Some might be surprised that I would write a curriculum for October that addresses Halloween – especially four weeks worth – a few offended even, others thankful. So in advance of it’s release I want to explain why.
The decision regarding whether or not to write this unit was not an easy one. I understand that the feelings surrounding Halloween and how we are to respond to it as Christians run strong on both sides. On one end, there are those who decide to completely ignore the ‘holiday’ (in quotes for it is hardly a ‘holy day’), and on the other end are those who wish to take advantage of the opportunity to reach kids and families through outreaches and Fall events, with many views in between.
By writing this unit, I am in no way condoning the events and practices surrounding Halloween that Christians disagree with and even sought to be very cautious in the images selected to both reflect the season while avoiding anything that is contrary to our belief system. I therefore focused more on bats, pumpkins, spiders, and items that exist in nature and that the kids enjoy.
But why do it in the first place?
There is a part of us that enjoys being “scared” – it is one way we deal with our fears. It is why we enjoy roller coasters and scary movies. By confronting our fears, or putting ourselves into fearful situations, we can feel a sense of control – at least that way, we are scaring ourselves rather than being a victim of something beyond our control.
As our culture’s obsession with Halloween continues to grow with each passing year, some reports claim that it is now surpassing Christmas in retail sales and in decorating investment by Americans. My desire is not to add to that focus, but instead, to acknowledge that interest and counter it by preparing our children with a biblical perspective on death.
It has always been my belief that the reason almost every culture has a “festival of death” of some sort is because of the unspoken fear of death that those without Christ carry around with them, perhaps even so deeply that they don’t consciously acknowledge it. Movie directors like Tim Burton create dark movies that constantly delve into death and the afterlife, and Hollywood pumps out one “end of the world” scenario movie after another because at everyone’s core lies the ultimate question, “What happens to me after I die?”
Though many parents might, I won’t take my son to movies like the upcoming “Frankenweenie,” but I do want to teach him, and equip others to teach their kids, about the One who truly CAN raise the dead!
Halloween provides our culture with a way of making light of death. We laugh at death. We mock it. We decorate with skeletons and ghosts, we dress up with blood and gore, and we put on costumes of monsters and other frightful creatures and go door to door asking for candy. But after it is all said and done, that piercing question goes unanswered. And quiet nagging questions remain… “What will happen to me after I die? Will I really just return to dust? Will it all really just have been for nothing? Is there a hell?”
This unit is an opportunity to give kids the Answer. For praise God, there IS an answer. Jesus conquered Death. Death is NOT the end! And there is life after death! We owe it to our children to stand up to Halloween and teach our kids that there is an alternative to mocking the fear of death. Instead, we can teach them that we know a Savior who faced death and destroyed it and can raise us up too!
HERE IS AN OVERVIEW OF THE LESSONS:
Lesson 1: A Dead Girl Rises (The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter)
Scripture: Luke 8:40-56
Scream Theme: “Have No Fear, Jesus is Here!”
Lesson 2: A Dead Man Walks Out of a Tomb! (The Raising of Lazarus)
Scripture: John 11:1-44
Scream Theme: “When Jesus Nears, You Can Wipe Your Tears!”
Lesson 3: A Dead Man at a Funeral, Wakes Up!
(The Centurion’s Faith and The Raising of the Widow’s Son)
Scripture: Luke 7:1-17
Scream Theme: “Death Must Run, When It Meets God’s Son!”
Lesson 4: Dead Man Raises Himself, Claims He Can Raise Others
(The Resurrection of Jesus)
Scripture: Luke 24:1-53
Scream Theme: “Death Has No Sting, When Jesus Does His Thing!”
I’m excited to teach on the Resurrection at a time other than Easter, since it is so central to the Christian Faith! It is a powerful lesson, and a great opportunity to present the Gospel to the children. In every lesson, the kids learn not only how Jesus has power over death, but also how He has a plan for our lives, how He is caring and how He sees our needs and moves to meet them.
I have fun with the theme, while avoiding ghosts, zombies, witches and things I think will be the most offensive, though I realize this unit won’t be for everyone. I’ll give a refund to anyone who after buying it doesn’t agree that it is a powerful unit that will teach SOLID BIBLICAL LESSONS THAT SHOW JESUS HAS CONQUERED DEATH AND EVIL! So there is no risk if you’ll take a chance with me. I’ve allowed sever skeptic friends of mine see advance drafts and every single one of them have been exceedingly pleased with the result. I’ve been relieved with their feedback!
But know, it does allow kids to have fun with the scary theme. Camp fire stories, glow in the dark games, an optional (and short) funny “Mr. Bones” skeleton video to summarize each lesson. (Sample below) If you are familiar with DiscipleTown, which I write – you’ll see many of the same familiar elements: A PowerPoint template, an editable letter to Parents to help them understand why you are using a Halloween theme as well, object lessons and other helpful elements.
In the end, I think this unit will not only be fun for kids, but will help re-frame a season we tend to just cringe through and endure. Instead – why not seize it and say, “We’re not afraid of Halloween! For we know the One who has looked Death in the face and conquered it! Let’s stand up and tell our kids so!”
Every lesson follows a S.C.A.R.Y. outline:
Scary Story (Bible Story)
Crazy Fun (Game)
Afraid? Not! (The Lesson)
Relate Time (Small Group or Discussion)
Yes God! (Application)
and ends with R.I.P. = Respond In Prayer.
It’s a very fun unit your kids will enjoy, BUT it is PACKED with solid biblical lessons that are powerful and will hit hard on topics that are not often addressed as directly and creatively as this unit enables.
It is my prayer that this October thousands of kids will look at Halloween and the Power of God in a whole new way!
MR. BONES VIDEO from Lesson One:
If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the curriculum, feel free to post them in this discussion on Kidology.org. (link coming soon) However, I’m not looking for arguments about Halloween. I respect those decide to not do anything with the holiday, that is a valid decision. This curriculum is for those who choose to address it.
For further reading on the sensitive nature of Halloween see: When Good People Disagree.
Because Jesus Loves Children,
Karl Bastian, the Kidologist