Another look at Halloween
Taking a balanced approach to the holiday
BY: BOB SCHMIG, CAPTAIN
Halloween is a holiday that forces Christians to think about who they are, where they stand and why they’re here. Many want nothing to do with it and ignore it altogether. At Sierra Vista (Ariz.) Corps, we’ve opted for a more balanced approach.
We’ve chosen this holiday—which focuses on gore and death—to share joy and everlasting life. Every year on Oct. 31, the local office of Cox Communications sponsors their “Halloween Fall Festival in the Park.” Since its inception four years ago, they have asked The Salvation Army—with other local churches—to hold their own event called “Harvest in the Park.” This is a scare-free zone based on the hope of Jesus Christ.
Some of our peers might tell us we shouldn’t be out there right next to, or part of, such an event. Some may ask why we even have a separate section. Why aren’t we in the mix of things celebrating in the Halloween area like everyone else? I tell them both that we’re right where we need to be, out where the people are and with a clear message that’s unique to the overall event, a message that distinguishes itself from the world. Some of us dress up and some don’t.
This year we had jumping castles, obstacle courses, games, prizes, gospel tracts, Christian toys and, of course, candy. Joining The Salvation Army, and with over a half a dozen other local churches and ministries, was local Christian radio station, SPARK FM playing the latest in contemporary Christian music.
One of the booths we have every year is a trailer with a large sign that simply says “Are You Going To Heaven?” We have a simple two-question test the people take, which opens the door for the presentation of the gospel. Rather than people avoiding this booth—like one would think—we had a line seeking an answer to the question. Over 100 people visited that booth this year, 39 of which gave their life to Christ as a result.
Overall, there were between 3,000 and 4,000 people come through our “Harvest in the Park” to experience the love of Christ. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Halloween.