Making the Most of Halloween
With Halloween being less than a week away, you’ve likely already made your plans. You’ve already stocked up on bags of candy to give trick-or-treaters. You’ve already carved your pumpkin with a Tiger Paw or a Palmetto Tree. You’ve already perfected your excuse for dressing up like a Star Wars character (“It’ll be a fun memory for my kids!”). But with all of that done, or at least in progress, let me give you one more thing to think about for Halloween Night: make the most of it.
No, I’m not talking about finding the best costume party to attend and I’m not picturing you going all-out with decorating your yard (though those things may be involved!).
How do you make the most of Halloween? Use it for the advancement of the gospel in your neighborhood.
What other night of the year do your neighbors knock on your door, greet you with a smile, and ask you to give them something? Let me encourage you to take advantage of this unique night, this unique opportunity, for the gospel to go forward among your neighbors.
I was personally shaped in my thinking on this from my professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern Seminary, Dr. George Robinson. In his evangelism class back in the fall of 2008, Dr. Robinson pressed this point home to us. In his own blog posts on the topic over the years, he’s continued to encourage believers to see Halloween as an opportunity for building relationships with their neighbors and having (or taking steps towards) gospel conversations.
In a blog post last year, