Halloween can be a scary night for parents, and that's not just because of horror movies and scary costumes. Parties outside the church can have all sorts of mischief. Ministry Halloween parties not only help kids avoid getting into trouble, but it also helps to keep them focused on worship and what is important. It can also be a time to shake things up in your youth group and have fun. Having a harvest or Halloween party at your church? Here are some ideas to make it a blast!
Don't forget – any church event is a great opportunity for fundraising. Leave envelopes by the entrance or at a welcome table at your Halloween party so those who wish to donate cash can do so easily. Put donation links in clear spots on your website so those reading about the party online can also donate if the mood strikes.
Idea #1: Have a Cute Costume Contest
While some churchgoers enjoy playing dress up as witches, ghouls, and goblins, others like to keep costumes focused on wholesome themes that don't distract. This serves two purposes. First, it can help to keep things on the theme of worship. Second, it avoids scary costumes that would be inappropriate for younger youth group members. When you add a theme to your costume contest, it gives youth guidance so they don't stray off the track of appropriate behavior and dress. Even if you do pick out a theme, make sure to set forth rules for modesty and behavior so everyone is on the same page. Here are some ideas for themes!
Have kids dress in the colors of their favorite sports team, or wear the uniform of their favorite sports-star! Some families struggle with deciding whether to go to church events or support kids' sports activities, but this costume idea is one way to bring everyone's interests together.
What better way to serve the lord than by dressing up as the characters everyone knows and loves from the Bible? Many kids already do it by participating in their church's Christmas pageant or play, so families may already have costumes at the ready.
This is a fun one. Either tell kids to pick an outfit from their favorite decade or pick the decade yourself and have that be the theme of the party. 20s flappers, 80s punks, and 70s hippies are all great options!
Heroes are a great idea for costumes. They help people and are great role models for kids. Have them dress up as their favorite superhero to appropriately celebrate Halloween.
While it's not a costume per se, pajamas are fun. They are comfy and great for movie parties and other harvest celebrations. Pajamas often have fun patterns and are nice and cozy for fall weather.
Mismatched Clashing Outfits
Usually, we try to make our clothes match. But it can be fun to avoid convention and create a whole costume party based on clashing colors, mixing patterns and even wearing two different shoes!
Having kids dress up as their favorite animals leads to colorful costumes and plenty of opportunities for pretend play that celebrates all of god's creatures. Animals can be more than just the usual dogs and cats. Encourage kids to get creative. Butterflies, zebras and hippos are great ideas too!
Idea #2: Make an Appropriate Halloween Playlist
There are a lot of fun Halloween songs but many of them wouldn't be appropriate for a church event. Do you really want your church youth group listening to songs commonly played around October 31st like “Highway to Hell”? Make a playlist for your party of songs you know kids and their parents will appreciate.
The Monster Mash is a cute song about what happens when Dr. Frankenstein and all his creepy pals boogie. The song is toe tapping and is just about having a good time dancing to the music. Some Christians don't like songs that have any mention of ghosts or goblins at all, but for those that do, this one is just about as wholesome as they come.
Pinkfong is the kid's band that came up with the hit classic Baby Shark. They have a jazzy Halloween version that includes a video with the sharks dressed up in their favorite costumes. It is a little on the spooky side with witch and ghost costumes in the online video, but kids love it.
If you don't want to focus at all on the spookier aspects of Halloween, make a playlist of songs that celebrate all the bounty that comes with harvest season. Even if you are not a farmer you can still show gratitude for the food that we eat and the fact that so much of it is harvested at this time of year. This is a popular topic for Christian bands and worship music groups so finding a great selection is easy.
The fall is a beautiful time of year. The leaves change color and fall to the ground. The weather becomes a bit more crisp in many areas. Show thanks for god's beautiful world by playing songs that are all about the season.
Idea #3: Use Appropriate Decorations
Halloween decor doesn't have to be scary or make those who are uncomfortable with the idea of Halloween feel bad. If you want to keep things on the spookier side, focus on things that exist in the real world like cobwebs, spiders and skeletons. If you want to avoid any scary things altogether, fall leaves, pumpkins and signs of the harvest make lovely decorations! The best part about the latter is that you can leave them up for the Thanksgiving season.
