There's nothing like the holiday party. Games, food, fun, and a ton of students!
As we roll into the holiday season of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, we as youth workers will be pressed for creative and fun ideas that help students celebrate the holidays! This past week, we kicked off our holiday season with a Pumpkin Party!
Now I will say, I don't mind Halloween. The dressing up, the candy, the trick-or-treating, it's all just a lot of fun in my mind. But I do know that Halloween is one of those holidays that can come with a lot of controversy. So as a youth worker, I try to respect the many opinions on the holiday, and choose carefully what we do as a ministry.
For the last couple of years I have hosted a pumpkin themed party for students in both the high school and junior high ministries. This year, as this was my first year at our new and current church, I decided to host the pumpkin party with our middle school students.
So here the concept, host a safe, fun, alternative event without causing an issue or debate as to whether the student ministry should sponsor a Halloween event. Here enters the Pumpkin Party.
The pumpkin party is an evening of pumpkin themed games and activities, foods, and fun. Students are invited to dress up in a costume if they'd like. It's not required or mandated. We leave it up to the students. We do, however, state a few guidelines,
1. Nothing creepy, scary, or gross and,
2. Nothing in appropriate, sexy or sexual, or in poor taste.
For those who do choose to dress up in a costume, we hold a simple costume contest with prizes for the following three categories;
1. Best Overall Costume,
2. The Funniest Costume and,
3. The Most Creative-Out-of-the-Box-Homemade Costume.
Things get started with the students being randomly divided into teams. We try to make it as numerically even as possible. And by random, we mean lining them up and counting them off in some way.
Once the students are separated into teams, we take a few minutes for each team to come up with a team name and a team cheer. This only takes a few minutes. With team names and team cheers complete, we move into playing the games.
This year we played four games, with two of the four relating to the pumpkin theme. I had actually planned to play 6 games, but we ran out of time for 2 of the games.
We played one other game that I do not have a picture for. It was a Marshmallow Toss. Students, in relay format, would toss miniature marshmallows to a teammate seated on a chair with a cup. After two minutes, the team with the most miniature marshmallows in their team cup won. We actually had a tie with two teams so we quickly reset and held a one minute tie-breaker!
When it was all said and done, we all had a great time. We awarded the winners of our costume contest a family movie night (a plastic pumpkin that contained a DVD, popcorn and candy). We heard great feedback from both parents and students, even though we went 15 minutes over and didn't play two of the planned games.
I also wanted to let you know that we had a bunch of parents helping. Each team had a parent cheerleader, someone to help organize and corral the students. We also had some parents helping in the kitchen getting snacks ready and helping with clean up.
We were also gifted a ton of pumpkins that we used as decorations, take home gifts, games, and as give-aways for various church groups all week long.
So there you have it, a quick run down of our pumpkin party. Nothing fancy or over the top. Just simple, creative games, costumes, and a lot of fun.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about our Pumpkin Party, please feel free to comment below, or contact me via the contact page!
Jay Higham is a 24 year veteran of student ministry; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Youth Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 19 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 little girl. You can learn more about their ministry to the family by visiting their family blog at, www.TheHighamFamily.com!