It’s that time of year again. The time of year when Christians by the thousands lock the doors of their homes, hide in some back room, or find some “safe” location to insulate themselves from the wicked world of three-year-olds dressed like witches, monsters and such.
Now, before you get all up in arms and march on the Allen home with torches and pitchforks let me explain with five observations and suggestions for making Halloween a treat for the kids coming to your door.
I’ll start with a question. How often during the year does every kid within a 3 block radius of your home come to the door, often bringing their smiling parents with them? You may be the typical modern tenant who hasn’t met and doesn’t know your neighbors beyond a wave and nod on mornings, evenings, and the occasional weekend outing. But do your neighbors know you? Do they have any idea that you are a follower of the Lord, Jesus? Halloween can be a huge opportunity.
I want to make it also clear that if your church has some kind of “harvest” celebration, as my church does every year, and you use that as an outreach to the community, that is wonderful. But using an event like that as a way of escape and hiding is not the spirit of power we are to display to the unsaved world. You might consider doing your church festival in addition to one of the following ideas. Remember, as Christians we have the power of God in the dark places of the world… like our own neighborhoods.
“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Christ meant for Christians to be out in the world with His message of grace and salvation without being “of” that world. Is running to our enclaves where our eyes don’t have to behold the evil around us really what Christ had in mind? What an opportunity the world has given us to share the love of our Lord to those who willingly come to our doors.
I’ve been thinking about how to use this opportunity in a way that glorifies God and reaches out to our non-believing neighbors. Here are five thoughts.
1. What a fantastic opportunity to explain to our children that the unsaved are ignorant of the salvation and peace we enjoy as Christians (1 Corinthians 2:14) and that this is a chance to show what the love of God means to us. We can dress up and have fun as princes and princesses – because that’s who we are as Christians… “fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16,17). Have fun playing cowboys, angels, Ironmen, wonder women, robots, etc. Explain that Jesus has “tricked” Satan into bringing all these kids to your door so you can give them a “treat” in Christ’s name.
2. When kids come to the door for “trick or treat” don’t just throw some gospel tract into their bags. All the kids will remember is you stiffed them with some lousy piece of paper. Whether you give out a tract or not, Christians should give the most amazing treats possible. Do you remember when you were a kid and some house was giving huge candy bars or amazing little toys as treats? Wow! We told everybody we came across. I can even remember one year going home and changing costumes so I could go back and get another whack at that fantastic give-away. Giving a great gift with a wide smile and welcoming word can go a long way of acquainting yourself with your neighbors.
3. If you’re uncomfortable giving away candy, you might consider gift certificates to a local fast-food restaurant. This might be a great idea if you have a lot of underprivileged kids coming to your door. It could be a real treat for them to get a meal from a place they don’t get to go that often. If you can afford it, there are often little booklets of individual coupons you could give out. You might think about having the usual candy but when children come who might be in need of a meal, have those certificates standing by.
4. Halloween might also be a great time to meet the parents of kids in the neighborhood. If the parents are standing off in the background, think about stepping out of your house and shaking a hand or two. Smiles are wide when the kids are having fun. Introduce yourself, comment on the weather, send them on their way with a “God bless you and stay safe.” You might be surprised by the friendly reaction and long-term positive impression that can leave.
5. Lastly, consider this a chance to not just meet the neighbors but to invite them back for a kid’s party in a month or so… maybe a Thanksgiving bash. Have a tablet when you go out to meet the parents. Get their names, emails, or phone numbers to send them an invite. Tell them you’re having “a thing” for your kids and wonder if their kids would like to come. This will give you a chance to get to know your neighbors in another friendly environment – one that the kids will love, by the way.
I’m sure you can think of many more ideas. I’d love for you to share with us in the comment space below. Have you done an outreach activity using Halloween as an opportunity to share God’s love? Let us know. Your thoughts are always welcome.
It is my prayer that we as Christians don’t start to sound like the religious leaders who gave Jesus a hard time because he went to a party with non-believers and…
The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:30–32
Halloween could be your chance to turn a “trick” on the world and “treat” someone to the hospitality of a loving Christian neighbor.
Just think about it…