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New Celebrations is published by CyberMin Resources  Editor and Proprietor, Clyde Griffith

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Alternative Resources for Discovering and Celebrating Emmanuel Throughout the Year!

A More Hallowed Eve

By Catherine Woodiwiss 10-29-2015

Of all the social indignities a child can suffer, not celebrating Halloween is surely near the top.

In addition to the already-baleful list of oddities trailing my grade school self (fresh out of homeschool; in desperate need of braces; asking for more homework because I “liked it”), my panicked silence to the yearly question, “What are you dressing up as for Halloween?” — and my subsequent recusal from class before the festooned Halloween parade and glittering candy bonanza sugar rollercoaster that followed — burned my ears with everlasting shame.

But once safely away from judging peers, I actually never minded too much. I’d help give out candy at our door (“just getting some water from the kitchen” when kids my age came down the street), and tuck away a few treats for myself. The next morning, I’d walk downstairs in the post-Halloween dawn to a row of neatly-folded gold origami baskets, filled with candy and homemade chocolates and a little note from my mom — a verse about light, or resurrection, or great clouds of witnesses.

For years, All Saints' Day was to me a kept secret, a holiday I learned to love and never share. I had to try desperately to get away with casually not-celebrating Halloween. I definitely couldn’t tell anyone in my nondenominational evangelical conservative town that I celebrated saints.

But I did. I wore saint costumes, and sang songs about the “faithful and brave and true.” I proudly paraded down the aisle of my church with my St. Catherine of Siena cape lovingly arranged just so, proud of my brother’s St. Martin of Tours impression (though I was too dignified to tell him. Saints don’t compliment each other’s outfits).

And the truth that my parents taught — and my young self intuited, beneath the social anxiety and denominational ritual — was this: Christians have an additional story to tell. And while I have never found Halloween and All Saints' Day to be mutually exclusive, for Christians, the former without the latter is anemic.

Halloween, great fun as it is, is simply a prelude to the symphony.

Many churchgoing folk know the origins of Halloween — Hallowe’en comes from All Hallow’s Eve, a Christian commemoration that, like Christmas Eve, introduces the feast day following.

- See more at: https://sojo.net/articles/more-hallowed-eve#sthash.USZ7ks9i.dpuf

With All Saints Day and the accompanying Halloween, the United Methodist Church has published a list of alternative celebration suggestions. A look around reveals many different ways folks are attempting to redeem the ubiquitous holiday into a more humanely appropriate celebration.

So, the question is: how are you and/or your faith community commemorating the upcoming holiday?

Are you willing to share what you are doing?

Check out this United Methodist Church resource.

Why I Bless Halloween Costumes at Church October 23, 2015 by David R. Henson

For many, many people, Halloween remains a celebratory time which children and families look forward to each year.

Halloween has become a major cultural even for families each year. An estimated 157 million Americans will celebrate the holiday, spending on $7 billion in the process! Churches often will attempt to insert themselves into this Halloween extravaganza by hosting Fall Festivals or Trunk or Treat events. Both of which sterilize the night and remove some of its lessons about trust, community, and goodwill in my opinion. Plus, most families know these tend to be slightly less fun versions of the real thing — Halloween night.

So one thing my previous parish did to join in the Halloween celebration was to host a service in a pumpkin patch and invite the young (in age and in spirit) to come dressed in or bring their costumes.

My prayer:

    Holy God, whose divine imagination created the world in love and goodness, we give thanks that you delight in the joyfulness of all your children, young and old alike. Bless these Halloween costumes and the imaginations that bring them to life, assuring us that in our own creativity, we share in your divine image, in the name of the Holy Trinity. Amen.

Read more here.

Different Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Halloween's rich history means you can celebrate the day by drawing on elements of its traditions.Some parents dislike the conventional Halloween festivities for a variety of reasons: religious beliefs, an aversion to scary situations, or concerns with its consumerist tendencies.

If you are looking for alternative ways to spend October 31, here are a few places to start:

Click Here for 20 Alternative Activities

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of Halloween, you can turn the holiday into a positive, relationship-building tradition for your family.

Here are some ideas offer alternatives to the customary Halloween activities.

They are simple suggestions to start you thinking and planning.

Add your own creativity and there's no limit to the possibilities for family fun!

Check it out.