Are you dreading Halloween and the huge push of spooky masks, pumpkins and ghoulish parties?
Or if you’re like me, you grew up with a bit of Halloween fun. Some masks, a big bowl of monkey nuts, toffee apples and dunking for apples in the kitchen sink. All well deserved after exhausting yourself by carving a turnip (if this surprises you, ask your parents/grandparents when pumpkins arrived from the USA).
Either way, today’s Halloween is of huge commercial value. Whether you indulge a little pumpkin carving and spooky treats or abstain completely, it’s impossible to ignore the Halloween event, especially with children, who are bombarded by retailers and friends alike.
As a parent, I want my children to enjoy “an event” and I’ve always wondered if we should celebrate the 1st November, All Saints Day, on a grander scale (with fun preparations the night before)? This would fill the gap of Halloween events, but keep the focus on Christ’s light, over Halloween’s darkness.
Churches and Christian organisations have come up with various campaigns over the years, from door stickers showing crossed out witches to deter Trick or Treaters, to goodie bags you can give out, including sweets and child appropriate tracts.
The current trend favours Light Parties, hosted at home or with friends (not forgetting current Covid restrictions with your bubble). Looking at the resources, I think they’re a great way to entertain children, without the need for zombies, blood stain decorations and coffins.
The Evangelical Alliance has a list of resources for alternative Halloweens, with links to a number of books and tracts if you’d like further reading. For me as a parent, I want to keep a balance. I want my children to reject the things which detract from the Word of God, or potentially lead them to the genuinely dangerous side of Halloween, but understanding the difference when you’re 7 and 2 years old, is probably a little too much too soon. Until they’re ready for deeper explanations, I love the fun they’ll have with glow sticks, sparklers and pumpkins carved with Christian symbols and cartoon characters (fine, yes, I’ll allow Scooby Doo). There may be some apple dunking, but it’ll just be an excuse to soak dad.
You can download Light Party resource packs from Scripture Union and Pumpkin Heroes packs from World Vision, so it’s never too late for a last minute party, even if it happens to be on the 31st October.
If you’re hosting a Light Party or other alternative to Halloween, let us know in the comments what worked (or didn’t work) to help others plan their October 31st.