Light in the Darkness
Light Parties have become an institution in many churches providing an alternative to ‘Trick or Treating’ at Halloween. The Bible tells us we should be a light in the world:
“In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5 v 16)
Is hiding away in our churches or avoiding opening our doors to trick or treaters the solution or are we being called to step out into our streets, open our doors and reconnect with our community this Halloween?
Here are three alternative ways to engage as light in the darkness this year.
1 – Run a Trail
Last year a local church to me ran a pumpkin trail – I took my mum and dog and off we went into the darkness searching for letters around nearby streets. We met many families completing the trail, chatting, talking and connecting together. At the end of the trail, we reached the church and received a goodie bag full of sweets, crafts and information about their messy church. It was wonderful to engage in something that was clearly blessing local families. Muddy Church along with the Diocese of Birmingham have just released their free ‘Light Trail’ for 2021, why not consider setting up a trial in your community and inviting families along to discover 6 wondering points. There are also activity sheets, a treasure hunt and ready made QR codes. Find everything you need here: https://www.muddychurch.co.uk/light-trail-muddy-church You might like to get inspired by Nay Dawson's latest blog post about becoming a House of Light and her own experiences running trails in her community. https://naydawson.com/2021/10/04/become-a-house-of-light-this-halloween/
2 – Treat or Treat
On one day a year people put pumpkins in their window and actively encourage you to knock on their doors! What a great opportunity to connect with people in your community.
One year the children from my church
decided to take light into the streets. We set up ‘lighthouses’ locations to meet in our local community, those who didn’t want to go out on the streets could stay there and pray for our neighbourhood. During the day our children decorated hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of cupcakes which we delivered to the lighthouses. At dusk wearing strings of battery-operated fairy lights and glowsticks our children took to the streets.
Whenever we found a house decorated for Halloween we approached and called out “Treat or Treat” – we explained that we were from the church, that we had come to share some love and offer a treat to those in our communities. We gave them a cupcake, thanked them for their generosity to the children of our community and left them an invitation to our family craft mornings. We didn’t ask for anything, although most people insisted on sending our children away with some sweets… and the kids loved it!
3 – Gospel Goodie Bags
“Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4 v 18)
I had heard many horror stories over the years of Christians responding to trick or treaters with fear – slamming doors in faces, forcing tracts into the hands of children, hiding in darkened houses…I wanted to find a way to equip families to show love to those knocking on their doors. As a response I created ‘gospel goodie bags’ a fun paper bag with a selection of sweets and goodies in as well as an invite to our church family craft mornings and a puzzle sheet. The puzzle sheet talked about the meaning behind the word Halloween (All Hallow Eve) and the day that comes after it ‘All Saints Day’. It shared some of the goriest stories of saints that I could find and the amazing story of Jesus coming back from the dead.
Church members were able to share hundreds of these bags with families over a number of years, a simple way to share God’s love with those in our streets. I’ve recreated it here as a word document with a space for you to add details of your own church activities.