- Faith & Family
The innocent tradition of children dressing up as ghouls, goblins and superheroes, then scouring their neighborhoods for candy, has become more dangerous today. With stones of tainted goodies being distributed and child predators on the loose, parents have grown leery of letting their children participate in trick-or-treating. Eighteen years ago members of the Redeeming Word Christian Center International (RWCCI) in Ft. Lauderdale decided to offer an alternative celebration. “We realized that Halloween wasn’t what it used to be,” said Marian Gonzalez, a spokesperson for RWCCI’s senior pastor, Rev. Ed Brinson. Their alternative became known as Joy Night, where youth and adults can enjoy activities on the grounds of a safe sanctuary such as face painting, live performances and vendors selling a variety of foods. “It’s a safe alternative for Halloween and over 3,000 people have come to Joy Night in the past,” said Yirel Brinson, the church’s administrator. This year, Joy Night will provide mechanical carnival rides, bungee jumping, rock climbing, obstacle courses and a mini Battle of the Bands featuring the marching bands from Blanche Ely and Dillard High Schools, according to Brinson. Although the church does not celebrate the darker side of Halloween, they do encourage children to dress in costumes of biblical characters, princesses, cartoon and movie characters. “We won’t turn away people who are dressed otherwise because this is a community event,” Gonzalez explained. “As they are leaving, we provide more than enough candy for every child in attendance.” The church’s founding and senior pastors are Ed and Yvette Brinson. Redeeming Word Christian Center International is located at 2800 West Prospect Road in Ft. Lauderdale. For more information, call 954-485-4933 or visit www.RWCCI.org.
By Kaila Heard