Alisa Boswell: Freedom New Mexico Tyler Bridges, a member of the 21st Street Church of Christ, practices his magic tricks Friday afternoon in preparation for the church’s SHINE Fall Festival being held today. Pastor Larry Tittle said the event will include themed rooms, such as the magic room, but the church tries to take the Halloween season away from the “spooky” theme.
For many organizations and individuals, the end of October marks a holiday when the monsters and goblins come out to play. But many local church groups may be changing the face of the Halloween season.
The pastor of 21st Street Church of Christ in Clovis, Larry Tittle, said his church, in conjunction with the 3rd and Kilgore Church of Christ in Portales, will be holding the Share His Incredible News Everywhere (SHINE) Fall Festival today from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“It’s going to be a fun experience but we are using this opportunity and this time of year to reach out to people in our community and invite them to come into our church,” Tittle said. “We are trying to show this as a more positive event and not so much as the typical frightening Halloween event.”
Tittle said people are invited to attend in costume but instead of a haunted house with scary creatures, the event will include theme rooms, such as a magic room and a putt-putt golf room.
“The tradition of Halloween some people have connected back to the day of the dead and the worshipping of Satan,” Tittle said. “As a church, we want to, of course, stay away from things of that nature. But we also recognize that for people today, it does not have that connection; it’s just a fun time of the year.”
Tittle said his congregation’s viewpoint is the holiday no longer has a connection to sinister things, but they want to discourage the scary aspects of the holiday which remain.
“If we were doing something at our building, I’m guessing we would do it in a less gory, more family friendly way,” said Pastor David Heflin of the 3rd and Kilgore Church of Christ. “We’re definitely not anti-Halloween and we don’t tell anyone to not participate in it. I guess we would just do it in a more tasteful, Christian friendly way but still encourage people to enjoy it.”
Brad Morgan, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Portales, said his congregation also works towards taking the “spooky” and violence out of the Halloween season.
“What we’re trying to do is look for an alternative to celebrating the holiday,” Morgan said. “We’re trying to go beyond just doing the same thing and calling it something different.”
Morgan said the holiday’s past began through the Druid people worshipping the god of darkness, Samhain.
“Druids believed that on All Hallow’s Eve, the people that had died in the last year would rise up to move on to the next realm and Samhain would rise up and search for souls who had died in the last year to take them to his world of darkness,” Morgan said.
According to Morgan, the Calvary Baptist event, Kingdom Karnival, will include numerous carnival games to make it fun for children but all of the games will focus strictly on biblical scripture.
There will be the Fishers of Men fishing pond and the David and Goliath bean bag toss.
“We’re not basing it on fall at all,” Morgan said. “All of our games and activities focus on scriptures and aspects of the kingdom of God and who we are in God.”