The Lighthouse

How a lighthouse event transformed Halloween for one community.

A lighthouse conjures up the opposite image of a haunted house. On October 31, 1996, our small group, which we call a "Hope Group," had a "Lighthouse" in our front yard. We had a flashing light out in front, games and treats for the kids, and refreshments for all. We served about three hundred people.

We were prepared for three hundred again this year, but it didn't work out that way. This year we had nearly 1,000 people come through the Lighthouse!

One group member, Mike Castillo, built a fantastic lighthouse six feet high with a blinking light. It attracted people from blocks away. He and another member, Bobby Sanchez, told passers by that the event was free. Why did we do this? Because we want to show God's love in a practical way. We marked the sidewalk with chalk to keep the flow of traffic moving in an organized fashion.

One of our group leaders, Brett Hart ( a science teacher), had his "Amazing Science Tricks" table set up. He made gak (you don't want to know), had a static-electricity globe, dry ice (which can really make a cup of soda bubble!), liquid nitrogen, and lots of other cool stuff. His entertainment captivated all the trick or treaters and their parents.

Next, there was a duck pond. Each child netted a duck and chose from one of five different toys that all had the message of the Lighthouse prominently displayed: "Jesus is the LIGHT of the World." An arrow on the sidewalk pointed to a "Search for Hidden Treats." There were Ziplock bags with candies in them and also a paper light bulb with "I am the light of the world …" written on it. These were hidden under hay and the children dug to find them.

We added a bean bag toss this year. The bean bags had the name Jesus written on them. There was a red heart ...

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