Letting the darkness point us to the light – why I’m running a Halloween trail this year

We live in an area that loves Halloween. Each year hundreds of kids get dressed up and walk around the street trick or treating. Families decorate their gardens and really embrace this event. Until this year we’ve done the complete opposite. We’ve closed our curtains, told our girls we don’t get involved and had an early night.

We live in an area that loves Halloween. Until this year we’ve done the complete opposite. We’ve closed our curtains, told our girls we don’t get involved and had an early night.

A couple of things have changed my mind, firstly my kids are getting older and asking more questions about why we don’t get involved. Secondly I’ve realised afresh that there is no need to be afraid, there is still light and hope. I am trying to, in the words of Charlie Mackesey “imagine how we’d be if we weren’t afraid”.

“imagine how we’d be if we weren’t afraid” Charlie Mackesey

I’d been reading an excellent book earlier in the summer by Rachel Denhollander who comments on the theme of light and darkness. Rachel says “the darkness is there, and we cannot ignore it. But we can let it point us to the light.” COVID19 has brought up more of humanity’s darkness and put it at the forefront of our every day lives. This, of all times, is a time to be like porch lights in our communities, offering welcome, hospitality, light and hope. We can do this because we know there is someone who can make our dark world light and a little less scary.

This, of all times, is a time of be like porch lights in our communities and offer hospitality, light and hope.

I’m a mum of two young kids, we love our school, our friends and our community. I invited all the year 1 parents to help me set up activities for our kids at this time, two responded, so we met for coffee and started planning. One of them said to me, Nay we need strong community leadership at this time, you need to take a lead. So together we set up the Bitterne Park Community facebook page. Fully aware that there is little for families, we decided to run COVID safe trails and activities. I was secretly hoping they would run the Halloween trail, but in the end it came back to me!

Going from never having celebrated Halloween to fully organising a trail has been quite a surprise. We’ve now got a team of 17 parents from the school and together we’ve planned and created the trail. My friend Rachael designed the map and we’ve all decorated our gardens. Each garden has a hidden clue that spells out a secret phrase.

For those that can’t get out we’re running a pumpkin carving and colouring competition with prizes from local businesses. Each person uploads a photo of their artwork and then judging will happen on Sunday by two local artists. Our page so far has 200 people following and a reach of 8000, we’re really excited to see who will submit photos and take part.

So what did we decide to do as a family? Well, inspired by Glen Scriveners excellent video Halloween Trick or Treat? We’ve gone for a house of light and a house of humour. Glen says “While Halloween can often be a time associated with ghosts, devils and darkness, this is a time to share the good news that Jesus is the light of the world!” In the video he continues to say…

“The future is futile for forces of evil, the bible begins with this fore resolved fight, a moment of darkness then let there be light, first grief in the gloom, then joy from the east, first valley of shadow, then mountain top feast, first wait for Messiah, then long promised dawn, first desolate Friday and then Easter morn, the armies of darkness whilst doing their worst can never extinguish this dazzling sun burst. So ridicule rogues if you must play a role, the triumph is not with the forces of night, it dawned with the ones that said I am the Light”

So we’re going for humour because we know the one who beat death, evil and suffering and light because we know the one who says ” I am the Light”. Each day this week we’re creating #funnypumpkins. We managed to find some whopper pumpkins, our first theme is swimming pumpkins. We’ve also covered the front of our house in fairy lights. To go alongside this we wanted to clearly communicate why we were the House of Light on the trail. So I’ve written a very simple, invitational flyer with a story of Alfie the little boy who was scared of everything (see below). We’re giving out bags with a sweet, sticker and light stick and then a link to this page House of Light, on the page families can find out more.

If you read this in time and haven’t already made plans, would you like to join me? You don’t need to run a trail, you could simply cover your house in fairy lights, or give out little bags with this flyer in. If you’d like any of the Alfie flyers or stickers, then please get in touch and I can send you some in the post or email you the pdf.

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Published by Nay Dawson

Nay works with IFES Europe as their Regional Training Co-ordinator, training staff and students across Europe. She works on the European Regional leadership team for the charity. She was the Revive Extra Plenary Director for one of largest Student Conferences in Europe. Nay is the founder of Passion for Evangelism. PfE is a network of creative, public female speakers. Helping hundereds of women grow in confidence in public communication. Nay set up an initiative called Community in a crisis. CIAC has been helping churches and charities across Europe get online during the pandemic.

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