9 Christian Halloween Alternatives

Mother and daughter carving pumpkins at home

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Many Christians choose not to observe Halloween. As one of the most popular holidays in our culture—for some, more celebrated than Christmas—it can present a challenge for Christian families, especially when children are involved. We won't discuss here all the "whys" and "why nots," and what the Bible says about Halloween; however, we will offer some fun and practical alternatives to enjoy this year with your family.

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of Halloween, you can turn the holiday into a positive, relationship-building tradition for your family. These ideas offer alternatives to the customary Halloween activities. They are simple suggestions to start you thinking and planning. Add your own creativity and there's no limit to the possibilities for family fun!

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Fall Carnival or Harvest Festival

A boy plays on a tractor at a harvest festival

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Offering a harvest party has been a popular Halloween alternative among Christian churches for years. A Fall Carnival or Harvest Festival adds a slightly new twist to this Christian alternative to the customary Halloween activities. Organizing an event at your church gives children and parents a place to go and benefit from celebrating together with other families. Bible theme costumes offer an endless source of amusing choices.

A new variation to this old idea is to create a carnival atmosphere. With some well-thought-out planning, you can involve various established small groups from within your church to host carnival booths. Each group can creatively choose a theme, such as a "hoola-hoop" contest, or a gourd toss, providing a carnival midway of entertaining games. Craft booths and creative prizes can also be incorporated. You better get started now!

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Youth Pumpkin Patch Fun-Raiser

Boy and girl picking pumpkins in a pumpkin patch
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Instead of the usual youth car wash fundraiser, why not plan something totally different this year to raise money for the youth winter camp or teens mission trip? Consider helping the youth group of your church organize a pumpkin patch and create an exciting Christian alternative to Halloween. The church youth can sell the pumpkins, and the profits can go toward funding their next youth camp. To pump up the interest level, other pumpkin related activities can be incorporated, such as a pumpkin carving contest, a pumpkin cook-off, a carving demonstration, or even a pumpkin bake sale.

Another option could be to organize the pumpkin patch project with your neighbors instead. One family might even sponsor such an event on a small scale in your own neighborhood as an alternative to trick-or-treating.

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Family Pumpkin Carving

Mother and children carving pumpkins

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For a more family-centered Christian alternative to Halloween, you might consider planning a pumpkin carving project. This would be a more personal time of fellowship with the members of your family. Conclude the festivities by partaking in a slice of homemade pumpkin pie! Remember, family traditions don't have to be gigantic, just memorable.

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Fall Decorating

Scarecrow decoration
Janice Chorlton

Another suggestion for a home-based Halloween alternative would be to plan a fall decorating event with your family. The changing season inspires just the right atmosphere for this occasion, and it becomes both meaningful and memorable to include the whole family in the process. For some great suggestions, check out these fall decorating ideas.

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Noah's Ark Party

Cookies for a Noah's Ark Party

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As a Christian alternative to Halloween, consider offering a Noah's Ark party. This can either be a church-wide event or you might consider hosting your own party for neighbors and friends. Read the Genesis account of Noah's Ark and the ideas for planning will be numerous. Food choices could follow a "pet food" or "feed store" theme. For more Noah's Ark party games and entertaining ideas check out how to throw a Noah's Ark party.

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Skate Party

Person Roller Skating in Illuminated Rink

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Consider helping your church organize a skate party at a local skate park or arena for this year's alternative to Halloween. This too can be planned on a smaller scale with a group of families, neighbors, and friends. Children and adults can have the option to dress up in costumes, and other games and activities can be incorporated.

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Evangelism Outreach

A man walks past an advertised haunted house

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Some churches like to take advantage of the Halloween holiday by planning an evangelistic outreach as an alternative. This is the perfect night to plan an outdoor venue in a park. You can rent a space or use a neighborhood park. Music, drama and a message can easily draw a crowd on a night when so many are out and about. Consider involving the youth of your church. Put together a cutting-edge sound and some well-rehearsed dramas, complete with makeup and costumes. Make it an attractive, quality production and the interest level will be high.

Thinking along the same lines of evangelism, some churches even put together a "haunted house" and invite the crowd inside to hear an imaginatively delivered evangelistic message.

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Creative Witnessing

Closeup of a gravestone

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I have a friend who decided years ago to make Halloween a night for creative witnessing. Her particular neighborhood goes "all out" for Halloween. Everyone participates in an elaborate and coordinated decorating project. The display is so popular and well-visited that over 3000 trick-or-treaters pass through their street each year. My friend is also an artist. On Halloween, she and her husband turn their front yard into a graveyard. The gravestones are engraved with Scriptures in calligraphy that provoke visitors to think about mortality and eternity. The messages spark questions, and she has had endless opportunities over the years to share her faith.

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Reformation Day Party

Illustration of the Great Reformers
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One reader recommended having a Reformation Day Party as an alternative to Halloween. He wrote:

We should have Reformation Day parties. Dress up as your favorite Reformation character, play games and maybe some trivia challenges. Perhaps a re-staging of the Diet at Worms or the debates between Martin Luther and his critics. And the best part is that as Christians we're not hijacking a pagan holiday and trying to sanitize it. We're celebrating something that is our own and sets us apart from the secular world. It's a no-brainer to me. –Zec