I’ve done my share of Halloween outreach/alternatives. I’ve done ’em big too, and they can be a lot of fun. But they can also be a lot of work. I haven’t done one in four years and I haven’t really been looking to do another one anytime soon either. However, I had an idea while sitting in a staff meeting this week and I’m totally interested in fleshing this idea out.
When i was in college, we did an outreach event every year on Halloween. About 2,000 students participated. All the students came together to the chapel for some worship and then instructions. Students were organized by the floor they lived on. We would then be given a map of 5-7 streets to go visit. Just like the trick or treaters, we’d knock on doors and collect canned food for a local food bank. We’d collect food for about two hours and then come back to the school and celebrated. We’d raise TONS of food. This worked out well since it we were college students and didn’t do the trick or treating thing anymore.
So, my idea was inspired by this. In the past I’ve done Halloween alternatives to get families to come to a great event instead of trick or treating. The outreach was focused on getting people to come to our church, who might come again on a Sunday. In actuality, we would have a lot of people come to our church as a result and many came to faith. But in my idea, it’s not about that kind of outreach.
We would challenge our families to take their kids trick or treating on Halloween, but not for candy. They’d trick or treat for canned food for families in need (especially with thanksgiving right around the corner). They’d have cards to pass out explaining what it was for and stuff. After trick or treating for food for an hour or so, we’d invite everyone to come back to the campus to celebrate. We’d collect the canned food but also have all the inflatables, food and tons of candy for the kids. This way the kids still get to trick or treat, they still get candy, families would get to participate on an outreach opportunity together and in the end, they get to celebrate with food, music and fun. To be honest, that’s the kind of Halloween party I would be interested in throwing.
Your thougths, suggestions or concerns?
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I LOVE the idea! Our church has been doing a food drive for the month of October for our county’s food bank, but unfortunately have had a really low turnout for it. On Tuesday of this week my husband thought of the idea to do a trick-or-eat doing just what you’re suggesting–collect food while trick-or-treating. We were disapointed to have thought of it too late to pull anything together for this year, but were holding onto it for next year. What you’ve posted is exactly the final inspiration we were needing. I think it’s a great idea… a way to get the whole church involved as well because children, youth and adults could all participate. We also really liked your idea of leaving information at the houses you visit. Good thinking!
i like it b/c it’s not dependent on anyone to pull off an event. a little marketing and you’ve got a great event executed throughout your community without significant cost. the ROI is immeasurable, as well. not only does the family collecting have the opportunity to talk with their kids about those less fortunate, but the families giving the canned goods see a church ‘in action’. people want to be a part of a church that is actively doing something to meet people’s needs.