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Churches bring fun for whole family

Community: Congregations plan to offer safe, fun options for Halloween

Posted: October 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Linda Cavatail, of Valencia, directs costumed children who attended the Trunk-Or-Treat Fall Festival as they toss ping-pong balls painted as eye balls into jack-o’-lanterns in the Eye Ball Toss game set up in the back of her SUV at Valencia United Methodist Church in Valencia on Wednesday night.

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From fall festivals to carnival games and even a chili cook-off, many Santa Clarita Valley congregations are turning Halloween into a time for families to come together and have a fun holiday that goes beyond trick-or-treating.

By creating their own events, church leaders also hope to benefit nonprofit organizations and promote Christian fun.

Love Thy Neighbor
Grace Baptist in Santa Clarita is hosting its annual Fall Festival with game booths, bounce houses, karaoke and even a free skate park complete with half-pipes, according to Martha Harding, children’s special events director.

“What appeals to most families is that it is so much more than just trick-or-treating,” Harding said. “They love the community feeling and knowing their kids are safe.”

The event is on Halloween from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the church. A chili cook-off is also being held; sampling the different chilis costs $1.

Proceeds will benefit an orphanage in Haiti and the local food pantry. Chick-Fil-A will also be there if families would like to buy dinner at the event.

Harding emphasizes that the church holds the annual event as a way to “love thy neighbor” and offer activities that families wouldn’t be able to experience while doing the traditional trick-or-treat.

“We just want to be good neighbors,” Harding said. “Everything we do here is for the same reason. We love Jesus, and as a result, we love our neighbors.”

Entrance to the festival is free, along with the activities the church only asks for a donation of a wrapped bag of candy to contribute to the festivities.

Grace Baptist Church is located at 22833 Copper Hill Drive.

Hoedown
Real Life Church will host a Halloween Hoedown from 5 to 8 tonight for local families who want to get a head start on their Halloween festivities.

Geared for families with elementary school kids and younger, this free event will include live music, face painting, bobbing for apples and trick-or-treating.

Food trucks will be available to purchase dinner, and a live emcee will lead group games in the church’s outdoor amphitheater.

“We can’t wait to see everyone at the hoedown,” lead pastor Rusty George said. “Last year, our Halloween party welcomed nearly 5,000 people. We’re excited to see even more (tonight).”

Real Life Church is at 23841 Newhall Ranch Road in Valencia.

Fun, not spooky
Valencia United Methodist Church had a similar idea when organizing its Trunk-or-Treat event on Wednesday. This event has been held annually for the last 11 years in partnership with the Pioneer Club.

Volunteers decorate their cars and gather in the church parking lot so kids can trick-or-treat out of the trunks. Carnival games, a cake walk and a fun maze are also offered.

“This is an alternative for families that want to trick-or-treat but don’t want the goriness,” Assistant Christian Education Director Karyn Malchus said.

Cars are decorated according to themes, such as a pirate ship or a ’50s theme, and candy and goodie bags are passed out to each trick-or-treater.

“This allows us to bring our church family together and invite our friends and neighbors to come in and see what we are about,” Malchus said.

Retrofest
The Church on the Way Santa Clarita will host a “Retrofest” Monday from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event boasts free carnival games and free candy, gourmet good trucks, free carnival games and the “largest Trunk-or-Treat in the SCV.”

Admission is free, and everyone is encouraged to wear retro attire, but nothing scary.

The Church on the Way is located at 23415 Cinema Drive in Valencia. For more information, visit www.tcotwsc.org or call (661) 291-6020.

Lasting memories
Newhall Church of the Nazarene will also hold a Fall Festival on Sunday after church from noon to 2 p.m.
The festival is free of charge and open to everyone. It will feature carnival games and a chili and brownie cookoff. Children are encouraged to come in costume.

Pastor Kathy Cannon said the motivation is to offer a safe alternative to trick-or-treating where everyone knows everyone else.

“We try to preserve the tradition we all knew from our childhood,” Cannon said. “Trick-or-treating is a great childhood memory, and we wanted our kids to have the same memories.”

Newhall Church of the Nazarene is at 23857 The Old Road in Newhall.

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