Redeeming Halloween: The Fear-Not Party
- Thursday, October 28, 2004
- As guests arrive, allow the kids to play in the yard, visit the snack table, and greet one another.
- Once most everyone is there, blow your whistle and welcome them to your Fear-Not Halloween Party.
- Explain what you will be doing and emphasize any guidelines or safety rules.
We usually start our party with Flashlight Tag, renamed Romans-versus-Christians Flashlight Tag. We start with this game because it provides a natural way to explain the real history behind Halloween. Here's how the game works:
- Tell the following story: "After Jesus left earth to return to heaven, His followers began to spread the Good News, and the church began. Unfortunately, not everyone wanted the news spread. The Roman government wanted to stop Christians from telling others about Jesus, so they did everything they could to stop them. They hunted Christians down, arrested them, and sometimes even killed them. Christians had to learn to tell others about Christ while avoiding arrest by the Romans. For three hundred years, Rome hunted the Christians. Finally, one Roman emperor became a Christian himself, and the terrible persecution ended in Rome. However, so many faithful men and women had died that the church decided to set aside a special day to remember them. They called that special day 'All Saints Day,' and the night before it they named 'Halloween,' or 'Eve of the Holy Ones.' That is why we have Halloween today. And in honor of its beginnings, we are going to play Romans-versus-Christians Flashlight Tag."
- The rules: In the first game, all of the kids are Christians. Three adults or teen helpers are the Romans. The Christians will get a two-minute head start. They must hide somewhere in the yard to avoid getting caught. Be sure to set clear boundaries for the game. The Romans will have flashlights, and they will search for the Christians until they find all of them. If a Roman sees a Christian and hits him with a beam of light from the flashlight, he is caught and has to turn himself in at the jail, located at the campfire (or other designated area). The game ends after a set time limit (approximately 10 minutes), or when all are caught – whichever comes first. Blow the whistle to indicate when the game ends.
- Be prepared. Kids will want to play this several times, and they will also want to volunteer to be the Romans. Each time a game ends, give a prize to the Christians who remained uncaught when time ran out. The length of your party will determine the number of rounds you can play. Reserve at least 45 minutes for other activities.
- Fun prizes can be purchased at the dollar store. We put several dollar prizes in a box and let the winners choose.
Have the s'mores tray waiting by the fireplace or campfire for any kids who get caught. They can fix themselves a s'more while waiting for the next game to start. Keep the s'more tray available all night for kids who don't get a chance to make one while in jail.
- You should have time for a costume parade to allow kids to show off their costumes. A front porch works well for this. Have everyone stand on the lawn facing the porch. If you have a portable stereo, play some upbeat music. With five kids at a time waiting in the wings, let them parade across the porch in front of the audience displaying the costume "in character." Give prizes for those who do the best impersonation. You may also decide to give prizes for creative costumes from your dollar prize box. The costume parade should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the number of guests.
- After the parade, gather guests at the campfire. Those who have not had a chance to make a s'more should make theirs as everyone else is getting settled. Announce that they all have five minutes to finish making s'mores or getting a snack or drink before the "scary story" begins.
- Blow your whistle to gather everyone at the fire for the "scary story."
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