Candypalooza 2014 – the how and why


Last weekend we held a big weekend event at my church. I know around Halloween some churches debate having an alternative event. We decided to try fitting what we are doing into our weekend experience. It started with the premise of getting kids to invite their friends to church for a weekend service and then afterwards they would get what kids want this time of year, CANDY! The stated win of the event was to give kids an opportunity to invite their friends. The kids could also dress up as their favorite heroes to add a little fun.

We created invites for kids to personally invite their friends with. We designed our series (My Church is Sooooo Sweet) to look just like the event so that the series ended with a big bang event. We asked our church members for candy donations and they responded with abundance. We ordered some special prizes and bags for each kid. We setup manned candy stations in one of our hallways areas. After the kids attended service they got their bag as their parents checked them out. Then their parents took them to the stations to get their candy.

It was a very simple alternative event and a small majority couldn’t understand what we intended to do. I know in the past that some people object to just giving the kids candy because they feel like that is too much like Trick or Treating. For me that’s the point and to those people I say I’m a grace based candy giver not a law based one. This even was successful for us giving us about a 15% bump in kids attendance that weekend. We had so many visitors that our new check-in kiosk ran out of cards on the counter.

We did have a few minor challenges. Our kids area is already a major bottleneck so this created more crowds. Some people are turned off by that. Personally it excites me and we had smiling faces to diffuse any anxiety. Any big event is going to have crowds so that really isn’t something you can do away with. In between services also was a bit of a challenge. Our service ran a little over and people were coming and going at the same time. I just coached the teens manning the stations to give their ~5 pieces of candy quickly.

We also added in attendance number goals for each service and one of our three services hit their goal. Their reward was getting to see me slimed live on stage. The other two did get to see a pre-recorded sliming on video. This obviously was a huge hit with the kids.

So I know this isn’t original or very creative but it was a simple event that worked very well for us. Its really just a simplified version of Trunk or Treat with minimizing it down to what the kids want.. CANDY!

Any questions?
Ask in the comments and I’ll answer whilest I taketh my candy tax.

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