A lot of churches around here have taken to celebrating “Hallelujah” night in the place of Halloween. Last year, we visited a variety of different locations. One church in town celebrates an annual “Trunk or Treat.” Other churches open up their facilities to carnival attractions for kids. Blow up slides and bounce houses are spread out across their lawns. Beside the row of bounce houses, there are often little activity stands with different varieties of bean bag tossing or hammer throwing or face painting. Some churches boast of small petting zoos with the appropriate number of hungry lambs, baby goats, bunnies and chickens to entice a good number of young participants willing to feed them. Last year, we even went to the mall. The kids got free tokens at Chuckie Cheese for being dressed up in their costumes and some of the other stories were giving out candy as well.
However, this year, Halloween fell on a Wednesday. Jared and Luke are members of a local Awana club that meets on Wednesday nights at a Baptist church in Clute. This particular Awana gathering was designated “Hallelujah Night” and the special event of the night was the costume contest to take place after ‘group and verse time.’ Each club member had a chance to dress up as a person, character or animal from the Bible and would need to explain who they were and why they were important in the Bible. So, we didn’t have a lot of time to try to visit many other church events before our scheduled weekly trip to Awana at 7pm. We did make it to one “Hallelujah fest” at the Baptist church close to the school. We stayed for about thirty minutes before we pried our kids away from the festivities to get to Awana on time.
(Jared, Luke and Grace pose with a couple friends)
Last year, Jared was the only one in our family attending Awana. He had dressed up as Sampson and had won second place in his Cubbies group. This year, I had purchased a little Abraham outfit for Jared and put together a costume for Luke to play the role of “the little boy who shared his lunch with Jesus.” For weeks we practiced going over the story of how Jesus needed to feed 5,000 people and a little boy shared his lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish so that everyone could eat. Then Jesus turned his lunch into a “miracle meal” and there were 12 baskets of left overs when they were done.
I kept Jared busy memorizing six main points about who Abraham was in the Bible. One main point was a Bible verse that he had memorized, which was Romans 4:3 and states, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. (NIV)”
When it came time to stand before the judges, the boys were able to recite all the information they had learned about their Bible characters. Luke got a second place prize for his Cubbies group, which included two free movie tickets and “Awana bucks” to be spent at the Awana store in the near future. Jared got first place in his Sparks group, which I consider even more impressive because it includes kids in kindergarten, first and second grades. He also won free movie tickets and “Awana bucks.” Both boys were proud of their accomplishments and I was proud of them. I can’t think of any other way I would rather spend Halloween night.
Oh, and Happy Reformation Day to those who celebrate this alternative on October 31st. I think Martin Luther would have been proud of my boys, too.