Halloween can be a controversial topic in church circles. Some choose not to celebrate the holiday because of its associations with the devil, paganism, and evil. Many churches choose to not take a firm stance on the holiday, but encourage families to do what they think is best for their own children. Other churches host alternative events to discourage traditional Halloween celebrations.

Regardless of your personal views on the holiday, your church can use Halloween as a great outreach opportunity.

Trunk or Treat

This option is fairly popular among churches already. It’s a neutral event that doesn’t require a ton of effort on the part of the church, and families love it because it keeps their kids safe.

The concept is simple: have people from your church volunteer to dress up themselves (and their cars!) and park in your lot with candy. Children from your church and community walk around to each car and get candy just like they would at a house.

If you’d like to feature some aspect of Christianity, consider having the car volunteers make their costume theme biblical, or hand out piece of paper with Bible verses attached to the candy.

Costume Contest

If you want to place a few more restrictions on what kind of costumes can come to your event (no scary/bloody/demonic/revealing costumes, for example), consider hosting a costume contest. You can set specific guidelines as to what kinds of costumes are acceptable. You could even create a contest theme, such as Bible characters or stories.

Create different awards for groups and individuals for the costumes that are the most creative, best homemade, or funniest. You can give larger prizes to the contest winners, but everyone can get a small goodie bag with candy and an invitation to your next youth or children’s event at your church.

Candy Taste Test

Dentists will cringe at this event… but it’s a fun alternative to traditional Halloween events, especially if your church wants to steer away from events with costumes.

Grab a few variety bags of candy. From there, you have a couple options of how to go about the event.

You can create a bracket for the different candies (like a sports tournament) and have kids taste test the candies and vote for their favorite each round. If you do this option, you’ll want to limit it to 8 candies total—otherwise you might risk a sugar rush!

The other option is to do a blind taste test of candies. Have children close their eyes, take a bite of pre-cut candy, and write down their guess on paper. Whoever gets the most right wins! (Be sure to check for any allergies before you hand out the candy.)

Fall Festival

A fall-themed event is a great way to draw people to your church without focusing on the holiday of Halloween itself, especially if it goes against your personal beliefs. You can still have a great family-focused day with other traditional fall activities!

If you have a large lawn or grassy area, you can have different stations for fall activities like apple bobbing, pumpkin painting, hayrides, and eating caramel apples.

Does your church celebrate Halloween? What kind of events do you host?