Part of the lure of Halloween is the orgy of sugar lust. So to provide a reasonably fun experience we splurge on goodies, but differently, so there is no association with Halloween. I don't have bowls of sweets for them, no bags to fill up and take home, and each treat is either earned or granted one at a time. I don't like hyping kids up on sugar, for so many reasons, but it is a special time that I want them to have pleasant memories of, and so there are treats, but in moderation.
I like to start the night out with a German Pancake dinner. We serve pancakes; topped with toppings to look like a Luther Rose. I get strawberry syrup, blueberry compote, whipped cream, black licorice (for the cross). I attempt to show them how to make it, but the kids are picky and usually so eager that I've relaxed my ambitions, and put out a demo cake and let them dress it any way they like. There are a few images of things others have done on Pinterest and it's where I got my idea, but it has changed so much over the years that we just end up having lots of pancakes and fruit syrup toppings. I also like to add German sausage with applesauce, and potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream. It wasn't terribly popular, but it did give the kids a new experience with cultural foods and that's enough for me.
I have a special goodie that the kids can get with each game they play. For the Tetzel's Chest Coin Toss Game they get a Papal Indulgence treat. It is a Pirouline with a Hot Tamale melted to the middle so it looks like a scroll and seal.
The kids love these and even have fun now helping me get them ready. They are labor intense so I only give them out if they win the game, or at the end of the evening to offer them the Grace that we've talked about repeatedly during the night. One goal of this party is to teach them that the Grace of God is unmerited in our life, it is offered as a gift, freely and to even the worst of all people.
Another treat I offer is a ziplock baggie of gummy worms on which I write "Diet of Worms." This ties into the story of Luther and I usually pair it with the 5 Solas Dart Game.
As a reward for knowing the Bible verse, I offer them another labor intense treat; Scripture Treats made from Hershey's Nuggets. I got the idea from blogger Kim Knudson at Nomemade.
Most of the kids have a hard time opening these treats because they look so cute. I change the verse every year to fit the theme text I've picked.
To make the Scripture Treats you will need:
Black Card Stock Paper
Hershey Nuggets candies 2 per treat
I like to use address labels because it is easy to change the verse each year and I don't have to apply any glue
Glue or Adhesive Dots
The final treat I give away is a goodie bag, but not like one you would get for Halloween. Inside the goodie bag is an object with either a Bible verse or a message. I vary the objects in the bag each year based on what I can afford and find at the Dollar Tree. Some of the items I've used before:
Glow stick with a Bible verse attached "You are the light of the world" Matthew 5:14. Or "What fellowship has light with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Honey stick "How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey." Psalms 119:103 or "Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good." Romans 12:9.
Glue stick: Stick with Jesus
Bar of soap: Jesus washes away our sins
There are so many cute ideas on the internet that I won't list all of them here. Have fun with it and see what the Holy Spirit inspires and provides for you to share with them. Remember: You're not doing this alone, God is there to fill your head with ideas, the love to deliver it, the patience to do the work and deal with the mess, and the truth to help you be a light in the world that wants to lure our kids into the dark. Enjoy the journey with God guiding you and I hope this has been a spark to ignite you with hope that there is something fun, positive, and memorable that can provide teachable moments. Keep checking back for further posts with ideas of what I usually do each year. Drop a comment below to let me know if you've tried them and how your family responded. God bless!