5 December 2007
Concern about children trick or treating in strange neighbourhoods on Halloween has led to an alternative, a light party, held for the first time in Richmond’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish.
Organised by the St Paul’s Vinnies, the event catered for the children of the local Catholic School and parish and saw over 200 people turn up to participate in the family entertainment provided.
The St Paul’s Vinnies had prepared for the event through discussing the impact Halloween had on their own lives and that of the community. The Light Party concept showed how Halloween could be turned around so what was once All Hallow’s Eve—a holy day in the Catholic Church—could once again have a positive influence.
The Vinnies painted banners with relevant scriptural quotes and wrapped prizes, which included a small booklet that talked about Halloween.
The banners and booklets reminded people of the light of life that is ours when we believe in the Lord. The Vinnies also organised activities that they ran on the night including a sponge-throw, tug-of-war, gumboot-throwing and face-painting.
A bouncy castle was a popular feature and a sausage sizzle and juice were provided free of charge like everything else due to parish sponsorship.
This event was designed to provide family entertainment that catered for the needs of the children while building community spirit.
An Auckland mother and children’s worker, Wendy Reid, created the Light Party concept in 2000 inspired by Phil. 4:8 as an alternative to Halloween. Since then the idea has caught on and churches throughout New Zealand as well as in Australia, USA, Canada, England and South Africa have adoped it.
The Light Party website, www.lightparty.com, offers information, online resources and support to anyone wishing to run a Light Party.
The greatest success of this first-ever event for Our Lady of Perpetual Help was the huge amount of support given from those backing this initiative; the offers of help that were received; the parish community who showed their support by attending the Light Party and the words of encouragement given by many. It was an event enjoyed by all.