Churches struggle mightily in deciding what to do about Hallowe’en, which is too culturally embedded to ignore and too demonically inspired to endorse.
Some churches go ahead and embrace the day, reminding parishioners that it started out as the Christian holiday of All Hallow’s Eve, the night before All Saints Day.
Others transform the annual fascination with blood and gore into an evangelistic opportunity to scare people into heaven, celebrating “Hellowe’en” with elaborate “Judgment houses” depicting the imagined horrors of eternal perdition.
Yet others look for family-friendlier alternatives, opting for “Trunk or Treat” outings in the church parking lot (no scary costumes, please), or indoor “Fall Festivals” that attempt to drown out the ghouls with pumpkin-and-colorful-leaves centerpieces and down home cooking.
A few may see Hallowe’en as an easy way to get church members to visit their pagan neighbors to deliver packets of goodies accompanied by literature promoting the church’s message — sort of a “Tracts and Treats” approach.
The variety of offerings gives rise to an assortment of church signs, some of which are yawners (Happy Holyween!), and some of which leave drivers scratching their heads: “Come to our HallowHim Festival!”
The prize for this year, in my book, goes to a church on the northern edge of Durham that found a way to incorporate the “spirit” aspect of Hallowe’en with what might be a fun evening — the sign invited passersby to join members for a “Holy Ghost Weenie Roast.”
Want to nominate your favorite Hallowe’en-inspired church sign? Post a comment, so we can all enjoy … and if you’re tired of candy, ride over to Durham and order up a Halloweenie.