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  • Writer's picturekeithburwell

I Won Best Costume At Our Church's Fall Festival

Our church had a Fall Festival tonight. It was awesome! It was 2 weeks before Halloween so no one would ever confuse the two. They make it clear to everyone- we are celebrating FALL. AUTUMN. The leaves. We celebrate The Harvest! (Even though no one harvests anything. And come to think of it- we never pray during the Festival to thank God for the Harvest, even though that’s what we claim we are celebrating.)



All my friends were SUPER excited about dressing up and going to a Halloween Party- I mean Fall Festival. It made us feel like we aren’t even missing anything being a Christian. True, I can’t go to my friend’s Halloween parties, but that’s ok. Our church is really good at imitating culture. Which, I think is important. It helps to make people feel comfortable. That’s the main goal- make people outside the church feel comfortable so it seems like they aren’t even at a church! (right?)

For example, the flyer that our youth group sent out had this black background with fall colors, so at first glance, it almost looked like a Halloween advertisement! Clever marketing! I mean-yes-It most likely cost extra to print the flyers on a black background, and there really is no other justification for making a flyer with a black background this time of year other than to make it look like spooky. But- that’s the point, right? Make people feel like they aren’t missing those things that the “enemy” does.



It's so cool being scared of things like zombies and ghosts and spirits. My friends and I know those things are real, but we aren’t worried about all of that. It’s not like we are playing with Ouija boards or anything. Yes- we watch movies about spirits and being possessed but that’s just made-up stuff. It's Hollywood! They are there to entertain us, not hurt us!


We also had a contest to see who could bring the most people who don’t attend church regularly. I won last year! One of the girls I brought had just got out of Witchcraft that summer. She couldn’t believe it when she got to our party. She was really surprised that we all dressed up. She told me about how her parents were practicing witches and she borrowed a robe and cape from them to make her Harry Potter movie costume.




She looked amazing! She looked almost like a real witch. If she hadn’t said it was from Harry Potter, I would have thought she WAS dressed like a witch.

Since it was Harry Potter themed, that was ok. Our Youth Pastor LOVES Harry Potter so he was totally cool with the costume. She didn’t tell him they were real witches robes- that would have probably freaked him out.

She said she really enjoyed coming to our church because it showed her that her parents weren’t doing anything different than anyone else! I haven’t seen her back at church since then. Maybe she is going to a different church now.


My friends and I decided to go as Bible themed characters. One of them went as “Pre-Sin Adam”, he called it. It’s a good thing it was a warm night because he had no clothes on. Even though he explained his costume to the pastor as soon as he got in the door, they made him leave. I don’t know why- it was a Bible character. They said “church appropriate” costumes. Yes- it was an Old Testament costume but, still, it fit the definition. If “church appropriate” has a definition, I would think it would be Bible characters-especially Adam before sin- I mean hello-NO SIN.




My costume was cool. It was all white with white boots and white armor over top. I put some LED lights under the material and ran it on a battery pack. When people walked up to me, they had to squint, because I was so bright! Everybody loved it!

However, when I was called up on stage as having the Best Costume, our pastor asked me what my costume was. I told him it was a biblical character like my friend had worn. I was an angel! The pastor asked me if I had come as a particular angel and what my “angel” name was. I said, “Yes definitely! I came as Lucifer- an angel of light!” A lot of people gasped at that point. The pastor had already given me my award so he couldn’t take it back but he said he couldn’t believe I came as Satan.



I didn’t see a problem with it- the church decided on having a costume party for Hallowee- I mean Fall Festival. The pastor didn’t know what else to say other than “You can’t do that!” He and I just looked at each other for a few seconds and the room was quiet until one guy- Joe-raised his hand and said, “Excuse me- can I come up on stage?” The pastor looked at him and nodded yes. Joe goes to another church but someone had invited him to the FALL Festival and he came. He didn’t wear a costume though (LAME). Joe took the microphone from the pastor and looked at the youth group.



He said, “I think I can help explain why everyone is so confused. I have been here the last couple Wednesday’s and I heard the messages that were preached. One was on having a Kingdom Mindset and the other was on Red Flags in a Relationship."


