29 October 2010 ~ 7 Comments

Halloween: Rethinking The Holiday

Halloween is approaching this weekend.
And for the first time since 2003, I won’t be slinging hay around a church for Halloween.
I’d be lying if I said I was bummed about that.  I don’t have a very good relationship with hay anymore.  I’d say it’s love/hate, but I’m not sure where the love comes in.

Lots of churches take the opportunity of the cultural holiday to bless their communities and provide a safe environment for families to celebrate for Haloween…errrr…Harvest.  I get it, and for those doing it, that’s cool.  Go for it!
For me, several years ago my take on that approach started changing a bit, though.  I was always the, “let’s produce a big event” guy.
But something started getting to me about Halloween.
(And no, it’s not that I decided Halloween is evil and we shouldn’t participate.)

All year long, many of our churches encourage people to stop spending all their time at church and get to know their communities.
We encourage people to get to know the people that live around them and actually get involved in their lives.
Still I’ve had church people admit to me that they have no clue who their next-door neighbors are.  Like many in our culture, they go to work, come home, drive into their garage, close the garage and go inside til the next morning when they open the garage door long enough to drive out and go to work again.
Then, on the one day a year that most of our neighbors come knocking on our door, we ask people to leave their house and come to the church, which nowadays is often in a completely different community.

So the question is, if we are going to be at home, how can we be more intentional about being there.
Oh, and the answer ISN’T give each kid a piece of paper telling them what you believe and that they should believe it too.
Here’s a couple ideas:

  • One friend told me about a neighbor who would make Root Beer Floats in the front yard and it always ended up with a bunch of families milling around having floats together.
  • It’s a bit cold where we live for floats, so Rachel and I are hoping to have some hot cocoa and/or cider along with candy to warm people up and give em a chance to stop and drink for a few before moving on.
    Speaking of, anyone have a hot water heater with a spicket or a big thermos container I can borrow?
  • Throw a Halloween party.  (Actually, can’t wait to go to our neighbors party earlier in the day. It helps having awesome neighbors and they know how to throw a party!)
  • Simply ask if they’re from nearby and introduce yourself as you hand out candy.
  • Just have a few friends from the area over to watch a festive movie with or have some drinks and play games with each other while you wait for trick-or-treaters to show up.
  • You could make your house into a cool maze for people to go through.  I always loved those houses as a kid.
  • Ante up and give out full size candy bars.  You’ll probably end up with all the neighborhood kids coming to your house before long.  That being said, we aren’t planning to do that one!
  • What if churches split up the money they use for the big event and gave it to home groups to do something fun at a nearby park or a house in their community?  I’ve heard of a couple churches doing this and it sounded like a pretty good compromise between the two.

What can I say?  I’m an extrovert and love opportunities to get to know people and make a few more friends.
What other ideas can you add?
What are your plans this Halloween?

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