On Oct. 31 each year, New Haven (Overland Park, Kansas) and Piedmont Park (Lincoln, Nebraska) churches host Halloween alternative events in their communities: Light Up the Dark and Safe Haven. Each was started with the same purpose in mind—to provide a safe environment for trick-or-treaters while sharing the love of Jesus with them.

“We want to go out and meet people where they are and share the gospel with them,” says Michael Halfhill, lead pastor at Piedmont Park. “We have awesome light from Jesus and we are called to shine that light in the world. We turn a day that has become about goblins and ghosts into a day where we can learn about Jesus and salvation!”

New Haven youth pastor Kyle Smith adds, “New Haven has a heart for our community and we want our neighbors to know we love them and want to know them. This is a great way for people to get to know us and see our heart for them.”

Each event is member driven and has multiple activities for children and their parents: food, bounce houses, arts and crafts, a mechanical bull and live music.

Most importantly, both provide Bible-themed rooms and biblical plays as an opportunity for children to learn about the Bible. Each person is given a bag for candy that includes information about the church and Adventist literature like Steps to Christ. At the end of the evening volunteers offer to pray with families before they head home.

Registration cards provide opportunities to reach out to guests in the future. They also invite participants to indicate if they would be interested in Bible studies, visits or any other services and future events

Collectively, Light Up the Dark and Safe Haven had  nearly 1,500 guests attend this last year and gave members a chance to be involved and be a part of a ministry that touches lives in their communities.

Photo: Courtesy of Kansas-Nebraska Conference