Biltmore Baptist Church provide children with Halloween Alternative Fun
A steady downpour of rain could not dampen spirits this Halloween. Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, NC gives children and adults an alternative to traditional Halloween. Each year the church has one of the largest outreach ministries for the surrounding community. Food, games, music, animals and a host of other activities draw record crowds to the Arden campus. Many churches shun the Halloween holiday because they feel it promotes a pagan holiday? Events like "Hoopla" offer a fun and safe family environment.
Crowds arrive to an indoor event this year
Previous year's have seen the huge church parking lot full of tent's, inflatables and outdoor cooking. This year the event was moved inside due to inclement weather. Buses transported crowds to the church from outside specified parking areas. Each family registered at the door and received armbands for their children. The event lasted from 3pm-6pm. A steady flow of costumed children waited patiently to join the fun.
Food, Candy, Games, Music and much more
It was like a maze walking throughout the church to see all the fun events that awaited your children. Some rooms contained games for the children to play. They could roll a ball and knock over boxes, give a banana to a cardboard monkey or do some other skill to earn some candy. Everyone was a winner while playing the games and then receiving candy after wards. One of the most popular booths was set up outside the front door. There you could have your child's name stamped on a real horseshoe and crafted by real cowboys. Live animals were also outside in a covered area and delighted children that touched them. Barbecue, hot dogs and pop corn flavored the air throughout the church. If you wanted something more than candy to eat, you had a selection of good foods to choose from. Local musicians provided everything from contemporary spirituals to ballads from The Andy Griffith Show for entertainment.
Finger print booth keeps your children safer
Met-Life and The Williams Insurance Company from Hendersonville, NC sponsored a booth that provided finger printing for children. The Asheville police department sponsored 16 cadets that did the finger printing. Over the past 2 years 835 children received informational booklets that contained their finger prints. Met-Life provided the books that parents keep in case of an emergency. Vital information regarding each child is critical for law enforcement if a child is missing or kidnapped? Two safety coloring and sticker books were also handed out to children. One was on home fire safety and the other was boating safety. Over 10,000 items have been given out to children from this one booth. The cadets worked very patiently and took individual interest in each child as they did the finger printing.
Record crowds prove Halloween alternative is a good thing
Each year over 6,000 are attending Hoopla as people hear how positive this event is for the Asheville community. The church has hundreds of volunteers that work Hoopla. Biltmore Baptist Church has a membership over 5,000 and is one of the fastest growing churches in the United States. Bill Keel, pastor of the children's ministry along with his staff do an amazing job to promote Hoopla. The entire congregation donates all the candy which is given away to the children. Many children leaving the event looked happy, full of candy and a bit worn out from all the games. One thing parents can do is relax knowing it was a safe event and the candy their children take home is safe as well.
Web sites for additional information related to this story
Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden, North Carolina
Asheville Chamber of Commerce
The Williams Insurance Company
Gregory Hugh Leng Photography
Photography Copyright 2009 Gregory Hugh Leng Photography