Sunday school teachers often keep costume boxes in the classroom. They understand better than anybody that kids need to dress up as people who are bigger than they are, whom they admire. And equally understandably, some teachers are leery of Halloween celebrations in church: What if they allow costumes, and kids show up as ghosts, witches and vampires, concepts so contrary to Christian teachings that it makes us shudder?
Between sugary candy and degrading costumes, some teachers feel it’s better to fuel as little fire as possible. Others don’t want children to think of church as “that place where we don’t get candy and don’t talk about dress ups,” and they want to stay as relevant as possible. Both views have their value, but if you’ve decided to make Halloween part of Sunday school, our notes may help you.
Helping Teach about Halloween & Ideas for Classroom Projects
Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” What better opportunity to overcome evil than when people are busy celebrating darkness?
One great lesson could be that while students can’t help overcome darkness by totally ignoring it, they don’t want to celebrate darkness. They stand as lights in the darkness.
Here are some scriptures you can include to help make these points during your class projects:
– 2 Timothy 1:7 — For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
– Isaiah 9:2 — The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
– Romans 12:21 — Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Some teachers like to encourage the types of costumes that God would find appropriate according to the scriptures. You can encourage your students to wear things that teach a lesson, such as Bible characters, famous literary characters, famous historical characters, or even famous movie stars that are anti-scary.
It’s great when children understand that God doesn’t want us to be terrified by Him or of each other. Therefore the idea of wearing costumes that terrify give us a sense of power that is contrary to the way God uses His power over us. His power is inviting. Students can learn that it’s much better to wear costumes that make people want to embrace us. Some scriptures that might apply to costuming are:
- Leviticus 19:28 — You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 — Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
- Proverbs 31:30 — Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears [loves] the Lord is to be praised.
There’s always the good chance a Sunday school teacher can help influence students in costume choices – if they get to it soon enough and Mom and Dad haven’t been to the costume store yet. A great start is to ask students some reflective questions:
- Whom to you admire? Whom would you like to be like when you’re an adult?
- What was your favorite book ever and who was in it?
- How do you want people to respond to you and your costume? How will God feel about that response?
- If you’re remembering that God is always watching, would you feel good in your costume?
Our lesson, craft, service project, song and snack all seek to relate these messages.
And here are some idea starters if they don’t fit your class:
– Games involving flashlights and being the light in the darkness;
– Crafts using smile pumpkins and smile faces on everything rather than scary faces;
– Encouraging discussions about great literary characters, bible characters, and dressing like people you admire;
– Stories to triumph over fear of the dark as opposed to glorying in it;
– Songs and games to remind that death is a glorious leap to our Heavenly Father; it’s not something to scare people with.
– Class field trips to thrift stores for those who want to be literary or Biblical characters.
Set your goals to have children learn that being the light is far better than celebrating the dark. They should understand that wanting to scare others is a little like wanting to be a bully – the similarities are enough that we should think twice. And finally, they should not do what makes them afraid, as fear is contrary to God’s love. If the costumes and decorations of others scare us too much, it’s best to stay away, and go be the light on somebody else’s doorstep.