Redeeming Halloween: The Fear-Not Party
- Thursday, October 28, 2004
The Fear-Not Halloween Party is just one creative way to help your elementary-aged children realize that our God is not the God of fear, and that no matter what comes, the "Lord will be [their] confidence." It is a welcome message for those who belong to Christ – or for those who have never met Jesus Christ, making it a great outreach.
What is a party, though, without fun and games? When my family hosts this celebration, it is an outside event with s'mores, a costume parade, Romans-versus-Christian Flashlight Tag, and a "scary" story around the campfire. While the whole party is fun, we have found that it is the story that makes the biggest impression, because it is always the tale of someone who faced the greatest unknown and conquered his fear. It is the story of one of the heroes of the faith from the era of the church's early persecution. All eyes will be on you as you take them back in time to discover how one person conquered real evil and made an amazing difference in God's kingdom.
The Fear-Not Halloween Party is not an alternative to a Halloween event. Instead, it celebrates the very heart of the season by rejoicing in God's goodness and communicating the message that faith drives out fear.
TIPS FOR HOSTING A FEAR-NOT PARTY
- Brainstorm with your kids the children to invite. Because your focus is on outreach, aim for diversity in backgrounds. Your children have many friends and acquaintances at school, on sports teams, and through other extracurricular activities who could be invited. This event works great for any number of kids.
- Design an invitation that includes the words Fear-Not Halloween Party. This communicates to both kids and parents that your party will have a healthy focus.
- The invitation should include a reminder to bring a flashlight and to dress up for the costume contest, noting that non-scary costumes are appropriate.
- There are many things going on in communities during the month of October so be sure that you check the calendar when choosing the date. We like hosting this on a school night since weekends get so busy, and not on Halloween night as many children will participate in trick-or-treating. Our last Fear-Not Party was on a Tuesday night from 6:30-8:00. That gave parents the chance to get home from work, but also ended early enough not to interfere with homework.
- Snacks are always a big hit with kids 7 to 12. On a table outside, set out bowls of popcorn, store-bought cookies, chips and dip, a jug of lemonade, and hot chocolate. Use paper goods to make cleanup easy. Set a trash can nearby.
- If local city regulations allow it, a campfire will really set the mood for the party and the devotional story. The kids will also love making s'mores over the fire. Get the wood stacked and ready before guests arrive. Don't light the fire until there is at least one adult who can attend it at all times during the party. If a fire isn't an option, use a barbeque grill or even an indoor fireplace.
- Set out a tray with everything needed to make the s'mores: unwrapped chocolate squares, graham crackers, large marshmallows, and skewers or straightened clothes hangers.
- Situate hay bales, lawn chairs, or picnic blankets to provide places to sit.
- For safety (and for your own sanity), recruit some parental help. If possible, assign one parent to the snack table, one to the fire, and another to help you organize and carry out the games. Remember, you will be reaching out to these parents with your message as much as to their kids.
- Set out extra flashlights with fresh batteries, and have sticky labels available to put names on them as kids arrive.
- Hang a whistle around your neck to use for the game.
At the Party
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