Before the kids in their costumes head out the door to get bags full of candy, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church has a special treat lined up for them.
The church will have an All Hallows’ Eve vigil Friday night that will feature parts of the Bible that “we don’t teach in Sunday school,” said Roger Speer, children and youth minister.
“It is a reminder that the next day is All Saints Day,” said Father David Rose, St. Luke’s vicar. “However, it’s still Halloween.”
The readings include the Valley of the Dry Bones from the book of Ezekiel, Saul visiting the witch of Endor and the archangel Michael battling the Great Dragon in Heaven.
“Those are the kinds of stories we do,” Rose said. “The Bible does not shy away from things like witches and dragons.”
Families and kids are encouraged to come dressed up, and the church will be lit only by candles. “But no cobwebs,” Speer pointed out.
“So it’s not a quiet evening,” Rose added.
Rose said he took part in a similar vigil when in seminary “and loved it, because it is so different.”
Speer said the vigil is an ancient service and you can feel that it is, Rose said. Speer also believes it’s brave of the church to try reclaim culturally some of Halloween’s roots.
“The whole thing is here to be outside the box,” he said. “It’s trying new things and trying different things.”
“Culturally, Christians and churches too often think Halloween is the devil’s night,” Rose said. “As Christians, we believe all nights are God’s. We’re able to go out with a blessing.”
The service is about 20 to 30 minutes long, so participants can get going on trick-or-treating in a timely manner. Speer said it leads to a night that’s fun but has safety at the forefront.
“It puts a positive energy on something that is a negative night with the pranks and the bullying,” he said. “Plus, it ends in prayer.”
There also will be a talk about why Halloween exists. At the end, those who gather will be blessed and encouraged to return the next day for All Saints’ Day.
“Come hear the Bible, get blessed and then go out and celebrate Halloween,” Rose said. “Halloween doesn’t have to be about spending money and candy and sweets. It’s much more than that.”