By George Robinson
October 31st. For most Americans, this date means one thing: Halloween.
Considering all the costumes, candy, and trick-or-treaters, Americans spent more than $7 billion on the holiday in 2014. But should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Many Christians have an issue celebrating what they believe to be a pagan holiday. Instead, they opt for a safe alternative at their local church.
This allows church members to invite neighbors and friends to come to the church and eat candy, play games, and have some good, clean Christian fun.
I’d like to propose another alternative. I think Christians should stay home and celebrate with their neighbors.
Think about it: Halloween is the only night of the year in our culture when lost people actually go door-to-door to saved people’s homes. What better opportunity to show Christian hospitality?
Living with missional intentionality means you approach life as a missionary in your context. I lived with my family in South Asia, and we had to be creative and intentional in engaging our Muslim neighbors.
We now live in the U.S., but we still need to be creative and intentional. That’s why for the past several years, we’ve chosen to stay home and take advantage of the fact that Halloween gives us a unique opportunity to engage our neighbors.
In fact, over the last few years, we’ve had hundreds of children and adults come to our doorstep on that one night. And we were ready for them!
Every year we set up a tent in the driveway and give away free coffee and water to the adults who accompany their children. We engage them in conversation and give each one a gospel booklet (“The Story” booklets are a great choice).
We give away lots of candy and hundreds of pieces of literature, each with our name, email address, and a website where our neighbors can find more info.
That’s why I wish more Christians would celebrate Halloween this year by staying home and meeting their neighbors—an option I believe is a great Christian alternative.
George is a professor of Global Disciple Making and the Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
This post originally appeared at BetweenTheTimes.com.