Church Lady: Churches plan safe, fun Halloween event for community

— It’s October and plans are underway for three area churches to provide some fun for youngsters that doesn’t involve going to strangers’ houses on Halloween night.

This year, there will be at least three opportunities for your little one to dress up: the Halloween Spooktacular at Mackle Park and two Trunk or Treats, one on Marco and the other on the Isles of Capri.

The New Life Community Church of God will once again provide the Pumpkin Patch at the city-sponsored Halloween Spooktacular at Mackle Park, 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 23. The church’s Music and Youth Director, Jean Rowles, heads up the effort. Aside from her work at the church many may know Rowles from her work with the Y’s theater camp and the Marco Players.

This is the second year the church will run the Pumpkin Patch, and was an easy decision to get involved with something that the community already had going.

“We wanted to join in and be a part of something rather than trying to pull people away,” said Rowles. “We want to shine a little light and share some of God’s love.”

There will be 100 large pumpkins for sale and 40 smaller pie pumpkins for sale.

“We are not interested in making money. We just want to cover our cost,” said Rowles. “We are just happy to be involved in the community.”

Youngsters are welcome to paint their pumpkin using the church provided paint. The pumpkins will be decoratively arranged with bales of hay for photo opportunities.

New Life Church member and church secretary, Victoria Wilson, is looking forward to the three opportunities for her 3-year-old son to wear his dinosaur suit that was a gift from grandma.

Daryl McCulley, wife of New Life’s pastor Thomas McCulley, helped man the Pumpkin Patch at the Halloween Spooktacular last year and will do so again this year.

“It’s a wonderful community activity,” said McCulley. “The children look so cute and I love to see the families together as they interact, pick out pumpkins and take pictures.”

Many churches now host Trunk or Treats. It provides a safe alternative from door-to-door trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Church members decorate the trunks of their cars or beds of their truck, dress up and hand out treats.

Here on Marco it is also a way for church members who live in senior communities and condos to see the sparkle in children’s eyes. Often at these events one can’t tell who’s having more fun: the adults or the kids.

The Presbyterian Church has hosted a Trunk or Treat in their grass parking lot for more than five years. For many the event has become a family tradition. The idea for the Presbyterian event originated with a church member whose church out West had hosted Trunk or Treats. It has grown from less then a dozen cars to an extravaganza that includes an inflatable obstacle course, a dunk tank, two inflatable bounce houses (one for the smaller children and one for bigger kids), a Pumpkin Patch with pumpkins for sale and free photo opportunities.

There will also be free hamburgers, hot dogs, snacks and drinks, a costume contest, a special scavenger hunt for the younger children, and old-fashioned carnival style games and prizes. Way FM will be on-site to broadcast live and add to the excitement.

There will also be a dunk-the-pastor tank. The game is three throws for a dollar and is a fundraiser for the youth group.

The youth will also be on hand to oversee the chalk art. The church’s Pastor of Families, Paul May, heads up the event. He requests, “no scary costumes, please” and encourages guests to register upon arrival for a chance to win door prizes.

In addition to the carnival atmosphere the church’s Women’s Ministry plans to give away 60 jars of dry friendship soup mix. Each jar has a tag with the list of ingredients and directions as well as a request that the recipient recycle the glass jar by returning it and worshiping at the church any Sunday.

Church members Ginny and Blaine Fluth looks forward to decorating their trunk.

“It’s a way for kids in the Halloween season to have fun without the dark, scary part,” said Blaine. “I love to see the sparkle in their eyes. It’s a totally safe environment for the kids. We like to see their unique costumes and how creative they can be.”

The Presbyterian event will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30.

The event at Capri Christian Church will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31. This is the second year that Capri Christian has hosted a Trunk or Treat.

Youth Pastor Jason Canady organized the event. He had participated in Trunk or Treats at his former church in Oklahoma.

“(We are) very much looking forward to providing a safe place for kids to gather some candy and become familiar with our church,” said Canady. He plans to be in costume.

There will be cookies and drinks, music and information about the church and its children’s ministries in addition to the decorated vehicles giving away goodies.

“It’s our way of saying we care about your kids and that Capri has something for them,” said Canady.

Capri Christian’s Lee Demaris and his extended family enjoyed the event last year and looks forward to dressing up and decorating the trunk of his car again. His decorations last year included spider webs, bats, rats and pumpkins. He dressed as a phantom with flashing gold eyes.

“Thankfully, I didn’t scare any kids,” said Demaris.

Church member Brandi Garwood was a new mother last year and was happy to bring her 6-month old son Caleb to the event. He wore a baby’s first Halloween outfit.

“It was a very good experience. It was safe and fun, especially for the little kids,” she said.

Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various non-profits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist.

❱❱ calendar

Cupbearer Church

A four-week Bible Study lead by Rev. Rita Partin on The Secret Of Success, 6 p.m. each Saturday at Mackle Park. Free. She will also speak on “You Can Start Over Again”, 9 a.m. each Sunday outside in the parking lot of the old Marco Moose Lodge, 711 South Collier Blvd.

Marco Island Church, A Simple Church

Class every Wednesday at 7 p.m., entitled Tired of Budgets, Buildings and Big Shots? Start A Simple Church. www.MarcoIslandChurch.com or call 407-310-1719.

Marco Presbyterian Church

Women’s 9 a.m. Friday Bible Study continues through Nov. 5. The study is based on Bill Hybels’ book “Character: Who You Are When No One’s Looking.” The group meets in room 10 and offers a Biblical prospective on courage, discipline, vision, endurance, compassion and self-sacrifice. Each week is a complete lesson. Study guides will be on hand at the class. Nursery available. Women’s Ministry Brunch on the Beach, 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 23 at Residents’ Beach. All are welcome to enjoy a time of fun, food and fellowship as they explore Ephesians 2:10 and making a difference. The group will meet in the chickees close to the playground structures so there will be activity for children. Information call, Cheryl Petrich 642-6081.

United Church of Marco Island

A 6:30 p.m. grief class for those who have lost loved ones continues meets every Tuesday through Nov. 23. There is also a 6:30 p.m. Living Without Fear class on Wednesdays. There will be an orientation in the church’s conference room following the Oct. 17 worship service for those interested in joining the church. On Sunday, Oct. 24, new members and associate members will be accepted and welcomed into the congregation. The annual Welcome Back Snowbird’s dinner will be at 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 in Disseler Hall. The menu includes roast pork, cheesy mashed potatoes, gravy, applesauce, green bean casserole, Caesar salad and dessert. For information contact the church’s office.

Trunk or Treats

Church members decorate their trunks and provide the treats. Free.

Marco Presbyterian Church, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 30.

Capri Christian Church, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Oct. 31.

Marco Lutheran Church

Church-sponsored cruise, the last week in February on the Oasis of the Seas. Pastor Kevin Koenig will lead a Sunday worship service on the ship as well as a Bible study. Bedtime Bundles will receive a donation based on the number of people who go on the cruise. Round-trip transportation will be provided from the church. Prices and availability are guaranteed through October. For information contact the church office.

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