The story of Halloween for me has often been one of pretending I’m not home so trick or treaters leave me in peace. As a Community Pastor, I can tell you this isn’t a great way to model engaging with the community. We’re out doing surveys door-to-door, trying to chat with local people, and here they are knocking on ours! Let’s make the most of it.
Firstly, Ed Drew from Dundonald Church in London has written an excellent little article on how to think in a mission-minded way about Halloween. It’s well worth a read. Seriously, go read it now! Why not think about how it could help you if Halloween comes up in conversation with friends.
Secondly, chat about it with your kids. Recently in RoBoulRip they looked at the question, “Is Jesus stronger than the Devil?” (answer, yes!) by doing the story of Jesus and the man with lots of evil spirits. Chat about why we don’t need to be scared of scary things because Jesus is bigger and has beaten them all. Help them see why it isn’t a case of not celebrating something but celebrating something even better!
Thirdly, plan to engage with trick or treaters. Make a good impression on your neighbours by being friendly. Why not be the people on your street who give out the best sweets! The Good Book Company produce some brilliant tracts to hand out with your goodies. At Emmanuel on Sundays we’ll have copies of ‘A Friend In The Dark’ for people to take. Grab a few and keep them by the door for when people knock. It’s a fun and very gentle introduction to who Jesus is. You can preview it here. Give them some sweets then say, “If it all gets a bit scary, this’ll cheer you up.” Who knows, they might even read it while they gobble their sweets!
Fourthly, if you’ve got kids or have friends who do, why not come along to the Lighthouse Party which the Burley Connect Group are putting on? People in our group got chatting about what to do on Halloween and the idea came up to put on a party. Let’s not just say that we celebrate Jesus rather than Halloween, let’s do it! Under-9s are very welcome on Wednesday 31st October at 5-6:30pm. Invite your kids, their school friends, your neighbours, whoever! There’ll be party games and tasty food, and all the kids will go home with a party bag including a gospel tract. Chat to Libby Burley or Alena Deane if you’re interested in coming along.
Or perhaps you’d like to run something similar, maybe for slightly older kids. This is the kind of simple stuff we can be doing through our Connect Groups to get to know people in our area well and have a natural opportunity to mention Jesus.
There’s still a couple of weeks or so to go, but it’s good to plan ahead so we make the most of the opportunity. We really do have something worth celebrating in Jesus so let’s pray that, through us, light really would shine out in the darkness.