Five Halloween Alternatives

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Halloween’s origins are rooted in the occult. The ancient Druids
believed that on October 31, Saman, the lord of death, called forth
hosts of dead spirits to visit their earthly homes. They believed
that demons masqueraded as fairies, goblins, vampires, and
werewolves. People would set out food and drink to placate the evil
spirits. Trick or treating is a direct outgrowth of these ancient
practices.

But kids enjoy Halloween. So how do you provide alternatives to
the “evil” aspects of Halloween and still allow kids to have fun?
If goblins and ghouls haunt you at Halloween, try these fun-filled
Christian versions of a not-so-Christian day.

Halloween Alternative One: Family Storytelling
Retreat
— Have a family overnight retreat at a camp,
retreat center, or school. Start around 5:30 p.m. on a Friday. Tell
each family to bring their favorite hors d’oeuvres for a potluck
appetizer supper.

After dinner, lead the group in singing lively songs with
actions. Then have people get together with their own family. Have
each family decide on their favorite story about an experience that
involved their entire family. Tell each family they need to prepare
a skit about that story to present to the other families. Skits
should be no longer than five minutes.

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After the presentations, form groups of four families. Have
these groups each sit in a circle. Give them a story-starter
sentence, such as “Once there was a man who couldn’t figure out how
to…” One at a time, have group members add one sentence to the
story until the story is complete. Start the story with the person
who has the most gray hair (the wisest) in each family group.

Close your group time together by pointing people to Jesus as
the consummate storyteller. The next morning, give each family a
story that Jesus told so they can discuss what the story means.
Encourage each family to be an important link in the chain of
storytellers that spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

Other ingredients for this Halloween Family Storytelling Retreat
could include fun table graces, craft projects, free time for each
family, large group games, get-to-know-you activities, outdoor
games, team challenge races, face painting, a campfire, picnic
meals, or a service project.

Halloween Alternative Two: Children’s or Family Dinner
Theater
— Bring the children of the church and community
together with a musical production. Select a children’s musical
that your children or families can prepare to present. You may want
to use a Halloween “good conquers evil” theme. Enlist a director, a
music director, a choreographer, a props person, a director of
ticket sales, and a publicity coordinator. This may require weeks
of rehearsal, setup, scheduling, and arranging, but everyone
involved will enjoy the end result.

On the Friday or Saturday before Halloween, invite families to
enjoy a casual spaghetti or potluck dinner. After the meal, bring
on the entertainment!

Halloween Alternative Three: Family Harvest of Blessings
Party
— If you “carrot all, you’ll turnip” at this party!
Now this may be a challenge, but have each family come dressed as
their favorite food! The costumes will be fun and original.
Encourage creativity and nurture a sense of excitement. Use food
clip art in your publicity. This is a fun way to celebrate the
harvesting of foods in October-a foretaste of the feast to come in
heaven!

Here are a few key family ingredients for your party
recipe:
Service projects — Collect food for the family food
shelf. Bring birthday party items and make birthday party packs. Or
collect funds to support an inner-city free meal program.

Crafts — Decorate pre-baked cookies. Tie-dye T-shirts
with colors from foods, roots, or flowers. Make salt dough
creations and ornaments. Decorate pumpkins or gourds. Create
cornstalk wreaths, dolls, or ornaments. Face paint with a food
theme!

Games — Toss bean bags that look like different foods
onto plates. Play Fruit Basket Upset. Get out the tumbling mats and
have a Banana Flip Run. (See who can run and do the most
somersaults before running out of steam.) Have food relays. For
example, kids can carry radishes on a celery stalk.

Devotions — Study the fruit of the Spirit. Use visuals
and role-playing. Study biblical passages that deal with the
harvest or vineyards.

Music — Take familiar tunes and change the words to
create fun new songs that go with your theme.

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