Idea #4: Scary Bible Study
All Christians know there are some intense and scary moments in the Bible. Focusing on these Biblical stories can bring the spirit of the season, but keep things focused on study and worship. Need some inspiration? Here are some sections to study.
The leviathan is a scary creature from the ocean. Just the description alone may send shivers up your spine! However, it's more than just a story. There is a great opportunity for a discussion of pride, and why putting god first is important.
In this verse, When Jesus is killed, the dead back to life to walk the streets again. However, it is only the bodies of holy people (saints) that come back. Some say this miracle proved that Jesus is the son of god. Talk with your youth group about this and other miracles that prove the point.
The old testament is full of examples of god showing his almighty power. Sometimes it's a bit scary. The flood was surely terrifying for Noah and his family. The moment of crossing the sea that Moses split open was also pretty scary. Both of these stories involved trusting god through challenging times, which is a great lesson at any time of year.
Idea #5: Everyone Loves Candy
Candy is something that everyone can enjoy whether or not they want to celebrate Halloween. Candy is appropriate for any time of year. Make sure to get different options for dietary restrictions. Keep in mind many youth groups avoid nuts due to allergies. Don't want to overload everyone on sugar? Bring healthy homemade options and fruit instead.
Idea #6: Hashtags Are Everything
Want to keep older teens engaged? You've got to get on social media. Create a hashtag that they can use on Instagram and Twitter to share photos of the party. You can even have a hashtag contest. Have teens post their favorite photos of the event using the hashtag and the person who posts what the youth group leaders deem the best photo gets a small prize. Another contest idea is to offer a prize for the photos that get the most likes or comments, or to simply offer a special treat to anyone who uses the hashtag. These types of social media campaigns are also useful for getting your church's message out to a wide audience online.
Idea #7: Invite Members of the Community
Halloween is traditionally a time when people go out and meet their neighbors through trick or treating. Having an event at your church doesn't have to be any different. Make your community even stronger by opening the invitation to your general community. It's a great way to grow your church's membership and expose the community to what your organization is all about.
Idea #8: Movie Time
Show a movie during your party that everyone can enjoy. Movies are a great way to fill a large amount of time and make the party last long into the night so kids stay at the party and out of trouble elsewhere. Here are some ideas for seasonal movies to delight the whole crew.
For Younger Kids
This wholesome film stars Charlie Brown and all his friends. They spend the night waiting for the legendary “Great Pumpkin” whose existence is much debated. This movie can bring up helpful conversations for youth groups about doubting beliefs and how to maintain faith through those doubts.
This is a sweet movie featuring dopey farmer Wallace and his super smart dog Gromit. The pair must work together through silly antics to find a giant rabbit who is eating all their delicious crops. It's simply a fun movie that gets kids and parents giggling.
While the cute monsters in this film might seem scary at first, kids soon see that Mike & Sulley are nothing to fear. The movie is appropriate for all ages and has sweet messaging about how to be a good person and a good friend.
This movie by M. Night Shyamalan stars Mel Gibson as a priest who has lost his faith due to difficult life events. When strange things start happening in his cornfields, he begins to wonder if there is something else out there. The movie is about aliens, but it brings up important questions about faith and retaining faith through difficult events. It is a great discussion starter for teens.
This is a thrilling movie based on a Christian novel by Ted Dekker. It focuses on the story of a Christian seminary student and a police psychologist working together to stop a serial killer. The movie deals with questions of sin, and how to deal with something sinful one did in the past.
While this isn't exactly a movie about anything related to Christianity specifically, it tops many Christian movie lists. Why? It shows a family working together through adversity and deals with issues of sacrifice for the greater good. This movie is another great conversation starter for teens.
These are just some of the ideas to make your youth group party Halloween party great. There are so many ways to engage teens and kids and keep them interested in Christianity on Halloween instead of out at friends houses getting into trouble. Have you had a successful Halloween party at your youth group? Tell us about it in the comments below!