The celebration began in church with the divine service at the conclusion of which the kids heard the moving story of heroic pastoral service and sacrifice of St. John of Chicago and Tsarskoe Selo, whose feast had just concluded. Families were then invited to the Spiritual Life Center for a grand party that included a hearty hotdog supper, hot cider, pumpkin-painting, make-your-own caramel apples, gourd-bowling, goodie bags, near fatal bouts of fake sword fighting, and lots of warm-hearted fellowship. Knights, Cossacks, angels, cats, and even a deviled egg made an appearance.
The kids were invited back into church for a sacred quest, essentially a treasure hunt, in which they competed in teams of two to complete a series of questions based upon information they gleaned from several of the holy items within the narthex and nave of the temple.
“One of our homeschooling families asked me what I thought about Halloween a couple of weeks ago,” shares Fr. Stephen Hrycyniak, Rector of St. Nicholas, “and one thing led to another, and the idea of a family-friendly alternative celebration was born—the receptive response among the families to a churchly alternative gathering was surprising and gratifying.” The event even drew other homeschoolers from outside the parish, making it that much more of an enriching experience in a safe and wholesome environment for all in attendance.
Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.