Many don’t know this, but Halloween really just means “All Hallows Eve”. It’s, historically, church holiday which took place the evening before All Saints’ Day (the day the church remembered those who died in the faith and praised Jesus for their life well lived). At one time it had a similar vibe to Christmas Eve…a holiday we still celebrate despite the hijacking attempts from culture. Halloween isn’t a holiday to run away from, rather, it’s just time that we, in the church, reframe how we engage others on this night.
This year, my church will be hosting a “Trunk or Treat” on Halloween. It’s a free event that we’re doing as a gift to our community, because many in our area don’t live in a neighborhood that is conducive for Trick or Treating. This is our first year doing this, so we’re not sure what we’re getting ourselves into, but we’re extremely excited for the chance to love our neighbors in this way.
We also know that many of our people won’t be joining us because they want to love their neighborhoods on that night…and we’re very excited for them to do so. We want people in their neighborhoods, loving their geographical neighbors and blessing children who come to their door on Halloween. For those who are choosing that option, I’ve created the following 8 Steps Towards Showing Christ’s Love To Your Neighbors On Halloween. These are all simple and practical, and also viewed as a starting point. You know your neighborhood and what they need. Hope these are helpful for you as you get set to meet/reconnect with many of your neighbors.
Step 1: Pray and ask God how you can be a blessing to your neighbors on Halloween (and everyday).
Step 2: Buy LOTS of candy. Kids come to the door for candy…real candy. Bypass the cheap stuff and give abundantly. You can choose whether or not to put a Bible verse on the candy you hand out. If you do, choose something about how they are loved by God…not judged by God. Avoid giving out tracts, toothbrushes, or fruit. They will all get trashed pretty quickly…probably in your front yard, too.
Step 3: Decorate without being scary. If it’s over the top, you may miss out on little children coming to your door that night and, well, ever. Decorate without it being a slaughterfest. Draw the line well before you think a little one would be scared. It’s important that your neighbors know that you are hospitable. Hospitality is a gift of the Holy Spirit after all.
Step 4: Pray for your neighborhood. If you know your neighbors names and anything about their lives, pray for them. Also pray for the neighbors you haven’t met yet.
Step 5: Consider opening up your home for more than just a candy station. Cook a big pot of chili and invite your neighbors before that night to pop in and grab a bowl. You could also set up a table on the sidewalk (or in your home) with hot cocoa. Especially in some areas where it’s cold, this can be a huge blessing to Trick or Treaters.
Step 6: Engage the kids at your door. This is always hard especially when a bunch show up, but do your best to ask them about their costume, and try to get to know them in at least 2 simples questions like “What’s your name?”, “Why did you choose to be a _______?”, or if it’s a group, then ask “How do you guys all know each other?” Celebrate their creativity, compliment their work, and thank them for coming over and making your night more fun.
Step 7: Greet the parents who walk with the kids and introduce yourself if you don’t know them already. They are your neighbors, too. If you can, ask where they live and thank them for taking the kids around. Offer them some candy, too…because, hey…you know they want some!
Step 8: When the night is over and you see your neighbors around in the days following, make sure to greet them and keep the conversation going. Stronger neighborhoods are kindling for the Spirit’s work. After all, the better you know your neighbors, the better you can show them Christ.
Have a Happy Halloween, Everyone!