Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fear Not Party 08

Last night was our 2nd annual Fear Not Party! Well, not exactly annual, since our 1st one was two years ago, and we skipped last year. Since Halloween fell on a Wednesday night in 2007, most people we know had church activities ( you understand this if you are Baptist or live in the South). But my youngest son begged me to plan another party this year, because the first one was SO much fun! So it WILL be an annual event from this point forward!
What is a Fear Not Party? It is an idea I got from an article on, about a book called Redeeming Halloween.
I have always been uncomfortable with the scary, spooky, gruesome, shocking and demonic elements of Halloween. So for years we have attended fall festivals at various churches, so the kids could dress in costumes, play games, and gather candy. But it never quite felt right, for a few reasons. #1 Most of the time, we knew few if any of the other families in attendance - rather a solitary time in a crowd of people. #2 I dislike crowds of people. #3 It was worrisome to try to keep track of small children while weaving through crowds of people. See #2. and #4
I never felt that the kids really saw the difference between this kind of Halloween celebration and any other kind, even though we talked about it at home. Although they are held at churches, most fall festivals we attended were not God-focused.

So we invited some friends to come to our house from 6:30 - 8:30 on Halloween. The weather was perfect - a clear night, cool and crisp. The children were invited to wear non-scary costumes, and the suggestion was to come as a hero.

We decorated the doorways and deck with white lights and set up a couple of spotlights, so the driveway and part of the yard were well lit. That is where we set up games and tables for carved pumpkins. I also had a table with a pile of plain white gift bags with handles and a box of markers, and the kids decorated and labeled a bag to use for holding their candy.

Everyone brought a bag of candy, and we divided that among the game stations, which were manned by the older kids and a couple of parents.

Our games included the following very elaborate and professionally created {cough} games

  • Bowl over your Fears ( 10 water bottles, 1/4 filled with water and covered with construction paper on which we'd written some common fears, like "Spiders", "Sickness", "the Dark", "War"; a soccer ball to knock the bottles over with)
  • Clobber the Giants in your life( a scarecrow-type figure with a bucket head; the kids try to knock off the head with a tennis ball :-)

  • Widows Mite : Be a cheerful Giver! ( toss pennies into dishes

  • Armor of God Relay ( 2 teams, 1st person in line puts on suit of armor - think aluminum foil and cardboard - and runs around a cone and back; then takes off armor and passes to the next person in line )

  • Come Out Lazarus ( i.e. Toilet Paper Relay; partners - one wraps the other in toilet paper from ankles to neck, and then that person must hop across yard and back

  • Jesus Fed 5000 - and will provide for you too! ( eat donuts off string, no hands allowed )

  • Extinguish the Fiery Darts of the Devil (use squirt gun to put out candle flame)

After playing games for a while, everyone went in the house to get some food - caramel apples, brownies, popcorn, sugar cookies, chips & dip, little bbq hot dogs, pumpkin bars, - and drink - hot chocolate, lemonade, apple cider...

Then it was out backyard, where Mark had a campfire going. Our friend, Mr. Rob, gave a great devotion about the origin of Halloween, and also told the parable of the pumpkin - how our lives are filled with all kinds of yucky stuff called sin - greed, selfishness, disrespect, dishonesty, impatience, anger - just like the pumpkin is filled with slimy guts ( accompanied by hands-on demonstration!). When we accept Christ as our Saviour, God removes all that slimy stuff from inside of us, and replaces it with the Light of the World, Christ in us, his Holy Spirit! Now that Light can shine through us, like a candle in a carved pumpkin,
bringing hope and comfort and love to a dark world.
Finally, the older kids played flashlight tag while the adults helped clean things up. Another great party!

At our first Fear Not Party, we had 12 kids and their parents. This year we had 28 kids. I wish we could have invited ALL our friends! But my little house and yard can only hold so many people! Maybe more of you can plan Fear Not Parties next year, and spread the FUN - and the message!
Joshua 1: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.


steve said...

Beth, What a great idea!
Terrific Blog, Very impressed.

Creech Family said...

What a great time we had! Hope you don't mind but I copied a couple of your pics over to my blog, too :) (and see the "hint, hint" about next year!) Thanks again for a great time and some new friends as well as old ones!