Saturday October 29th 4-6PM
On Saturday afternoon, Paddington Anglican hosted a Halloween Spectacular, a family event of games, challenges, costumes, prizes and plenty of laughs. We had face painting, insect eating, slime fishing, dry icescream, write your own gravestone, monster biscuit making, a wall of fear and much more.
Halloween is big in Paddington; no other day has nearly as many people out on the streets meeting neighbours and having fun together. As an Anglican church, we also stand in a tradition that has long used this point on the calendar to remember the dead and reflect on our own mortality and fears (the term ‘Halloween’ being derived from the fact that it falls on the eve of All Hallows, or All Saints Day on 1st November).
Something like 500 or so locals joined us between 4-6pm. This was a similar number to our celebration last year, though this time it felt like people stayed considerably longer and so our grounds were much more packed.
Dozens of families gave very warm and positive feedback, saying things like:
- “That was just wonderful – such a village-y feel”;
- “Is there a way we can make a donation? It’s amazing the Church puts this on for us!”;
- “What a fun afternoon! The kids got all the stamps and loved it”;
- “We just got home from holidays and had to come up here before it ended because the kids love it.”
A few who aren’t church members came early and/or stayed late to help set up/pack up because they thought it was so good.
We also kept a quiet sanctuary in the church building, where we had created an area for rest and reflection. There was our usual lovely space, with extra cushions, candles, a BBC nature doco projected silently on the wall, a large sheet of paper with crayons, paint, pencils, etc. for kids to create a mural about overcoming fear, and a couple of handouts – one was a reflection on the meaning of Halloween and the other was a “conversation menu” with a list of discussion-starter questions about fears and how we respond to them. We probably had about 50 people come through the space over the two hours, some just to sit and catch their breath, some to paint/draw, some to chat with ministry staff, some to count and compare lollies!
Some churches are hesitant about Halloween. It is too commercialised, too American, too sugary, too focused on darkness. It certainly can be all those things. But in an Australian context, the meaning of Halloween as a relatively recent addition to our culture is still up for grabs. At Paddington Anglican, we think it’s a good chance for all of us – believers or not – to share some fun, fire up the imagination, and gently open a space to explore our mortality and face our fears.
Eternity Newspaper reported on our Halloween Event:
Would you stick your hand in a bowl full of worms? Would you eat an ant?
That’s just one of the Halloween challenges you could have completed at a church in Sydney’s east, at a Halloween festival held this weekend. More…