On October 31, the halls of First Christian Reformed Church in Guelph, Ontario, were filled with cowboys, clowns, and Caesars, as 160 children—parents and grandparents in tow—gathered for a community costume party. A space theme for the evening included “Martian munchies,” a robotics room, and activities such as launching decorated “rockets” across the gym. Mad Science added to the event with interactive science edu-tainment. Toronto magician IncrediBrent completed the activities.
The event started nine years ago after two friends at Coffee Break began discussing a Christian response to Halloween. “Yue Li and I then recruited another friend with a lot of creative ideas to plan a simple alternative celebration,” said Faye Stoter.
Since then, the event has grown. First CRC now partners with several local churches and a Christian school to help with finances, advertising, and volunteers. A core team of six plans the costume party, starting in the spring.
As October 31 approaches, the GEMS, Cadets, and youth group also get involved. This year, more than 50 volunteers were involved in setting up, leading activities, and cleaning up. “It’s a very full and chaotic church, and every square inch of the church is in use,” said Stoter. Trick-or-treaters are welcome, but they don’t usually get much further in their candy collecting. “Children usually come in the door and don’t want to leave again,” she laughed.
The church, said Stoter, has been “amazingly supportive” of the event and its goals: providing a family-friendly Halloween alternative, allowing people to experience church in a new way, and sharing the gospel. A comment on one feedback card sums it up: “Thank you for all your hard work to put this evening on. It means so much to our family.”