Ahhh… October…. is there a more beautiful month of the year? The weather, the colors, the crisp air, the smell of burning leaves (yes, I love it) and the nearness of the holidays make this month one of my favorites!
Closing out this wonderful month is Halloween! I have fond, fond memories of trick or treating as a kid. My mom always helped my sister and I come up with the most creative and unusual costume ideas. My neighborhood would come alive and kids would roam the streets searching for candy. In one neighborhood I lived in, everyone lit luminaries on October 31st. The whole neighborhood was a glow in these beautiful lights! I lived in another neighborhood that had so many kids that cars didn’t stand a chance maneuvering through the streets because there were so many kids and parents out on Halloween night! It was always a fun night!
When I was a child, I had no idea of the evil roots and beginnings of Halloween. After having my own children, we began to really think and pray about rather we would “do” Halloween or not. It seems “Halloween” has become like a curse word in Christian circles. You either “do” Halloween or you “don’t”. After much thought and prayer we have decided to participate parts of this holiday. With all do respect to others’ convictions I would like to share why our family does “do” Halloween.
The reason is simple. We do Halloween because we don’t want to miss this opportunity to meet our neighbors! This is the one time of year when my neighbors get together and willingly come outside. We have lived in several neighborhoods and there has not been one that has proven an easy place to meet our neighbors. People drive up the drive way into the garage and shut the door behind them before they get out of the car. And that is just when they are home. With our busy culture, neighbors are not home long enough to see their own family, let alone meet a neighbor.
Halloween night is one of the few nights people willingly come out of their homes! They might even walk straight up to my door! If I were to turn off our porch light or not answer the door, I feel like we would be missing an awesome opportunity!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” -Act 1:8
As believers in Jesus, we are commanded to “be witnesses”. Outside of the four walls of my house, the next people who I should prioritize hearing the gospel and being a witness to are my neighbors. How can we even think about witnessing to the “ends of the earth”, when we haven’t even meet most of the people in our “Jerusalem”? So, our family sees Halloween as a small yearly opportunity to maybe meet or build on a relationship with our neighbors that may potentially have eternal value!
Let me also say that there is a lot about Halloween we don’t do. I don’t do scary costumes, scary/horror movies, tombstones in the front yard are ghost on my door. I take very seriously the reality of Satan and how the seemingly innocent participation of certain activities can open doors to his work in my home. That stuff is real and will have no place in our home.
I also am very familiar with the origins of Halloween. I realize it was a holiday started by pagans to ward of evil spirits. But you know what if instead of hiding behind a closed door and ignoring a holiday Satan intended for evil; what if we open our doors and made it an opportunity that God can use for good! Think about it. What if for once as believers we played offense with this issue instead of defense. What if we did our part to take something intended for evil and made it good?!
Just a thought.
Here are some ideas:
-last year my husband had to work so we set up in the front yard with some lawn chairs. My kids were young and actually enjoyed passing out the candy more than “trick or treating”. We meet many neighbors that night!
-this year our apartment complex is hosting a “trunk or treat” event! I think this is brilliant and could be done in any neighborhood!
– I have heard of some families hosting a neighborhood party on Halloween night involving pumpkin carving and games.
– Another great idea I’ve heard about is to post a coffee or hot chocolate booth in your front yard. What a great way to love on the moms and dads or little trick or treaters passing by!
– (One day I hope to do this one) Host a halloween day parade! Let the kids walk a little “parade route” dressed in their costumes! You go so crazy to make “floats” out of wagons or bikes! Regardless it would be fun!
– Simply turn your porch light on and pass our some really yummy candy to kids and parents! I think a little love and warmth can go along way!