Making It About More Than Candy

Halloween_TrunkorTreat2So I got on a little soapbox yesterday.  Halloween alternatives, whether you call it Trunk or Treat, Harvest Party, or Fall Festival, still offer plenty of opportunities to get ghouls and goblins onto the church property.  And while I don’t think that’s the end-all-be-all of ministry, if we’re gonna do it – let’s do it well.  Here are a few thoughts about making your ‘church thing for Halloween’ more about the people than the candy.

a)  A sermon series on demons or gluttony should probably NOT be the series you promote at Trunk or Treat – begin something on Sunday that helps families where they are…parenting, marriage enrichment, etc.

b)  If you’re gonna hand out a butt-load of candy, give them some gospel, too.  Get your candy together early enough that you can attach scripture to every single piece.  It might be the only Bible some people ever bring into their homes.

c)  Make sure every single children’s Bible study worker has a spotlight – whether it’s a stellar trunk, a specific game booth, or the only folks dressed as clowns.  And then coach them how to enter a conversation with a child who they think might be the right age for their class.  “Well hi there – I love your costume!  Thanks for coming today – are you getting loads of candy?  What grade are you in?  OOOOHHHHHH –  a second grader!!  Let me introduce you to Miss Penny, she has a group of second graders that she hangs out with every Sunday!”  And then….introduce them to Miss Penny!

d)  Remind everyone to give THEIR NAMES to the grown ups in the group.  So whether they strike up conversation with the kids or the parents, end every conversation with “We are so glad you came – I’m Darren – it’s a pleasure to have you join us. ”  If folks return for a visit, they want to feel like they know someone.  (By the way, this requires planning ahead for volunteers and training….it’s always about more than warm bodies policing the bounce house!)

e)  Make sure you have an apparatus for collecting information – whether it’s door prize drawings, wristbands for games and rides, or Identi-Kid.  Have someone pre-planned to do data entry…even beginning that night if possible.  Within two days, send a note or e-mail thanking them for visiting and inviting them to the next ‘thing’ or sermon series…something you have planned specifically to be a re-engagement opportunity for the community.  (If you’re especially ambitious, a hand-written note speaks volumes…make sure it’s legible!)

f)  Adults love candy, too!  And there’s always a haul left over after events like this.  Rather than going on the ‘carbs first’ diet in the office, package up small candy-grams with a note of appreciation and invitation to church and deliver them to the elementary teachers in your area.  Their gonna need their own candy-coma after dealing with the weaponized sugar-high coming from their classroom in the days following Halloween.

Offering community engagement on your church campus is a great idea.  Remember the purpose!  Be intentional!!  And swipe a few packages of Skittles for me….

Author: Darren Sutton

I've been in student ministry nearly 30 years…which generally just confirms how much I still don't know. Some days I'm the pizza-eating, over-responding, teaching-on-the-fly, desperate-for-volunteers, frustrated-with-co-workers youth leader that we all are. And sometimes…I knock it out of the park. I'm everywhere on social media that you are!

One thought on “Making It About More Than Candy”

  1. Great article! We had our Awana Trunk or Treat last night, and I’m not sure that we hit all of those areas. It was a great opportunity for some intergenerational fellowship and ministry, with students and adults serving together with the children and parents, and it was filtered through Awana with what they are doing and following up on each week, but I hope we can incorporate more natural and creative gospel sharing through the event and outreach so it’s more than just costumes and candy!

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