As I (Mike) mentioned in last week’s post about Halloween, I was really convicted a couple years ago when I read what Tim Challies had to say when speaking about Halloween. The idea that for 364 days a year I desire to get to know my neighbors and get into their homes to share the love of Jesus, but the one day (Halloween) when they come knocking on my door, I turn the lights off. Ouch! That was my thought the first time I read that. Ever since, my family and I have sought to see how we can be a light for the gospel in our neighborhood. Here are some ideas that we have come up with and that I have heard others do. I hope these spark your own ideas.
1. Hot Chocolate: Last year, I stood out in our driveway and had candy for the kids and hot chocolate for the adults. This allowed me to interact with the parents as well as bless them with a warm drink on a cold night. I didn’t give the kids hot chocolate because I did not want them to spill the hot drink on themselves and I get sued or something. The parents really seemed appreciative. I also had some tracts that I could give out. The “Before You Die” tract (and Christian Rap CD comes with it) is an excellent one to have for older elementary kids as well as those teenagers that come (though they should have given up “trick or treating” long ago).
2. Games: Some people actually have games that neighborhood families can play. You could have a cake walk in your driveway or a bean bag toss. One of the easiest games is to make the children do something funny or crazy before you give them candy. This is especially fun when the teenagers come. I like to have the teens sing a song or do push ups. They seem to really love the interaction.
3. Hot Dogs–I know some people in Nashville that have a grill and make hot dogs and show a movie in their yard. After everyone in their neighborhood finishes “trick or treating” they all go eat hot dogs and watch a movie. Often times the movie is a Veggie Tales or something Christian that speaks of the Christian faith. The parents all talk over food and the kids watch the cartoon movie.
4. Smores–this could get tricky, but if you have a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace at your home, this could be fun. It may be one of those kind of events that you just invite some of the neighbors whom you already know over to eat and talk.
Now, not every family is going to feel that this is wise for them, but if you do plan to keep your light on this year, I pray that you will be intentional in seeking to get to know your neighbors. The desire is not to just give out candy, it is to give candy for the sake of getting to know families who need to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are going to give away candy this year, here are a few thoughts.
1. Don’t just give cheap candy–I remember as a kids those neighbors who gave cheap candy and/or popcorn balls. This painted a picture of those neighbors to us the rest of the year.
2. Be generous–give more than just one piece of candy to the kids. It’s great to be known as the house that give a lot of good candy. The kids and parents will flock to your house and you can winsomely build relationships. Besides, who should be more generous than a Christian?
3. Be joyful–enjoy talking to neighbors and don’t be fearful. They are just people like you, who are sinners like you, who have struggles like you, who long for a listening ear…just like you. Be a joyful person who is willing to talk and listen.
4. Pray–prior to Halloween night, have your family start praying for this outreach that your family is doing. Pray for the kids who come to your door and for good conversations. Pray for relationships to be built between you and your neighbors. God is already at work in the lives of your neighbors, so join him in it.