It’s a familiar sight in most neighborhoods across America on October 31st just after dusk: Your doorbell rings and when you open the door, there is Ariel, Darth Vader, and a giant inflatable T-Rex on your porch yelling, “TRICK OR TREAT!” You smile and fill their plastic pumpkins with candy, and off they go to the next house on the street. It’s Halloween, and despite your personal feelings about the holiday, there is no denying that it has become a part of our culture.
Did you know that ‘Trick-or-Treating’ did not become popular until the 1950’s in America? It’s a fairly new tradition that is quite odd when you stop to think about it. Kids dress up (or maybe you are that mom that goes ALL OUT with family costumes), travel door to door yelling a phrase that they have no idea the meaning of, and get candy from complete strangers. Am I the only one that thinks that’s weird?
We hosted some friends from China last year over Halloween and their sweet boys (who knew very little English) caught on very quickly to those magic words, Trick-or-Treat, to get buckets of candy. I had never realized that this tradition is really only popular in North America, and I can only imagine how crazy they must have thought we were.
Many moms have ill-feelings towards Halloween which are completely valid. The holiday is filled with darkness, evil, and fear; definitely not anything that describes God. In an effort to avoid Halloween, we can steer our shopping cart clear of the giant witch for sale in Costco and steer toward a Trunk or Treat or a fall carnival at church. The reality is that Jesus didn’t cower in his house when confronted with evil, but met those in the darkness right where they were.
Halloween is the one night of the year that you see neighbors open their doors to other neighbors. People let their guards down. As they open their door, they open the opportunity for you to say hello, and let them know you live around the corner. A connection is made, and a cornerstone to build upon is laid. I believe that Halloween might be one of the BEST times to reach your neighbors.
Last fall I decided I wanted to take advantage of Halloween to draw neighbors together in community, so I hosted our first Hearty Halloween party. We invited all our friends and neighbors to stop by just before dusk and to bring a soup or side to share. My doorbell kept ringing, crockpots soon lined my entire kitchen counter, and before I knew it there were 60 neighbors in my home, including 40 children in costume! It was CRAZY fun, and then the kids all took off down the street to begin Trick-or Treating. Literally, all I did was open my front door, and invite my neighbors in, but the relationships deepened and the trust built by neighbors coming INSIDE my home was priceless.
This is my challenge to you: Instead of hiding behind a closed door, in a dark house with fear, turn your porch light on, open your door and invite folks in. Be a LIGHT to those that live around you this Halloween.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16