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18 October 2010

Christians putting the treat back into Halloween through alternative celebrations

Christians putting the treat back into Halloween through alternative celebrations

Halloween is a time of year full of witches, bats, spiders and other far darker costumes and decorations, leaving many Christians in a dilemma about whether to let their kids get involved. In response, Christians around the UK, rather than negatively reacting to what is seen as a festival, have been creatively producing alternatives to the usual celebrations.

One of these alternative celebrations is known as a "Light Party." Gillingham Community Church in Dorset held a Light Party one year in a primary school and invited all of the schoolchildren. The party involved lots of food and games, and finished off with a white iced cake with a candle that doesn't go out when blown, but springs back into life.

"It was a great illustration of light in the darkness - of John 1:4-5 'In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it,'" said church member Ann Branson.

St Andrew Ryton will be holding a Celebration of Light Party for 3-8 year-olds, to counteract the local Halloween events. There will be crafts, puppets, games, hot dogs, and cakes for the children. "We hope to reach out to friends of our church children through this event," said Sunday Club Leader Laura Anderson.

Wycliffe Baptist Church is having their 9th annual Superheroes party on Halloween. They expect at least 200 children to attend as the party grows in size every year.

"We wanted to tackle Halloween head on and offer a positive, brilliant, alternative and we think we have managed to do that," said Stewart Johnston, Operations Manager. "We welcome many new children in and are able to send them out having had a great time and with a positive leaflet about Jesus the ultimate Superhero which we wrote ourselves, rather than a negative leaflet about Halloween."

Some enjoy giving out alternative treats to children who come knocking on their door on Halloween. Ann Branson gives envelopes to child callers containing wrapped sweets and labelled "Jesus - treat, no trick!" Eric Austen of Milborne St Andrew gives trick-or-treaters a card with a chocolate bar celebrating the good work of many saints such as Mother Theresa.

Other ideas include autumn parties, harvest celebrations and Reformation Day parties. For more resources and ideas on Halloween, visit the Evangelical Alliance resources page.