Halloween is on the way, and as we all know, this particular holiday is kind of a grab bag of emotions and reactions. Well, it’s also a grab bag of candy and spider rings, but that’s another story. For some of us, Halloween compels us to feel a certain way or react a certain way about the origins of the holiday and the act of dressing up as something scary or evil. For others, Halloween is a fun reason to play dress up while candy is literally thrown at you. I understand both parties. I’ve fallen on both sides of the debate. But I think there’s some merit to the idea that Halloween, in spite of whatever we may think about it, can be an opportunity to move our few out.
Part of moving your few out is teaching them that faith in God isn’t supposed to be contained to our safe circles and nowhere else. Faith can certainly take root and grow in our small groups. But at some point, rubber has to meet the road, and our faith has to become action in order for it to really come alive. Being for our neighbors isn’t always an easy thing, but it’s a necessary thing. It’s a necessary thing because Jesus said we need to love our neighbors as yourselves.
There is no other holiday in our calendar year where people open their doors to strangers and where your neighbors come to you. Like I’ve said—I’ve been on both sides of the Halloween debate, and I completely understand where both sides are coming from. But there are some really great alternatives to typical Halloween activities that are still enjoyable all the while still accomplish the mission of loving on people.
Trunk-or-Treats are awesome, and if you have a group of kids or students that aren’t going to be trick-or-treating, consider participating as a group in a nearby Trunk-or-Treat. Decorate your trunk as a group, dress up, and spend the night serving your community.
Another option I’ve seen is for friends to get together at one person’s house with crockpots full of chili and hot cocoa to serve people who come for candy. They even set out tables and chairs for people to sit and rest. It’s a safe alternative to going door to door, and it’s a great way to tell your neighbors and strangers that we’re you’re there to serve them—even on a night like Halloween. And if you have kids or students that won’t be going door to door, you can consider doing something like this as a group.
Halloween can inspire different kinds of emotions and responses from us, and while they may all be valid, it’s still a great opportunity to show our small groups what it means to put our faith into action and put others before ourselves. So consider looking at it a little differently, challenge yourself to treat it as another opportunity to be for your neighbors, and then teach your few to do the same!