Special October Encouragements:
Many families use the kitchen table as a central place for household prayer. The center of that table could be a space set apart, perhaps with candles, and a “centerpiece” (creche, cross, artwork or craft) that can be a focus of prayer and devotion.
Set aside regular times to read aloud from the Bible as a family, even if it is only a verse or two at dinner, after you have said grace. Try having a family night each week. Bring home the worship bulletin and use it during your family devotions.
October is such a great time to take children on a nature walk. Young children take such delight in the world around them. They’re fascinated by ants crawling on the sidewalks and the rings that rocks make when you throw them into puddles.
As parents, we can enjoy God’s wonders with them. As we give God the credit for creating these things, we help our children learn to praise and thank Him.
Help your children memorize a verse or two of some of your favorite hymns to God who “has made all things good.” All Things Bright and Beautiful, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and How Great Thou Art are hymns that children love just as much as adults.
Have an Oktoberfest Evening
— German Food
For fun, carve out a pumpkin I place a candle with a small amount of dry ice inside. The ice will make a spooky vapor.
For refreshments, serve Halloween cookies or cupcakes & orange drink.
Talk about the costumes the children will be wearing for Halloween. Talk about some of the invisible masks we wear & about why we wear them. Let each family member share some of their fears, real & imaginary. Discuss the difference it makes to have faith that God loves you and that He knows you love Him back.
I love the different seasons that God has beautified our life with, and I enjoy decorating and having fun with them – especially I like putting out pumpkins on my doorstep. Of all the things in God’s creation, I think the things of fall are some of the loveliest From the fallen leaves to the Indian corn, gourds, squash, wheat, and apples of harvest that were put here for us to enjoy, I must say that I enjoy them all. This season is a wonderful season for fun and for teaching our children about God at the same time.
Find out about places where pumpkins are grown and make arrangements to visit one, making a family outing of the pumpkin hunt. Allow each person (parents too) to choose a pumpkin.
If apple cider is available at the pumpkin farm, take a gallon home with you to enjoy later.
When you arrive home, carve (or paint) faces on the pumpkins. As you scoop out all the “messy goo” inside, to make room for the light to shine from inside, talk about God’s transforming love which can fill each of our hearts with joy and light.
After supper, as it gets dark, make some hot spiced cider and pop some corn.
Then light the jack-o-lanterns.
Other Ideas for October:
Make pumpkin bread as a family. Then give it as a “love gift” to a friend.
Learn about Reformation Day.
Let the children dress up in their costumes and masks.
First discuss the characters they are pretending to be. Then talk about the different kinds of invisible masks we sometimes wear. Let each member of the family share some of their fears — real or imaginary (parents too). Talk about how sometimes even grown-ups “wear masks” to scare their fears away. Then read Romans 12:1-2. Emphasize not being conformed to this world (wearing masks) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (putting God’s thoughts in your mind). Talk about how God can help us with our fears (more than masks).
Have a candy treasure hunt.
Have an apple-bobbing contest.
Plan a progressive Halloween party with some of your friends (who have children the same ages as your children. Arrange for parents and children to eat a meal at the first home, play games at the next, and eat dessert at the last stop. Everyone joins in the work and expense.
Have a family storytelling evening.
Recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Wash the pumpkin seeds in a colander. Then dry them on paper towels.
In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter or margarine.
Add 1 tsp salt.
Add 2 C pumpkin seeds and saute about 3 mins, stirring so that all the seeds are coated with butter.
Place seeds on a cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 300 degrees.
Drain on a paper towel until pumpkin seeds are crisp and cool enough to eat.
Teach family members about the Luther Rose.
The Luther Rose, also known as the Luther Seal, is easily the most recognized symbol for Lutheranism, and for good reason. Martin Luther personally oversaw the creation of this symbol. It provides a beautiful summary of his faith, a faith that is common to all Christians, of every place and every time. Here is how Luther explained the meaning of his seal:
Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For one who believes from the heart will be justified” (Rom 10:10). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17) but by faith in the crucified. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal. This is my compendium theoligae [summary of theology]. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation. May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen.”
Source: Martin Luther, Letter to Lazarus Spengler, July 8, 1530, as printed in Lutheran Quarterly, Vol. XIV, Num. 4, Winter 2000, pg 409-410. As found at www.lcms.org