Through the generous support of donors, Scripture Union is able to offer churches a free Light Party Pack to help them host fabulously positive celebrations at Halloween. This year’s pack includes more tips than ever before on how to use the opportunity to share Jesus, as light of the world, with children and young people who aren’t from a church background. And, as Alice Lawrence discovered, the theme of light and positivity is universally popular.

Alice and her husband Phil live in a former vicarage on a housing estate in Knowle West, Bristol. The vicarage was abandoned in the 1990s following serious social unrest on the estate, and Alice and Phil took it over and renovated it in 2013. It’s now home to The Cairn, a church community without a traditional church building.

Alice says, We wanted The Cairn to be a beacon of light on the estate. There’s a lot of darkness and pain here, such as social issues and crime, and many people say they long for something more wholesome and positive. So last November we hosted a Light Party, as this seemed a very appropriate way to illustrate how God’s light dispels darkness. 

We literally made the house into a beacon, projecting graphics onto the outside walls and planting glowsticks in the garden. Phil stood guard over a fire where children and young people and their parents could toast marshmallows and enjoy sparklers.

"We know that children and young people in particular are hearing and receiving the gospel message."

Inside the house, we created a tunnel of old tent poles and fairy lights in the hall. In the main room, a disco ball bulb cast sparkling light over the walls and ceiling. All the activities were light related too: decorating tealight lanterns, cards where you scratch a design into black wax to reveal bright colour underneath, and we made rainbow coloured jelly too.

We invited a few people personally, and told them to invite their friends as word of mouth works better than Facebook round here! About 50 people came – children and young people and their families, but also some pensioners who didn’t want to be home alone whilst boisterous gangs of teens were out doing trick or treat. They all seemed to enjoy the party: one of the mums said: It’s great to be here, somewhere where the children can have a good time and be safe’. 

Some of the adults here had a negative experience of church as children. So whilst we’re clear that we’re Christians, we didn’t include an explicit gospel message in our Light Party. We didn’t want people feeling that we were going to foist our faith on them. We wanted to build trust and genuine relationships, which takes time, but we had a series of follow up lunches and events planned so we could do that. And sure enough, conversations around faith have developed naturally. We know that children and young people in particular are hearing and receiving the gospel message, because recently a 10-year-old girl has asked if we can baptise her at our home. 

The Light Party Pack was great in helping us plan the event. We used some of what was in there, but we also used some of the ideas as a starting point for our own. Now an Anglican church up the road has started doing Light Parties too – as far as I’m concerned, the more, the better!”

Scripture Union’s Light Party Pack is back for its fifth year. The pack includes lots of ideas and inspiration for putting on a Light Party event for children, youth, or all ages. In 2017 more than 8,000 packs were distributed, and it is estimated that more than 23,500 children across the country attended a Light Party – of those 60 per cent did not regularly attend church.