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.