How To See Halloween As An Outreach Opportunity For Christians
Can I be honest…I’ve wanted to write this blog for a long time. The usual narrative of Halloween is negative. The day is satan’s birthday, a day for demons and witches, and a day we DO NOT participate in. These are narratives I grew up with. However, in knowing what not to do, I didn’t feel like the alternatives presented taught me to reflect Christ well Halloween.
What were you supposed to do when a neighbor knocked on my door on the 31st and not sound extremely “churchy?” As a family we don’t desire for our kids to see outreach and sharing the gospel as events, but rather a way of life. So how to intertwine the two has been a prayerful process for us.
My hope is that if you’re in this same juncture as a family, you would see that light is meant to shine in darkness. Halloween can be a starting point and a catalyst to engage your neighborhood with fresh eyes and a bright focused light. What other night do people willingly come to your house?
We’re Christians, so we don’t do Halloween.
So growing up Halloween was a thing, then my mom became a believer and it was no longer an event we participated in. We went from free candy and cool costumes to hiding inside our home with the lights off to avoid trick or treaters… I can’t be the only person. Then it evolved to serving and helping in harvest carnivals on church campuses.
I felt like I was always missing out as a kid. What was the point of knowing God if I had to stay away or be separated from my friends and miss good candy? Of course as I matured I’ve seen other sides of Halloween, but I still felt like I wasn’t taking full advantage of the night.
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
Halloween has taken on various interpretations and approaches in the churches in efforts to outreach. For many years we served and brought our kids to harvest festivals and carnivals on Halloween night. They loved it and we figured it was a safe way to not technically do Halloween… until one year.
Yikes, this is confusing…
Kai was getting ready and he looks at me saying, mom I can’t wait to celebrate Halloween! In shock I told him, we don’t celebrate Halloween. I’ll never forget, he emphatically said, yes we do. We wear costumes, we give candy, and I hang out with my friends – we’re just at church.
There is value in carnivals and festivals as safe alternatives, but have to say I don’t see that as full outreach. I believe that we as a church have gotten into the pattern of doing ministry on campus rather than weaving and equipping others to do it in our daily lives. I know God has told our family to go. That looks like finding opportunities to be light in the communities and neighborhoods we’ve already been placed in. We don’t need to go far, because our neighbors are all around us and WANT to stop by our home!
I don’t just want my church family to know me
To have good neighbors, you have to be a good neighbor. Over the past several months especially with the pandemic we’ve been able to meet the people around us. I’ve loved knowing my neighbors by name and them getting to know us as well. For many years as we faithfully serve our local church, I have to be honest I neglected my neighbors. We as a family don’t desire to do that again in this season. Our prayer is that our neighbors would know exactly who we are and wouldn’t need to step inside a church to find out. May they know we’re available to pray, we enjoy their company, and our home is open to them.
There is power in proximity. So as you consider what to do tonight, I would pray you would consider your neighbors. You don’t have to pass out candy, but sitting outside and striking up a conversation with a family can lead to a moment of prayer. It can lead to the first step of engaging them with Christ.
I don’t think we need to be afraid or ensure that our non participation defines who we are as Christ followers on Halloween. It’s in our everyday that makes us different. It may be in how you share with your neighbor how God is carrying you through a tough time right now that makes you different and opens a relationship that God’s been waiting for you to shine bright in.