it. The children walk in, go to the far left corner where Satan gives them their candy. Then they have to cross the other extreme far right to see a sign with an arrow pointing to the white cross(exit) exclaiming "your ONLY WAY OUT"....Painted on the wall before exiting is a neon fiery sign that says "accept the Son, your soul's desire. Don't allow yourself to burn in the fire" upon leaving through the ONLY EXIT as they have to pass Death, they receive a Bible tract and walk THROUGH the Cross exit.

Jennifer wrote:

Hi! My church does "Trunk-Or-Treat." It's where the neighborhood kids can have a safe place to get candy. We decorate our cars and they all have a dealing with the Bible or something good for Jesus. It's really awesome and the youth get really involved in it!

...and then Brandi suggested this twist on "Trunk or Treat":

My church held a trunk-or-treat where everyone could "dress-up" the cars with some theme in a big circle and kids could go around and get candy. I had my brothers, sister, and my son help with making my theme the North Pole. My son was Rudolph. The rest of us were Santa's elves. My car had fake snow and cotton temporarily glued all over the car. We had a Christmas tree, lights, the whole works. So for starters you can imagine the looks and attention we got and the questions that were asked. "Do you realize it's Halloween? How far is Christmas?" and so on.... The greatest part was the candy we gave out. We gave out candy canes with a small note giving the story behind the candy cane attached to it. And of course the candy cane represents something of Jesus. It was really fun and interesting. I think there were only 2-3 kids that refused to take the story part of it. But out of the 2-3 that refused it, how many do you think received that little bit of information about Jesus?.... at least 200!

Kristen wrote:

Two years ago, a few adults in my church got together and decided to do a Hallelujah Night for the kids. It's like a halloween carnival, but is totally Christ centered. The kids are allowed to dress up, but as Bible characters (we get a lot of sheep, lol) and there are games like bob for apples, basket ball, fishing, and face painting. The youth help run the stations, and we give out prizes. The kids love it, they still get candy and they are laerning more about our Savior.

And then Jeannette offered this variation, with activities for different age groups:

My church has Hallelejuh Night. My pastor decided to have something for all age groups. 2-5 has like lil crafts and the new Veggie Tales movie, Lord of the Beans, and then from 6-10 has a game night and also a movie and food (which my mom heads up) and then 11 and up has a talent show. This goes on all at the same time. Then at the end of the night they distribute large bags of candy. We have been collecting candy since the end of Sept. so you can imagine how much we have lol. Well yes, I am thankful my church has something on halloween because all my friends like to celebrate in Satan so I love to be different!

Aimee wrote:

I have an idea for fun Halloween stuff. We do a thing called Neewollah...(knee a walla - is how we pronounce it). It's Halloween backwards. And the teens get together from all over the county and they have a fun fair. Our youth group goes as one big group and it's a great time to invite friends who haven't gone to church before and to be a united force for God out in a public setting. It's a lot of fun. With many booths to play at, skee ball, video games, sumo wrestling, basketball hoop games, mini golf.... food and snacks and it's only $5 per kid. A church could put that on in their basement for less and do different things.

Or perhaps you could go door to door in the costume of a disciple...(which means you dress like yourself) and instead of saying trick or treat and taking someone else candy, you could say, Happy Neewollah, or Happy October 31st or Jesus loves you and pass out little new testaments. Or little books of prayer or cards that give directions and times of service for your church.

Nate wrote:

I don't know if this counts, but I was going to dress up like Martin Luther and carry a hammer & a copy of the 95 thesis. October 31st is also "Reformation Day"- the day Luther nailed that famous document at Wittenburg. Then, when somebody asks me "What's Reformation Day?" I can tell them how we're saved through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone (the sola's). How's that for a conversation starter?
Teri wrote:

I don't know what age groups you're targeting, but last year my teen daughters went out trick-or-treating. {They are going this year, too!} One dressed as Tricia from Superchic[k] and the other dressed as a demon hunter {ha, get the jest?}. Needless to say, kids out going door to door thought the costumes were awesome, and stopped them to ask who they were. The girls put them through a guessing game to see what the other kids thought. On the 3rd misguess, they told who they were dressed as and asked if they could talk to them about Jesus. Most kids said sure, so the girls got to witness a lot that night, and got home late because of it. They also handed out candy from their bags and included positive Bible verses. At our home we handed out candy and the Bible verses.
Ashley wrote:

My family and I used to hand out candy, (Gospel) tracts and a copy of the history of Halloween. You wouldn't believe the responses you get through the curiosity of people...just put it all in a little bag and hand them out...don't put the history in the bag that way the parents can read it while they walk and they'll have an oppurtunity to ask questions.

Kellar wrote:

My church has been doing this for years. Every Halloween, we have what is called Noah's Ark Party. Its really an alternative to Halloween. Kids (and adult for that matter) can come dressed as an animal or some other person or thing that was on Noah's ark. Some people get really creative and dress up as grapes, Noah's walking staff, stuff like that. Everybody looks really silly, but its a lot of fun and it gives kids a safe alternative. We set up games and races in different rooms of our church and give out prizes and candy. We also give a short gospel presentation at the end. My church passes out flyers for these kinds of events, and we get tons of kids from the neighborhood to come hang out with us rather than on the streets. It's a great ministry!