Love it or hate it, Halloween is with us and appears to get bigger and bigger each year. As a mum I don’t like the idea of my kids trick or treating, however I’m also aware that they feel like they are missing out on lots of fun!
Below are a couple of ideas we did both at home and at our kids clubs at church this year during the ‘Halloween Period’. Just as a very wise William Booth once said “Why should the devil have all the good music?”, so I have applied this principle to Halloween!
Using Pumpkins to Explain ‘The Light of the World”
Firstly, pumpkins don’t always need to look scary! I carved a happy face in one pumpkin and then carved some candles around the back of it. I wrote on it in felt-tip pen: “Jesus is the light of the world”. We lit a candle in the pumpkin and used it in our prayer time. Below is a basic outline of what I said, with a little more interaction added on the night! This talk was done with our 8 – 11 Year olds.
“Now I know it’s not Christmas yet, but can anyone tell me why they think Jesus came to earth?
God looked down from heaven and he wasn’t happy with the way things were going. People were not being very nice to each other, they were not following his rules or keeping his commandments, they seemed to be doing their own thing. You could say that things were looking pretty bleak, even ‘dark’. So God decided that he needed to send Jesus, his son, down to earth to teach people the right way to live, how to love one another, how to treat one another and basically to show them a little bit of what God was like. God sent Jesus to be a light for us.
You may be wondering how Jesus can be a ‘light’?! Let me explain! Have you ever been in a dark room and not been able to find what you were looking for. Have you then put the light on and found it much easier? That is how it was with Jesus. When Jesus came down to earth, it was a little bit like someone had switched the light on, because Jesus was able to show them the right way. Where before Jesus came, people were struggling to know the ‘right way to live’, when Jesus came to earth, he made things clearer, so that people could see the way God wanted them to behave and live. In fact, Jesus described himself as “the light of the world”.
Jesus said: I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life”. (John 8:12)
So in other words, Jesus was saying, if you let me be part of your life, if you become my friend, my follower, I can help you to stop doing these wrong things, I can help you to get rid of the bad parts of your life and I can help you to live in a way that pleases God.
Soon we are coming up to Halloween, a time when some of you might be decorating one of these (show pumpkin). Do you know what is in a pumpkin? (Show a pumpkin that has had a hole cut out of the top but has not been carved. Show also the pulp and seeds inside.) Well, there’s a lot of ‘stuff’ we need to take out of the pumpkin before we can carve it and put a candle in it. Once the pumpkin has been prepared though, look how lovely it looks once we light a candle. Look how the light shines through the carvings we have made. (Show a pre-prepared pumpkin with a smiley face carved out and maybe some candle shapes carved out at the back. Dim the lights in the room and place a lighted candle in the pumpkin).
Just as we couldn’t light the pumpkin until we had removed the pulp. So it is hard for Jesus’ light to shine in our lives if we still have ‘wrong’ things in it that we need to get rid of. Can you think of any things in our lives that might be wrong? (eg cheating, lying, bullying, anger. etc…………all those things that don’t make us nice people.) When we become friends with Jesus, he wants to take away all the ‘wrong’ in our lives, so that His ‘light’ can shine in our lives. He wants to replace the ‘wrong’ with good things like love, kindness, peacefulness, sharing, caring, truthfulness, etc.
The children were then given the opportunity to prayerfully consider their own lives and think about whether they needed God’s help with anything. They were invited to come and write their name on the unlit pumpkin if they felt that they wanted more of God’s light in their life. We listened to a great song by Hillsong Kids as they did this, very appropriate to the theme, entitled “Light of the World”.
I finished by reminding the children that next time they see a pumpkin, to remember that Jesus is the light of the world and that he wants his light to shine in you too.”
Pumpkin Carving Competition
We had another go at pumpkin carving, this time as part of a competition at a local park. We carved happy faces and added brightly coloured pipe cleaners for the hair. Take a look for yourself! (See photo below.) My son named him “Mr Funny” and although we didn’t win, it was a fun family activity we did together. It made me think however, that this would be a great activity to do at church next year, especially as pumpkins are so cheap!
A very simple idea and it helped my little boy to feel that he hadn’t missed out on ‘dressing up’ for Halloween. The children who attend our kids club at church were invited to come dressed up as a superhero or anything that was ‘good’. We stressed that this was not a Halloween party and that Halloween costumes were not necessary. This party was aimed at the 4 – 7 Year olds.
A variety of activities were organised including:
- Decorate a superhero biscuit (which was just a gingerbread man that the children had to decorate with coloured icing pens and sprinkles, etc).
- Make a superhero eye mask (simple eye masks cut out of card, decorated with felt tips).
- A little bit of party food.
- Various musical games (eg musical chairs, statues, etc).
- Superhero obstacle course (various obstacles that the children had to climb over, crawl through, balance on, etc all whilst holding a ‘baby doll’ whom they were trying to rescue. They were duly rewarded with a jelly baby!)
The children had great fun dressing up and taking part in the different games. We finished the party by talking to the children about superheroes and pointing out that they are just made up characters. We then told them about Jesus and all the amazing miracles he performed, stressing of course that Jesus is real and not a made up character. The session finished with us teaching the children a song by Hillsong Kids about Jesus being better than a superhero, entitled: “Jesus You’re My Superhero”.