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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Redeeming Halloween




Halloween is a tricky, touchy subject in many churches. What do we do with this “holiday” that seems to celebrate the demonic but offers such great outreach opportunities?

In the fifteen years we’ve had children in the house, we’ve tried just about every option. One year, we even hid in the house with the lights off and hoped no one rang the doorbell.

For the last two years, however, we’ve approached this cultural observation differently. We’ve chosen to redeem Halloween—at least on our street—and use it to bless our neighbors. It’s a friendly, non-threatening way for us to meet our neighbors and for them to rub shoulders with real Believers.

Our approach involves:

Accessibility
I
We set up a table at the end of our driveway so we meet parents. If we were in the house, children would approach the door while parents hung back on the street. We want to get to know our neighbors, so we moved out to where they are.

2    Welcoming Spirit

We set up some chairs and hang out at our table all night. We ask people questions and try to have conversations rather than just “Happy Halloween!” with a wave.

      Adult treats

We offer muffins or cookies for the chaperones. If it’s warm, we have apple cider punch, and if it’s cold, we have hot cocoa. I make up a big batch of homemade cocoa so we can serve people small cups instead of mixing packets one-by-one. My recipe is much like this one except I add cinnamon. (I just Googled this. It’s not an endorsement of the site.)

      Music
We make a playlist of fun, clean Halloween-ish songs and put it on shuffle. We have a little, inexpensive Bluetooth speaker so we can just use a phone for this.

 **GOOD CANDY**

This is the most important part! If you’re going to do this, don’t be the cheap-skate house with the bad candy. Invest in the good stuff, be generous with it, and you’ll be the house people want to visit at other times of the year.

In one night, we met dozens of people from our neighborhood—people who generally drive into their garages and are never seen again. What an opportunity! The second year, people told us how much they enjoyed the year before and said they looked forward to coming our way again.

Our idea might not work where you live because of your church expectations or the greater culture of your area. But before you decide what to do for Halloween, pray for God’s leading and make sure you take advantage of Halloween rather than it taking advantage of you.


Question for Reflection:
How is God leading you to redeem Halloween this year? Will you be brave and follow His leading, even if it’s unexpected or a little out of character for you?

For some thoughts on discipling your children through Halloween, check out this guest post on my parenting blog.

Have you found fun ways to redeem Halloween in previous years? Please share your experiences in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!


Bio.

Carole Sparks still hasn’t found the perfect Halloween costume because there were no prominent women theologians in the Reformation. Her husband is threatening to go as Martin Luther this year and shave his head in a tonsure. (That’s where you shave the center and leave the sides.) We’ll see.

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