The Outward Opportunity of Halloween

When our kids reached the age where they could go trick-or-treating, my wife and I were faced with the decision that many Christian families wrestle with: do we participate in this holiday? So much of the holiday welcomes a celebration of the dark side of life or to be more direct: a celebration of evil. Some of the houses in our neighborhood would decorate with such scary decorations that simply driving by them in the daytime would frighten our young kids.

When our first Halloween as a young family arrived, we made the decision to allow our kids to participate, but with caution. We talked to our kids about why some aspects of Halloween do not please God. We talked about what kind of costumes were appropriate to dress up in and why certain costumes were not appropriate. And as we ventured out on the evening of October 31, we chose streets and houses that weren’t scary.

And while I simply expected to experience an hour or so of watching our kids in their cute costumes enjoying this peculiar tradition of gathering free candy from our neighbors, something surprising happened. We started to meet neighbors that we had never met before. People were now out in their driveways or at their front doors, eagerly waiting to greet everyone who came by. We found ourselves traveling in packs with other families in our neighborhood, getting to know them for the first time.

This wasn’t just a time for kids to stockpile more candy than they would ever actually eat–it became a time for community. In a culture in which we have become isolated in our neighborhoods, everyone was now willingly welcoming people to come to their doors. On any other day, the knock on the door would be received with dread or suspicion. But not on Halloween. People are actually disappointed when neighbors don’t come to their door.

And for a family like ours that wanted to build intentional relationships with our neighbors, this holiday that carries such a dark bent that can create uneasiness became an incredible opportunity. I began to see this day differently. Yes, the celebration of evil remains. And it still saddens me when the neighborhood is decorated with all things scary and spooky. But I began to see the outward opportunity of Halloween.

Recently my wife and I have been prayer-walking our neighborhood, where we have lived for the past three years. One of my prayers has been, “Lord, let me get to know my neighbors.” There are several homes on our street where we haven’t had the opportunity to  meet the people who live there. As Halloween approaches this Sunday, I find myself now eagerly looking forward to this day. It is now a day of new connections. It is a day of matching faces with the homes we have been praying for.

Light shines brightest when it is dark, and I have been surprised to see how great an opportunity we have at Halloween to engage with people who so need God’s true Light. We look forward to the opportunity to enter into this dark world for the sake of declaring the hope that Light has come into the darkness. We pray that God will allow us to let our light shine before our neighbors so that it will lead to those living around us glorifying our Father in heaven.

A day that may have been intended for evil, God can use for His good. And that has definitely been a treat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *