Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why I Decided We Wouldn't Host A Halloween Alternative Event

For the past 20 years, I have served some great churches. As far as I can remember back, my Halloween nights were devoted to Halloween alternative events. Fall Festivals, Trunk or Treats, Hell House, etc. You name it....we've been a part of it. Who doesn't love a good cake walk and bounce house? 

Several years ago, I was challenge by a blog I read by my friend, Brian Dollar. It really made me think about the purpose of Halloween Alternative Events and the effectiveness of them as a church. We spent a lot of money on Hot Dogs, Candy, Inflatables and more. Not to mention all the volunteer hours to pull off an event like that. In fact, one year we did a Hell House and Trunk or Treat on the same night. Every year, we would invite those guests attending our event back to our services. We saw little to no return. It hit me. Most of the people who were coming to our event were making the rounds to every trunk or treat and fall festival in town. They were great events for our church family and I'm not bashing the leadership for making the decision to host such an event. In fact, I always enjoyed the event. Although they were a lot of work, they were tons of fun. Even if no one came and connected to the church because of the event, it was an incredible party for our church family with free candy and games. We were able to spend time connecting with our people in our church and there is nothing wrong with that. 

When we moved to Sulphur Springs, someone told me that the neighborhood we moved into was the hot bed for Trick or Treaters on Halloween night. I admit I was skeptical. I was really skeptical last year when I was sitting on my front porch at 6:00 pm and there were just two groups of trick or treaters that I could see. By 6:30 pm though, our neighborhood was packed. Our street was a traffic jam. We made up over 400 bags of candy with invite cards in them and passed them out. 

This year, I decided to get enough candy for 500 trick or treaters. I got nervous when I ran into a neighbor and she told me last year was "a down year." I grabbed another bag of candy. This year, I was on my front porch from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm with a steady stream of trick or treaters. We passed out candy to over 550. 

While Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treat type events are great in some locations, they are not right for me here. All of this can be summed up to three reasons why I decided not to do a Halloween Alternative Event. 

  1. The Community is already coming to my front door. We didn't need inflatables or free food to attract them. They just showed up. We will redeem the strategic location of my house and use it as an outreach hub on Halloween night. We are already thinking about passing out bottled water to parents next year. 
  2. Our Community is already saturated with Halloween Alternative Events. Several churches are already doing quality events and anything we did would be in competition. Basically, we would get the same people who are hitting all the festivals and probably already coming to my front door.
  3. We are called to be salt and light. On the darkness night in the world, I want to be a light to my neighbors
There are a lot of great events out there. There are people who are called to put them on and they are effective events. Just because another church does it doesn't mean we need to as well. Whatever you choose to do on Halloween, redeem the day! Be salt and light in your community!