This article was written by Emily Smith, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s Children’s Specialist

Fall Festivals, or at least the traditional ones we have become accustomed to, took on a new look this year as churches had to rethink their festivities during a pandemic. Instead of worrying if they had enough candy to distribute concerns turned to how to safely conduct a community event with social distancing guidelines in place.

This is where the creativity had to get a little bit tricky, but the treating was effective. Across the state, churches spiced up their fall festivities this year – from pumpkin patches, drive-thru fall festivals, “Treat your Street,” “Fall Fest at Home” to not so spooky dress-up events in an effort to reach their community. Fall festivals may have had a new costume this year, but the results are still worth ‘treating’ about.

Park Hill Baptist Church in North Little Rock saw over 110 cars drive through their Fall Fest drive- thru event this past Saturday. Over 420 people participated from their cars in interactive games centered around “The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me” tract. Participants learned at the different stations that God Rules, We Sinned, God Provided, Jesus Gives, and We Respond. From the gospel presentation, a prayer station, lots of treats and Kona Ice—this was one Fall Fest worth the drive.

Other churches took a different approach by taking their event to the streets. First Baptist in Fayetteville and Calvary Baptist in Camden decided to host a “Treat your Street” event. Church members were encouraged to register and pick up boxes filled with goodies to treat their neighbors this past Saturday. This idea was a great way for members to reach out to families in their neighborhood with something sweet and an invitation to their church. Between the two churches over 184 “Treat your Street” boxes were distributed in neighborhoods.

First Baptist Church in White Hall spiced up their fall festivities this year by bringing their Fall Festival home with take-home buckets filled with a family devotional, church information, games, crafts, sweet treats, goodies and a pumpkin shaped gospel tract. Over 166 buckets were given out during their drive thru pickup event.

Beech Street FBC in Texarkana hosted a dress up like your favorite superhero or princess event for their Wednesday night TeamKid program. Kids learned that you do not need a cape or crown to share Jesus! You can be a superhero by always looking for opportunities to let your light shine. The evening was capped off with carving a pumpkin as the “Pumpkin Gospel” was presented. Even in the midst of wearing masks, social distancing and implementing the right safety measures, kids’ ministries found ways to spice up fall festivities by reaching families and their community with the Gospel. The approach in 2020 may have had a new costume or different packaging than in years past, but it was still a treat.

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