When did Halloween become the biggest holiday of the year? For those of us who have been around for a few decades or more, the immense commercial attention and community activities available on October 31st is astounding! What was once a ‘Seasonal Section’ in the toy stores and one TV special repeated every year, is now a massive cultural touchstone, with 2 months of retail build up and a flood of movies and TV tie-ins.
So as the church continues to be an influence in the community, it does what it can to connect with and impact the surrounding neighborhoods with alternate activities – with a little less spooky, and a lot more attention on Jesus.
We checked out churches across the country to see what they’re doing to be in the world, but not of it, during the Harvest/Halloween/Reformation season.
Harvest Festival – Many churches build their autumn community outreaches with a focus on the harvest season rather than on Halloween. They often decorate in pumpkins, hay, and scarecrows with many traditional harvest-related activities… especially the food! Pumpkin pies, candied apples, and popcorn. With hearts on the harvest of souls (Luke 10:2), these churches bring the workers.
Trunk Or Treat – This twist on the traditional neighborhood candy hunt brings the children of the community to the church parking lot where church members decorate their cars with various fun themes. As costumed kids visit each car they get a treat or two. Churches are able to provide guidelines to control the messaging, images, and treat options to keep kids safe and parents happy!
Reformation Day – 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg door to protest the errors of the ruling religious leaders of his day. As many churches join in celebrating that turn in history, it’s a great opportunity for children to learn about how the Christian faith has suffered and endured throughout the centuries. With a focus on the sufficiency of scripture and God’s grace apart from works, Reformation Day is an incredible opportunity to celebrate.
Hallelujah Night – With a quick flick of the pen, Halloween Night becomes “Hallelujah Night,” an exciting night of praise and worship for churches across the country. Bringing together the whole congregation for music, prayer, food, and fun, these events promise a focus on God’s beautiful grace in a broken world.
Halloween – Still other churches don’t bother with presenting an alternative to Halloween at all. Embracing the fact that their community is totally bought in to the Halloween holiday, some churches offer “Unhaunted Houses,” mazes, and costume contests to bring any and everybody into the church where the church body can bridge the gap between the church and the world by interacting with their communities where they live and in context.
How does your church engage with the community on October 31st? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org