Halloween tracts serve as tool to spread gospel to children
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Trick-or-treaters will get more than a handful of candy this Oct. 31 when they knock on the door of someone participating in the American Tract Society's Halloween evangelism effort.
"ATS' newest 'Halloween Rescue Kit' gives Christians a tool to rescue Halloween this year with the sweet taste of salvation spelled out in treats and gospel tracts designed specifically for Halloween handout," said Dan Southern, president of ATS.
According to the Barna Research Group, 85 percent of all Christians make their commitment to Christ between the ages of 4 and 14, Southern said, underscoring the importance of Halloween evangelism tracts as evangelism tools.
The kit includes tracts designed with pictures of kids dressed up as American real-life heroes such as a nurse, a firefighter, a doctor, a businesswoman and even a ballerina.
"We see the heroes and rescue aspects of the kit especially appropriate this year because America and America's children have realized heroism on a new level after 9/11," Southern said.
In addition to the tracts, individually wrapped taffy candy, colorful stickers and clear sealable bags -- enough for 31 children -- are included. For youth and adults, single tracts called "Separating Halloween Fact from Folklore" and "Reaching Kids on Halloween" are also in each kit. The ATS website is www.atstracts.org.
Samaritan's Purse is providing inserts for the ATS Halloween kits with order forms to participate in the ministry's Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan's Purse, led by Franklin Graham, has delivered gift-filled Christmas shoeboxes and demonstrated God's love to more than 18 million children in 110 countries.
"Samaritan's Purse is excited to work with the American Tract Society to impact the lives of boys and girls here in the United States," Graham said.
ATS, based in Garland, Texas, has been the nation's hallmark publisher of religious tracts since 1825, and the Halloween tracts have been popular for many years.
At the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, a Halloween night festival spreads across 10 acres of the church campus and draws a crowd of more than 20,000 each year. Children's leader Diana Pendley called it one of their biggest and busiest evangelism outreaches all year.
Each guest who registers to win door prizes or participates in any of the more than 100 carnival and inflatable games, rock climbing, petting zoo and food booths gets a bag of candy and an ATS Halloween tract.
"We use tracts because they are short and easy to read and share the gospel message effectively," Pendley said in an ATS news release. "They go home with people and speak to them in a voice that reaches beyond our voices in the quiet times when they need to hear the message most."
Joey Hancock, director of ATS' church ministry division, said churches across the country are becoming more active in Halloween evangelism efforts each year.
"Halloween is the only time of the year that the people are coming to our doors expecting treats, and Christians are learning, when an opportunity like this knocks, not to waste it," he said. "Churches are using the tracts like 24-hour evangelists, clearly painting the gospel and giving folks something to think back on the days after Halloween."
As a new feature this year, Halloween e-tracts also can be sent from the ATS www.atstracts.org website.
Christians in the United States order nearly 3 million Halloween outreach items from ATS each year during the six-week countdown to Oct. 31, Southern said.
"As a kid, I never once heard about Jesus from my friends or neighbors unless it was when they cursed using his name," Southern said. "Fortunately my parents told me about Jesus. Many today have no one in their lives to tell them about Christ, unless the followers of Christ are willing to be missionaries in their own communities.
"When, but Halloween, do we have more folks coming up to our doors? All we have to do is answer with more than they are asking -- a gospel tract and a candy treat."