The Words of the Allen Family
On October 31, 2009 Lovin’ Life Ministries held its first-ever Youth Ministry Halloween Party at Belvedere in Tarrytown, New York. The night was filled with costumes, candy, tomato throwing, and much, much more.
In the weeks prior, representatives from the New York and New Jersey community came together to map out what they felt would be a cool and engaging alternative to the average Halloween party. We wanted to put a spin on a holiday that can so often lead to regrettable decisions and instead make it a time when our youth communities from different areas could come together. We knew for sure that above all we wanted the communities to bring their different resources and strengths to the table to create an event we could all really enjoy. From having these joint events we have always found that when our youth communities are able to come together they are often left with a stronger sense of community that they feel intrinsically connected to and proud to be a part of.
When the day for the party finally came, we were initially worried that the daunting rain clouds looming overhead would put a damper on the evening, but everyone’s high spirits and positive energy made the rain seem hardly a glitch to the night’s event. We had a great turnout with around 200 participants coming from New Jersey, West Rock, Orange County, and Metro New York showing up in costumes ranging from squirrels to hobos and the classic witches and angels. The night had a variety of Halloween-themed games, a delicious dinner, and ended with the finale of the annual Halloween costume contest.
The night wouldn’t be complete without a range of fun Halloween activities. People looked ridiculous racing to eat donuts hanging from a string using only their mouth, got messy bobbing for candy in the slime-bobbing tent, and tried out their form on either pumpkin bowling or skeet ball. One of the most popular activities of the night put a bunch of our brave staff in the stocks to be pelted by tomatoes from the crowd of onlookers. Jaga Gavin, Lovin’ Life’s youth pastor, was the first placed in the stocks for untold crimes and had a surprising amount of the community ready to attempt to hit the poor guy with tomatoes. Reports from the stocks told that it was a terrifying experience but a worthwhile cause if “it’s for the kids.” In addition, fortune telling was a big hit in our gypsy tent with the fabulous gypsy Karin Shimayama. Once inside the vagabond’s tent, adorned with scarves and candles, people were able to have their palm read and get a small insight into what their future may hold.
The haunted trail was a great addition to the evening. Planned and run by the New Jersey God’s Own (GO) staff, it was definitely a great success. All night, screams could be heard from the eerie, dark area around the pond where Frankenstein’s bride and various other creatures of the night inhabited the woods. The staff’s commitment played a tremendous role on giving the party a bit of a spooky aspect and enlivened with the spirit of Halloween. We are immensely grateful for the people who neither the rain nor cold dark of the night could stop from running the trail for over three hours.
The night culminated with the masses avoiding the rain and getting cozy in the Agora House for the Halloween costume contest. Once the categories were read, some clear contenders stood out by the response of the crowds’ cheers and shouts. In the end, some costumes were so good we couldn’t identify the winners! The most creative went to the Crayola crayon, a hobo won for the funniest contest, our French import, Kevin Vieira won for scariest costume as Darth Maul in his first-ever Halloween. A group of New York City youth pulled out a win for best group costume as X-men, and Truston Moon received the well-deserved title as most in character as V from V for Vendetta.
Overall the night had a general atmosphere of togetherness with nonstop fun and games. To have a night when silliness and candy are key is always refreshing for our youth communities. Of course, this night had a lot of hands coming together to make it the success it was. We would like to thank all the members of the community that offered their time and support, especially Paige Whidibee for providing dinner for the whole party, the Belvedere staff and grounds crew, and the New York and New Jersey Youth Ministry staff. We had a great time and can’t wait to see what the next holiday’s event will hold.
Written by Ester Allen