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Churches offer alternatives to Halloween

In the pulpit

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POSTED: November 1, 2010 4:26 p.m.
Today we celebrate Halloween. Although the day and date of some holidays may change, Halloween is always on October 31.
Many countries throughout the world also celebrate Halloween. it is fast becoming one of our nation’s biggest money-making holidays.
Just as people decorate their homes and yards for Christmas, many do the same for Halloween. Children anticipate Halloween so they can dress up and go trick-or-treating for goodies.
As Halloween increases in popularity, churches frequently are beginning to host activities and programs as alternative Halloween celebrations. Instead of dressing children up as witches, devils, dragons, vampires and other scary characters and sending them out to trick-or-treat, churches encourage parents to dress children as Biblical characters and take them to church.
Even moms and dads are getting in on the action. Programs such as “why not Halloween” or “hallelujah nights” are popular with youth and adults.
Many churches have “trunk or treat” programs. Youth ministers and leaders work hard to ensure these programs are successful by giving children the opportunity to showcase their talents through singing, praise dancing, reading poetry and performing skits. Program attendees also listen to messages of hope and encouragement, sit in on lectures and play games. Additionally, they are given Christian information pamphlets and lots of goodies to eat.
Alternative Halloween programs are designed to allow children to gather, learn, have fun, eat and enjoy fellowship in a safe place, without the fear of going into the streets to trick-or-treat. These programs reduce the possibility of injury.
In addition to “why not Halloween,” “hallelujah nights” and “trunk or treat” programs, several community churches celebrate their fall festivals or harvest festivals on Halloween or immediately before it. The festivals also are coordinated with children in mind.
During fall festivals or harvest festivals, children participate in games and contests, take hayrides, have their faces painted, bob for apples, play horseshoes, compete in races, enjoy pony rides, gather for fire truck demonstrations and take part in other games and activities. Often, firemen and policemen give lectures on fire safety and the role police play in communities. The delicious food on hand satisfies everyone’s appetites.
 

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