Sorry, I'm a little behind on this post. I know I've talked to some of you and you are getting into this with all the ideas. I'm amazed at how many people I know that had no idea about the true history of Halloween. I just keep thinking: "Why didn't someone tell me this a long time ago?" :) Ok, well here we go.
God tells us to share His good news every chance we get. He tells us to open our doors and our hearts to those who come. What if God were to arrange for your neighbors to knock on your door - and not just one, but the entire neighborhood - and all in one night? How can we not take advantage of that?
Here's what we did on Halloween 2 years ago. We and another family had a bonfire in our driveway and passed out hot apple cider, hot cocoa and candy. We set out hay bails, pumpkins and we all dressed up in a Western theme. It was a huge hit. Neighbors hung out at our fire, sipping their hot drinks, while the kids played. We lived on the corner of a cul-de-sac so some of the kids got to trick-or-treat to those houses while we chatted with their parents. We had a little sign that said "Light Up Your Neighborhood" and some asked what that was about. Well, that gave us a chance to share about what it means to be a light to others. Nothing too heavy...just planting a seed.
Other ideas/tips for welcoming trick-or-treaters:
- The treats you give out say a great deal about your family. (A few years ago, I wouldn't have agreed with this comment...I mean after all, kids go to many houses and how can they possibly remember who gives them what? And they get tons of candy so they really don't need big candy bars and such. Plus, I don't think it should matter how much you give especially if you don't have a lot of money.) All that being said, God does ask us to be generous givers from the heart. Although we don't have the extra money to spend on big candy bars, BUT a couple of jugs of hot apple cider don't cost that much and that made a BIG impact! And my mother and father-in law give out the King Size candy bars and believe me...the kids remember. You should see the look on their faces when they get to choose a King size candy bar from a tray. It's really something cool to see.
- Be known as a generous giver.
- If you want to offer a spiritual treat, make sure it is accompanied by a sweet treat. The last thing you want is to give something spiritual and have the first response be disappointment.
- Design & print a message on colorful paper, wrap it around the candy and secure it with tape or glue. Or use label stickers. A sample message might be: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8
- As you fill your jars of candy & turn on the lights or get ready to go outside to the end of your driveway, take time to pray as a family for all those who will come to your home. Ask God to give you just the right words for each person and to use this night to prepare the way for building relationships in which you can share His love.
Making the most of opportunities with children.
- Greet them with words that truly let them know they are welcome. For example, "We're so glad you came to our house."
- Ask their names and try to make mental note or write them down.
- Show interest by asking about their costumes.
- If you are wearing a costume, use opportunities to talk about it as they arise. Remember though, that you are there to build relationships, not to preach or try to change their views of Halloween.
Make the most of opportunities with parents.
- If parents are not coming to the door, bring your candy or cider to them.
- Introduce yourself and ask where they live.
- Show interest in them but keep it brief.
- Let them know how pleased you were to meet them and express interest in seeing them again.
Keeping the door open.
- Make note of the names of neighbors you meet.
- Begin to pray for those families by name.
- Ask God to give you natural opportunities to build on your Halloween introductions. Slow down and take advantage of those little opportunities too.
- Watch to see where God is working.
- Be prepared! If you sincerely want to reach out to others with the love of God in your own neighborhood, God will faithfully give you many opportunities.
I hope this gets the ideas going. As I mentioned before, most of this was taken from the book "Redeeming Halloween", by Wier & McCune. There are actually some fun party ideas in the book as well, but I just don't have the time to type them all out. I will have one more wrap up post in the next day or so. Please leave any other ideas you may have. Also, if you have any inexpensive costume ideas, I'd love to hear them. Remember...I mentioned earlier that I'm not the creative type. :)
Thanks for participating!