When you say the word “Halloween” to Christians today, you are likely to get a strong reaction. The holiday’s emphasis on the occult and macabre has turned it into a controversial topic within Christian circles. On the other hand, the tradition of Halloween has become one of the highest revenue-producing events in the United States, representing $21 billion dollars each year with a median of $40 spent per family, and it keeps increasing in overall popularity and prominence within our culture every year.
This year, October 31 is a Sunday, so instead of fearing the holiday, use the popularity and buzz as an opportunity to shine God’s light into the holiday’s darkness! As stated in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
PLAN AN ALTERNATIVE EVENT
- Christians are not the only ones concerned about the dark forces around this once fun-filled holiday. Over the years, the crimes associated with the celebration of Halloween have increased. Today law enforcement officials and medical authorities all recommend a great deal of caution when sending children out to “trick or treat.” Even the local shopping malls are taking advantage of the safety concerns; they often offer a “safe” place for parents to take their kids to trick or treat (and offering shopping bargains, too).
- If the malls can use the holiday to draw shoppers, the church can use the holiday to draw seekers through its doors. Your church can plan a Halloween-alternative event, like a Harvest Festival or carnival, that will draw your neighbors. Offer an inexpensive dinner, some kids’ games with candy prizes, face painting, pony or hay rides, contests like pie-eating, corn-shucking, or pumpkin-carving, and maybe even a bake-off or chili cook-off. Make the event fun for the whole family! Send out postcard invitations or post an outdoor banner the week before the event—make sure everyone knows you will be having a safe party!
- To reach out to teens this year, host a Halloween (or Halloween eve) showing of the teen film To Save A Life for the youth in your community. This powerful movie is a great jumping-off point for group discussions, small groups, or a special youth series. Visit ToSaveALifeMovie.com for more ideas of how to use the film in your Youth Group.
PROMOTE YOUR EVENT
Once you have planned your great event, invite everyone to attend. Promoting your event doesn’t have to be expensive. Take advantage of these free promotions available to you:
- Social networking – If your church doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter presence, now is a good time to start. No matter how you feel about the social websites, it is foolish not to consider their power for reaching your members and their friends with an invitation. Visit the Outreach Facebook page to learn more.
- Free event listings in the local newspaper
- Event boards in local libraries and community centers
Couple these free resources with inexpensive door hangers distributed in the neighborhoods around your church and personal invitations given to your members to pass to their friends, and you have a great one-to-one marketing campaign! The more exposure the better! A well-planned and strategic outreach campaign featuring multiple impressions has the best opportunity for success.
FOLLOW-UP WITH A HELPFUL SERIES
Now that you have a well-promoted event sure to draw all your neighbors, plan to launch a compelling sermon series, small groups, or another special event, and invite all your festival guests to come back! Launch your series the week after your event and continue it to Christmas.
As God’s church, we are called to be salt and light. Use the Halloween holiday as your chance to reach out to the unchurched in your area!