Culcheth Friday Night Youth Club Alternative Halloween Party
One of the joys of helping at Youth club for a long time has been to see our regular members mature from year to year.
We were delighted therefore when one of our girls, now 16 but with us from the age of 11, asked if she could be a young helper. A former self confessed 'pain' at times, she convinced us of her increased sense of responsibility and commitment and has taken this informal leadership role to heart.
We now really value her attempts to enthuse and guide her peers so, when she came to us excitedly asking if we could have a Halloween party, we were keen to redirect this enthusiasm in a positive way which would not compromise our own beliefs. She accepted our explanation that as a church we did not believe in, or condone, the scary connotations of Halloween and we all discussed alternative options.
We decided to take up the suggestion of the Christian charity 'World Vision'.
They say, 'Do something fun and inspiring this Halloween. Instead of a scary face carve a heart on your pumpkin and make it a symbol of hope for children in fear.'
This seemed particularly relevant in the context of our Church's recent concerns and support for the needs of people around the World, in areas such as Sierra Leone, Uganda, Syria and Haiti.
So, instead of 'Trick or treat' we had a ' Treat evening' last Friday, in our meeting nearest to 'Hallows Eve'.
The £1 entrance fee was donated to the Haiti Hurricane Appeal, for which our Church had been collecting the previous week. There were free hot dogs, with delicious mars bar krispie cakes and rocky road at a nominal charge.
As well as the usual sports and games, X Box and music, we had a table of pumpkin carvers, a table of bunting assemblers and some brave souls even had a go at apple bobbing!
Pictures of the devastating consequences of Hurricane Matthew prompted discussion and empathy for those whose lives had been so drastically affected by tragedy, with increased awareness of their feelings of loss and despair, as well as renewed appreciation for our own homes and situations. In considering the plight of others as they carved their pumpkins, the young people reflected on symbols of hope.
Their creativity included stars, wishing for better things, flowers to cheer people up and care for others coming from the hearts they formed. The cross was recognised as a symbol too, for taking away bad things we've done.
By the end of a fruitful evening a new pumpkin carving skill had been mastered and some people took seeds home to roast. We may not have aspired to making pumpkin pie but had plenty of food for thought and raised £28 for the Hurricane Appeal, which has since increased to £36!
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