Hosting a Reformation Festival – The Ultimate Autumn Celebration
If you’ve decided that sending the little ones out in scary costumes is no longer the way you wish to celebrate All Saints’ Eve (aka All Hallows’ Eve) on October 31, but you don’t want to gyp your kids out of some kind of autumn celebration, then you’ve come to the right spot.
There are many fine things you can do to re-focus your family’s view of the end of October. Someone years ago sent me old-fashioned games with a “fall festival” theme. I’ve overhauled and given them a Reformation twist. Hopefully your children and your friends will enjoy them, too.
Reformation Festival Games
Guess How Many?!
Fill a quart jar with candy corn or candy pumpkins. Place some small slips of paper & tiny pencils nearby, then your guests must write their name and guess of how many pieces of candy are in the jar! Place the paper in a basket or other small jar. Before the party is over, check which guest was closest and award the jar of candy to that person.
Place a few themed items on a tray: a Bible, an image of Luther pounding theses to the church door, a hammer, nails, catechism, hymnbook, etc. Guests get to look at the tray for about 30 seconds (depends on the age of the guests, adults could probably look for LESS time than six year olds!). Guests must then write down as many items as they remember.
Write a Reformation Festival word or phrase at the top of a paper (or do on your computer). The idea is to make as many other words as possible using only the letters in the word or phrase. Possible words might be “Happy Reformation” or “Reformation Festival” or “All Saints’ Day” or “Martin Luther.” Possible phrases might be taken from Luther’s speechs like “Here I Stand” or from a hymn title like “A Mighty Fortress.”
Martin May I?
One child is Martin and faces the other guests who stand in a straight line. Martin could be dressed in some kind of monk-like garb, for fun. The players ask permission to move forward, and Martin grants permission by saying “Yes, you may…” or “No, you may not” and creatively describing the types of steps they may take: mouse steps, elephant steps, etc. Player who move when NOT given permission must go back to the line and start over. First child to touch Martin is the next “it.”
Just like “Simon Says” one person directs the others to do various actions or movements. Players are ONLY supposed to move if each direction is prefaced by the words “Martin says…to wave while hopping on one foot” or whatever. Players who move when not “Martin says” are out. Last one standing gets to be the next Martin.
Pin the Theses to the Church Door
Erect a large door (using brown kraft paper or better yet a real wooden door or just from brown construction paper or drawn on a large piece of tagboard). Decide ahead of time how precise theses must be placed on the “door” OR put an “X” on the spot where you’d like players to attempt to pin their theses. Print out and cut apart a bunch of the REAL theses (website given below), place in a small basket, along with some tacks or tape. Each player takes a theses-slip, reads it to the other players, then is blindfolded and attempts to pin/tape it to the door. The one coming closest to the X is the winner!
Gutenberg’s printing press was a great boon for spreading the Good News during the Reformation. We are blessed now-days with the internet. Here are a number of websites with more information about Martin Luther, other reformers, the Reformation OR ideas for Reformation Festivities.
I’m not necessarily endorsing any of these sites or their theology, just offering them as sources for fun activities or information. Cut-n-paste them into your web browser (I haven't figured out yet how to get them to be a click-through link--sorry!). I’m sure you’ll find something fun to do with your family and friends.
A general overview with more details than I’ve included in my blog:
Here’s a copy of Luther’s 95 Theses!!!http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/95_theses.html
An uplifting website with a great selection of Reformation Festival ideas:
The “Old Lutheran” website is loaded with Reformation Ideas. This page will take you to just about everything you could ever imagine for a week’s-worth-of-festivities! Have fun!!!
Everything is here if you’re going to host a Reformation Festival, games, food ideas, the works!
This website covers ALL the bases so you just have to invite your friends and get things organized!
How about a skit?
Or a monologue from Martin’s wife . . .
Luther loved singing, and I bet he’d get a kick out of any of these ditties!
Also, google “95 Theses” to get images of Luther’s work, too. Many images to chose from!!!
Homeschoolers or Sunday School teachers will love this website for all it’s “extra credit” available. Click on the little ruby in front of the option, to click through to the documents. Very neat!
ENCOURAGEMENT & MOTIVATION
One last word concerning the motivation for becoming different from the rest of the neighborhood and people at work and even at church. God's Word tells us that we're to be "in" the world, but not "of" the world.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light...and find out what pleases the Lord.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret....
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil....
Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs....
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:8-20 NIV
If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?