The church and Halloween have always enjoyed a somewhat strained relationship. Is Halloween just fun and candy or is it something worse spiritually? Whatever you believe about that you might consider hosting a Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat event as a way to bless your community this Halloween.
Here is basically how it works. The idea is that the children and youth from the church with parental supervision will be collecting canned goods and non-perishable items for the community food pantry or food bank.
- Before the event, organizers must decide what neighborhoods they will collect from.
- Flyers or door hangers need to be printed and distributed before the Trick or Treating to publicize that persons will be coming around to “trick or treat so others can eat.” You might also publicize this in the community newspaper in the announcements or see if a reporter will do a write up before the event. By the way, you will want to hold your event before Halloween night so as not to confuse persons. A week before Halloween is good.
- Recruit volunteer parents and adults to be drivers for the children and youth to go to the target neighborhoods. Note: maintain your church’s child protective and driving policies here. Plan and make assignments for neighborhoods.
- Have children, youth and parents gather at the church or other designated meeting spot before the event. Children should be dressed in their costumes. Give them instructions, encourage them and pray over them.
- Send them out. When they return, have a drop off point where the items are collected and packaged for delivery to the food pantry.
- Hold a Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat Celebration with a harvest theme. Announce the results of your collection (number of pounds collected, number of boxes packed).
- Tell the story of Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat, thank volunteers, deliver food and evaluate what you can do better for next year. Once you do it a number of years then persons in the community will begin to anticipate your arrival.
I was able to be part of a few of these events at a church I served and it went real well. Not only will it bless the community but for a holiday that rivals Christmas in terms of gluttony and over-indulgence it sends the powerful message to kids (and adults) that it is not all about us.
Here is a site with more info on Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat with some creative ideas and some templates for door hangers, etc.
Have you witnessed other creative ways churches have leveraged Halloween to bless the community?