It’s that time of year again when some church leaders try to figure out what to do about Halloween. Do we do a “Harvest Fest”? Do we let kids dress up? Do we not care about Halloween? Do we even say the word ‘Halloween’? Wherever you land on the spectrum—just own and run with it.
Personally, I’ve always sought to leverage Halloween. I’ve been in youth and children’s ministry for 17 years and it’s actually one of our family’s favorite “holidays”. We love dressing up, going trick-or-treating around the neighborhood enjoying time with friends who are not Christians and meeting new people who live near us. We love any opportunity to shine the light of Christ. It helps us grow as a family.
Halloween has also helped us grow as a church. The weekend of or prior to Halloween has always been our church’s largest weekend for children’s attendance (besides Easter and Christmas). The funny thing is we don’t do much except to leverage what families are already doing. We call the weekend “Candypalooza”. It’s a non-threatening name that everyone understands because of Halloween. We ask the kids to come to church dressed up as their favorite (fill in the blank theme). We usually choose a dress up theme that is easy, everyone can do and non-scary. At the end of service, we hand every child a bag packed with candy (we even have bags for kids who cannot have sugar).
We do this “event” during our normal weekend services so it doesn’t take another night. We don’t change our normal children’s programming except maybe a special game or competition. We promote it for a few weekends leading up to Candypalooza Weekend. And, it funnels more children and families directly to our church to experience our church community. We’ve experienced anywhere between a 15%-25% jump on attendance this weekend.
I encourage you to try something new this Halloween. Grow in your neighborhood and church communities!