Our family has never really done anything at Halloween. We don't dress up, trick or treat, attend church "alternatives" or pass out candy. We haven't had parties, decorated our yard or browsed the spooky aisles at the stores. Honestly, we have never really seen a reason to. It always seemed like just one more lame reason to spend too much money and participate in a holiday that is focused very much on death and evil. We never judge those who do, in fact just about every single person we know and love participates in some way and we don't have a problem with that, but we have always been content to just turn off the lights and have a family night instead. We never really gave any more thought to it.
Until this year.
This year we did something completely out of the ordinary for our family and it was so much fun and such a blessing that I had to share!
This year we approached Halloween with an entirely new and fresh perspective. Thanks to an amazing church who is constantly encouraging us to be "on mission" and to live intentionally and after reading an article from Desiring God that challenged us even further, we are beginning to see that all of life (including Halloween) is an opportunity to advance the gospel. Randy and I started thinking about ways we could be an intentional blessing to our neighbors and this whole Halloween thing seemed like an opportunity that God was literally bringing right to our door step.
I mean, what other night does your entire neighborhood come to your door??!!
So, instead of hiding out inside our house and let yet another opportunity pass us by, we decided to go out and have some fun and get to know our neighbors a little bit.
First, we got the very best candy in FULL SIZE bars to pass out. We figured if we were going to do this, we were going to go all out so Randy went to Costco and stocked up. (turns out that 160 pieces wasn't even enough, so we'll have to stock up on more next year- yikes!) Then we set up a table outside, decorated it with some pumpkins and put out some "treats" for the moms and dads that would be coming out with their kids. We made caramel apple cider and yummy pumpkin squares- and they were both a hit. We just sat outside in our front yard and would talk to anyone who came by. The kids would immediately see the big candy bars and get really excited and then when we offered some cider or pumpkin squares to them or their parents, they would get even more excited! According to most of the kids who came to our yard, we were the 'best house ever' and even a lot of the parents were surprised that we were out there offering them something hot to drink as they went trick or treating with their kids. Wish I would have thought to take some pictures- it was a lot of fun!
We met many neighbors that we hadn't before and got to see all of the kids dressed up in their fun costumes. It wasn't a huge deal and people didn't really stay for more than a few minutes, but as the night ended (and the candy & cider ran out!) we were so thankful that we made the small effort to be intentional instead of just doing "what we always do." I believe that it's the little things that we do that can show the love of Christ even more than the big things sometimes.
We didn't have a gospel message, pass out tracts, or play Christian music, but we just wanted to be good neighbors. We "let our light shine" in a very small way on a night that in past years, we have just kept hidden in the dark. We pray that the Lord would give us more opportunities to get to know our neighbors and build relationships with them in the future and that we wouldn't be afraid to do things differently. Being "on mission" is not really about an event or a trip, but about living each and every day as "sent ones" of Jesus Christ. Seeing every moment as an opportunity to love others and be the hands and feet of Christ, building relationships, and looking for opportunities to speak the good news of our savior into their lives. I want to live like that.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
***Note: Just because this is something that our family decided to do this year, doesn't mean that I am saying that you should be doing this too. Let's show grace to one another please? Again, I don't think it's wrong for Christians to participate in some of the traditions of Halloween, so just let that go right now. I have good memories of many fun Halloweens while I was growing up, so I get how much fun it can be for the kids. I am simply sharing the journey that our family has been on and how God is shaking us awake and really causing us to think and see much differently than we ever have before. :)