Halloween and Our Neighbors
There is only one day of the year that your neighbors are certain to visit your house… Halloween. Over the years, believers have had varying responses to this night ranging from declaring it evil to embracing it without any discernment. Churches make decisions about the day as well. Many churches (pretend to) ignore Halloween and opt for a Fall Festival. In the case of my church, last Sunday evening, we had our Harvest Hoopla with games, cartoons, the student ministry band, and enough candy to send all the kids home with a sugar rush.
But, tonight is when the community knocks on your door. A hallmark of believers should be our neighborliness. In fact, there is quite a bit taught in the Scriptures about being a good neighbor and hospitality. It should be an easy way that we display how the gospel makes us more like Christ. At times in my life, I’ve done better than others. Today is another opportunity for me to care more about the families around me than about myself. So here are my list of what you ought and ought not to do.
Be friendly. More than just handing out candy, take it as a chance to make friends. Find out where people live and who their kids are. Take it as a happy opportunity to meet people.
Introduce yourself to parents. Tonight may be your best chance to personally get to know a neighbor that you rarely see. Plus, when you connect who goes together as a family in the neighborhood, it makes it easier for us to get to know one another.
Go outside. If it’s possible, station yourself outside on the front porch or driveway. Angie and I have one of those portable fire pits that we set up in our driveway. We can talk with parents, make S’mores, and enjoy the evening. Plus, it is better than just running back and forth to the door.
Brag on the kids. It feels a bit silly when you “ooh” and “aah” over the seventeenth Captain America or Cinderella that shows up a the door. But, to that kid, you just made their day.
Don’t give away goofy stuff. Nobody wants pencils, coloring books, or any other kind of trinket. Be the house that gives away great candy.
Be goofy. I’m not good at this. Well… I can be goofy, just not usually on purpose. What I mean is have fun with it. If you like dressing up, then go all out with it. If you like decorating then do it up big.
Plan for more interactions. Before the first sound of a doorbell tonight, decide that it will not be the last time you see these people before Halloween 2013. Tonight is a chance to start relationships.
Do not try to get on America’s Funniest Videos. Sure, we all want to win the big cash prize on AFV but be kind to the little kids. If you want to play a prank, then do it on someone who can take it.
If you are convictionally against observing Halloween, then turn off your lights. My suspicion is that no one is offended by your decision so just be courteous. If your lights are on for this night, people think you are participating. Don’t become “that guy” who waits for some unsuspecting 7-year-old to knock on the door so you can sound off with a diatribe about how they are serving the devil by dressing up as a superhero and asking for candy. If your lights are off, everyone knows that you are either not at home or you are not taking part. Let that be your statement.