Church hosting community Halloween event

Volunteers are working hard to get ready for the expected 5,000 ghost and goblins that will party at First Christian Church in North Vernon on Halloween night.

The church’s Sweet Street Halloween celebration is designed for children, especially those in Grade 6 or lower, and families and other interested parties are welcome. The event is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at the church, 108 E. Walnut St.

“We know there were well over 4,000 people attending last year because we give wrist bands to all the kids and people sign in for the door prizes and so on,” said Angee Leeds, the church’s youth director.

“Gloria Robbins started this in 1997 as a safe alternative to trick or treating for members of the Christian Church youth organizations. It has grown every year since. Now, almost 20 years later, it is a huge celebration for the whole community,” Leeds said.

Sweet Street activities include games, bounce houses and free candy. Adults are eligible for free door prizes. The event also includes free hot dogs, drinks and popcorn, and about 40 booths sponsored by a variety of organizations and businesses. Each booth will give away free candy as well as information.

“We are all about Jesus and we do want to reach out and let people know that we are here. We may all have different ideas and different ways but we all do live here. Why not get together in a respectful way to have fun? Sweet Street is a way to do that,” Leeds said.

Leeds said event organizers are asking that no costumes or booths have a political theme.

“We want this to be a night of plain good and silly fun,” she said.

First Christian Church staff members and about 45 church volunteers will work on the night of Sweet Street. Volunteers from the North Vernon mayor’s office, the North Vernon Fire Department and the Police Department also will lend a hand. Members of the Risen Savoir Baptist Church, Gideons International, the Golden Harvest Church and the Trinity Full Gospel Church also are pitching in.

“It’s a work of love for everyone involved and I think just getting ready for it brings the community together,” Leeds said.