Pumpkinpalooza – To Halloween or not to Halloween?

Our church came up with a great idea for outreach on Halloween evening. We called it Pumpkinpalooza.  The point is to give parents a break from the annual marathon during Boardman’s established trick-or-treat hours (5-7 pm) so that they can enjoy a hot beverage and a baked treat.  This is made possible by the large slide we rented that is one of those cushiony, air-filled forms of entertainment for the kids.  We’ll also have carnival games for prizes, pumpkins that the kids can decorate to take home, face painting and spin art (the kind you see at county fairs) that Ron Green from Evangel will be providing.  And . . . it’s all free!

One of the high school kids who signed up to help even offered to bring Halloween music to play in the background.  Initially I thought it would be a great idea.  Then I remembered that there are those who don’t want to have anything to do with the evil nature of Halloween.  And, here’s where I’m torn.

I used to celebrate Halloween as a child.  In our church, we couldn’t drink, smoke or even buy a raffle ticket because it was a form of gambling.  But, we could dress up as any number of administrators of death and torture along with all the pagans (please note the sarcasm).  That is, until the in thing among churches was to label Halloween as yet another indicator of who the super-holy Christians really were.

I can see the point about not worshiping Satan with the whole history behind the celebration of All Hallows Eve, and I don’t think that viewpoint is entirely invalid.  But, I never once pledged my allegiance to the Evil One or any of his demonic underlings.  We just wanted to have fun.  Besides, wouldn’t it be sweet to turn the tables on Satan – do with Halloween what he’s done to Christmas?  Let’s make it not about what it was originally meant to be. (he-he)

So, for the record, use Pumpkinpalooza how you’d like.  If you want to see it as an alternative to Halloween – sweet.  If it’s just a great way to take a break from a long evening – awesome.  There’s just one thing I do ask . . . have fun with people in the community.  As we discussed in our youth group last evening, let’s not posture ourselves toward others in a way that makes it obvious that we are putting our standards of godly living on those who haven’t even subscribed to them.  I believe that’s called judgementalism (the evangelism-killer).

We are encouraging volunteers to wear a costume, but not a spooky one. Want an idea from my friend Bill Vass?

I can’t wait to take a picture of him at Pumpkinpalooza among all those kids so that people can try to find him in it.

Don’t worry.  We won’t be having the song “Monster Mash” or anything like it because we respect the opinion of those who are sensitive to the evil ambiance of the evening.  Satan is alive and working and we certainly don’t want to contribute to his efforts.

Pastor Randy said something a couple of Sundays ago that struck me as a wise approach to these types of events.  We may not be telling people about Jesus or alleviating a social problem that evening.  But, we are making contact with people who need Jesus.  And, as Randy put it so well, every time we meet with our community in this fashion we are creating another opportunity for them to change their perspectives about us and the awesome God that we serve.

I’d like to say that connecting with people is a great way for them to see that Christians are normal.  But, I’ve already posted Bill’s picture.

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10 thoughts on “Pumpkinpalooza – To Halloween or not to Halloween?

    • The Disney version? About 17 if you cut it off before the saints come waltzing in. But, we wouldn’t want people to associate baldness with evil!

      I did some research based on your comment and found that “Bald” referred to a lack of trees on the hilltop where Satan and his minions hung out – not hair on someone’s head.

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I get so tired of Christians setting themselves up on some kind of holy pedestool and balking at things that aren’t a big deal. Yes, Halloween came from pagan rituals, but, no, most people today are certainly not participating in those kind of rituals when they put on their spongebob pants. Look at tattoos. It’s the same thing. EVERYTHING in life and spirituality is measured by motives. I agree that we ought to be sensitive to those whose consciences do not allow for participation, but I also think we ought to be sensitive to those who are COMING TO OUR DOOR. Give them a bible for goodness sake. Invite them to your small group. Give them a cup of water…or hot chocolate…right on, brother. Paint on that smurfy smile because I’d bet my smurfberries Papa’s dressing up with you and sending HIS Spirit to your Reformation Day party. Semper reformata. =D

    • Warnke fooled lots of people – including me! (I was quite young then, of course). I just with that guy would admit he’s a fake.

      I didn’t realize that “palooza” has secular origins! Kinda’ fits the theme, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what the original intention of the suffix was, but my approach is completely different. Besides, as I’m sure you are aware, even the basis of the day we celebrate Christmas is from a pagan ritual. Nothing makes sense in the world!

      • Oh, it makes sense– from a history of religions, cultural evolution/co-option kind of sense, at least… (and if nothing else, the paganish-timing of Halloween, Christmas, and Easter (actually *that* timing might be based on the Jewish holidays, come to think of it, but the whole rabbit and egg thing is pretty pagan) represents a good connection with God’s earth and sun and the rhythm of the seasons)

        Anyway, I assume palooza’s main cultural currency comes from the “alternative” music fests starting in the 90s. I guess you could see borrowing the suffix as a variation of Gen. Booth’s alleged “why should the devil have all the good tunes?” line… or perhaps I’m overthinking in.

      • I’ve learned that many people have been credited with the phrase attributed to William Booth in our Salvation Army upbringing. I believe it was a Reverend Hill in London that first said some variation of it. I don’t doubt Booth said it, but it wasn’t his original thought. Either way, I agree with the sentiment. Thanks Kirk.

  2. Great post!

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing a posted picture of YOUR costume!

    And, thanks for putting Monster Mash is my head. I love that song! 😉

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