Churches throughout the country are being urged to throw parties to mark Halloween.
Scripture Union, a Christian charity, is challenging churches throughout the UK to respond to, rather than ignore Halloween and use it as an opportunity to engage with children in their local communities.
For the past four years, Scripture Union has produced a free 'Light Party Pack' for churches to inspire and equip them to host a Light Party 'to shine the light of Jesus and share God's love at Halloween'.
In 2016, almost 8,000 packs were distributed and it is thought more than 20,000 children across the country attended a Light Party – of those, 63 per cent of these children did not regularly attend church.
Tim Hastie-Smith, national director for Scripture Union England and Wales, said: 'We appreciate that many Christians and churches are not sure how to respond to Halloween and we also understand the hard work that goes into planning events – so we've designed the Light Party Pack to address both of these issues and support the mission of the church. We have been hugely encouraged by the response from churches but even more so by the engagement with those kids not regularly attending church.'
Each year the pack has evolved and this year's pack encourages churches to focus on using Light Parties to reach out to children and young people in their communities with articles by various children and youth work experts with advice and tips on how to do this. The pack also includes lots of ideas for games, crafts, activities and bible teaching.
Chris Walton's church, the Church of the Ascension in Birmingham, hosted a Light Party last year.
He said: 'We held our Light Party on a Sunday afternoon, and about 100 people attended – 85 to 90 of them were people who don't normally come to church. The response was so positive that we then set up a brand new monthly Messy Church service and invited them all to come along and find out more. Eight months on, up to forty adults and children who came to the Light Party regularly attend that new service, and are growing in their knowledge of God and Jesus and what Christianity is all about.'
The free Light Party pack can be ordered at www.lightparty.org.uk or by calling 01908 856000.