By Carol Pipes
Halloween brings out the kid in all of us. As a child, Halloween was a time for fun with family and friends.
I was a serious trick-or-treater, and I loved it when a neighbor went out of their way on behalf of the neighborhood kids to make the holiday extra special.
I still love to dress up and entertain friends and neighbors who stop by our house. October 31 is the one night of the year our neighborhood comes alive.
And I always make sure my front porch is decorated with plenty of pumpkins carved with welcoming faces for the parade of monsters and princesses.
For some Christians, it might be tempting to turn off the porch light and hide from trick-or-treaters, but missional families see Halloween as an opportunity to share the gospel. Halloween can be an open door to witnessing.
At the very least, it allows you to spend time with neighbors you rarely see. And though it’s centered on children, Halloween is a chance to reach people of all ages. Consider these five possibilities:
Host a neighborhood harvest party.
Fire up the grill and invite the neighborhood over for a pre-trick-or-treat snack. Hotdogs and soda are easy on the wallet and satisfy the palettes of all ages.
Use the time to reacquaint yourself with neighbors you rarely see and welcome newcomers to the block. A few days before, send your kids out on their bikes to stuff an invitation in each neighbor’s mailbox.
Provide a place for parents and kids to warm up.
The end of October can be rather chilly; little ones and moms and dads could use a place to warm their hands while gathering treats.
Several Halloweens ago, my husband, Keith, and I placed our fire pit in the driveway along with a table stocked with cups and carafes of hot apple cider and cocoa. It was a big hit with the neighbors and became an annual event.
Organize a “servant hunt.”
Lead your family on a twist to the typical scavenger hunt. Make up a list of service projects to be completed in an hour or another specified time frame.
Offer to clean a person’s windshield or pump their gas at a local gas station. If it’s raining, provide umbrella escorts at shopping malls.
When asked, family members simply respond by telling the person that Christ loves them and offering a brief testimony. If the Holy Spirit opens the door, by all means, share the gospel!
Hand out tracts.
A combination of tracts and treats can satisfy everyone right down to the littlest ghost. Lifeway and other retailers have tracts you can drop into trick-or-treat bags along with pieces of candy.
Go reverse trick-or-treating.
Halloween is the one night of the year when folks are at home and eager to answer the door. Of course, residents will be surprised when they get treats instead of having to give them out.
Simply purchase large candy bars, Christian DVD’s, or homemade treats, and visit houses with the intent of demonstrating appreciation for your neighbors.
Be on the lookout for houses needing the leaves raked or other small repair jobs. Offer to come back to accomplish these tasks over the weekend.
Don’t let Halloween haunt you. Instead, use the holiday to reach out with the love of Christ to those neighbors you don’t usually see the rest of the year.
Carol is director of corporate communications for Lifeway Christian Resources.