8 Ways For Churches To Respond To Halloween
Churches are highly resistant to Halloween, for a range of good reasons. I won’t preach to the converted on all the worrying aspects of Halloween. But if our response is to hide behind locked doors and closed curtains in darkened rooms are we missing out on a fantastic opportunity to engage missionally in our local community?
The interesting thing about Halloween is that it is the one day a year when neighbors (who often in reality are total strangers to one another) will actually interact with many of the families in their neighbourhood. Neighbours who never speak will find themselves accompanying kids on the annual ritual of trick or treating.
Here’s 8 alternatives to hiding away this Halloween:
1. Pray. Prayer-walk the neighbourhood several days before Halloween if you are genuinely concerned about the focus on the dark side during Halloween. Pray during Halloween night. Pray that God would show you the needs of those around you and how your family can meet those needs. If you aren’t necessarily good at engaging in conversation the least you can do is pray for your local community.
2. Be Hospitable. Don’t be the house that turns out the lights and shuts the window blinds and posts an angry note on the front door. Instead, be warm and inviting. Greet children and their parents warmly and be generous trick or treat victims. It’s not every day that your local community comes knocking at your door, what a wonderful opportunity to build relationships!
3. Go trick-or-treating with other neighbours. Our kids are much better at meeting new people than we are. Arrange for kids in your street to go around as a group and provide safety for them. You don’t have to do the whole gory horror thing, just engage in the fun level (which is where most kids are at during Halloween).
4. Be Outstanding. Most kids expect small lollies when they go to each door. Instead, be known as the house that goes above and beyond with generosity. You can guarantee they’ll be back next year. Christians need to upend the apple cart of expectations about them being purse lipped fun killers.
5. Do a reverse trick-or-treat. Do the unexpected as you go out trick-or-treating by giving treats to your neighbours instead. Get baking and give it the personal touch. This will make an impact with your neighbours as they respond to your kindness.
6. Host your own party. You can take control of Halloween by hosting your own party. You will have people turn up in all sorts of gory costumes but at least you know what will be happening at your party. This is a great opportunity to meet your neighbours and build relationships of trust.
7. Do an ‘Athens’. Surrounded by statues and tributes to unknown gods in Athens Paul used this as an opportunity to relate the Gospel (Acts 17). Be creative a write a tract helping people understand the origins of Halloween and highlight the positive meaning. Use the modern day concentration on the dark side to highlight the victory of Christ on the cross over darkness and how light can enter our lives.
8. Alternatively run a special Halloween event or service at your church and rediscover the early Christian roots and meaning of the festival of All Saints.