I know lots of Christians who avoid Halloween. I did years ago. The Halloween church signs we just posted make that clear. I get it and even respect it, depending on how you handle it.
One of my churchy neighbors makes a point of turning on his lights so that everyone knows he is home, but then won't come to the door when trick-or-treaters come by. I guess it's his way of making a point and sticking it to the devil. That's not probably the best approach.
One the other hand, many churches put on wonderful events as Halloween alternatives, and I understand their goal. Some do it due to their convictions on Halloween and I respect the theological aspect of that decision. I've seen such events done well.
In some cases, such events are the focus for a community, particuarly in areas where driveways and front doors are too many steps apart, and I respect the missional aspect of that decision.
But as more and more of us live in neighborhoods, often surrounded by people we do not know, I do think there is a better way for many of us.
As such, here is my suggestion:
- Get a costume.
- Buy candy.
- Put costume on.
- Give candy out.
- Go get candy from your neighbors.
- Meet all your neighbors.
- Build on those new relationships.
Here are four reasons you might want to go trick-or-treating tonight:
1. There is no other night in the year when people you have not met will be coming to your door. You want to be there, meet them, and visit with them. If you are at a Halloween alternative, you miss your neighbors.
2. There is no other night when you get to go to your neighbor's door and introduce yourself without any awkwardness (only if you have kids—otherwise it's creepy and you should stay home and pass out candy). Tonight, you will meet people at your door and at their door—what an amazing opportunity.
3. You don't have to worship the devil to go up and ask your neighbor for candy. Choose your costume and your words carefully, and many Christians find this an opportunity, not an occult experience. I know the history of Halloween, but your neighbors don't, so don't assume they are participating in some dark ritual if it has lost all that meaning. (Now, if you are opposed to Easter Eggs, Christmas Trees, and the like, I would definitely not go out on Halloween or else you are being inconsistent to your convictions.)
4. You can meet more neighbors tonight—in one night—than any other day of the year. Don't miss the best opportunity you have each year to meet your neighbors. And, while you do, get their names and numbers and have them over for dinner. Get to know them, and start tonight.
Generally, I believe you can still do your spiritually named "Fall Festival" or "Reformation Day" celebration. Just do it at a different time. Halloween trick-or-treating might be the best opportunity you have to connect with the unchurched all year. Don't miss it.
I want you to follow your own conscience, but let me help you consider one aspect: The most missional thing you might do this Halloween is to go get some candy from (and become friends with) those neighbors you've not met all year.