"Our friend... the angel here, is just doing what he thought was acceptable. Once you get past the point that a church is essentially waving a white flag to a holiday that glorifies everything that is against the church- death, evil, spooky, scary, witchcraft, spells, occult, and darkness, then what is left to “define” what is acceptable and unacceptable? "


Joe explained. "See, the message I heard last week was that we need to have an awareness of Christ and not let the things of this world take our attention. Yet, here we are, celebrating at an “almost” Halloween party. Just like the little kids going to the Trunk or Treat. See- rather than leaving the holiday alone completely and taking a stand, it seems like we want to dance on the line- as if this is the only time we can put on a costume or get candy. We can do that any of the other 364 days of the year- why do we have to do it on the one day where the world is celebrating all that we stand against, and celebrating it in the same way- with costumes and candy?




Joe continued. “Two weeks ago I heard a message about red flags in a relationship and I think it may apply here. The pastor said that the first red flag is if-

Their actions don’t line up with their words. As I look around at this “don’t call it a Halloween Party”, I have to wonder- do the actions of the church-holding a party that looks “suspiciously” like Halloween but calls it a Harvest or Fall event, do they really line up with their words- that God is their first priority and honoring Him?”

The pastor mentioned wanting to be on the same page in relationships, not just the same book. I just wonder if God has a book that includes Halloween parties for church services. GOING into the world does not mean becoming LIKE the world so the world feels comfortable. I think it would have been ok to just have a normal youth group tonight and no need for costumes at all.

The pastor also said another red flag-having different standards and values than another person in a relationship.

I didn’t wear a costume tonight, not because I don’t like dressing up. In fact, I have gone to some pretty cool costume-themed parties. I didn’t wear a costume tonight because when I thought about how God would look at it- that I would be honoring Him with my words but not in my actions and I would be showing Him what I really thought- that it’s no big deal to celebrate with the rest of the world, that it doesn’t mean anything, or that my focus isn’t truly on Him, but is on what other people think of me, on having fun, and basically doing what I want."

That’s what bothered me. There was no way I was going to purposefully let people think that I didn’t care about my relationship with God by putting on a costume just to fit in. I think maybe my standards and values are different- which is definitely a red flag for me. I decided to set my own standards and not settle for ones I don’t believe in, which is what the pastor told me to do last week. On this very stage. With this microphone.

Joe moved across the stage and continued speaking. "The pastor also said “your assignment matters when you are Kingdom Minded.” He said my influence matters, even if its my 1 vs 1000. When I see sin, I need to confront it. Sometimes our one voice makes all the difference. Maybe that’s why I am standing on this stage right now."



"There was also a pretty important quote last week talking about our mission," Joe continued. "I think the pastor said this – “You are on a mission, that means you don’t just walk around and pretend you don’t know what the truth is.” He said we need to be “aware”.

I guess I look at that a little differently.

To me, it’s being aware that the all black, spooky brochure for tonight’s event mentioned one god, one time, and it was the two-tailed mermaid on the Starbucks logo. No one is boycotting the coffee shop, I am just saying that the brochure did a great job of concealing any beliefs held by the church, if indeed that was the goal. If it wasn’t the goal, then….hmmm."



"Awareness, as the pastor said last week, is also assuming that the leadership would counsel kids on their costumes. For instance, maybe the group of kids that dressed up like the mafia gang weren’t aware that it was the mob that were responsible for illegal drugs, prostitution, abortions, gambling, and every other vice they could make money from at the expense of innocent people.

Maybe they weren’t aware that the Ace of Spades they were all carrying in their pocket as part of their costume was a symbol of death, and the real mobsters would place the card in the hands of their victims after they were dead. But maybe the leadership of the event should have known that and taken the opportunity to shepherd the youth, as one would expect a shepherd to do, since people, especially kids, don’t always know where the danger is coming from.



Joe finished up. “To me this is awareness, as the pastor mentioned last week. This is not taking my relationship with God for granted. So as we stand here on this stage wondering how we got to the point that Lucifer was crowned best costume at a church’s Halloween party, maybe the answer is to actually listen to the messages coming from the pulpit and put them into action- no matter who we are. Maybe its taking a closer look at what we are allowing.”


“Maybe, just maybe, if we stop hanging out in the gray areas of life, the field we are on will become much clearer.”


With that, Joe jumped off stage as the clapping began. It was only a few people at first, but by the time he got back to his seat, the entire room was joining in. The pastor gained control and said somberly “I don't think there is a need for any other message tonight- Joe pretty much gave everyone something to think about.”


I felt like the pastor was going to ask me to close in prayer, but I don’t think he could justify Satan giving the benediction- even if it was a Halloween party.

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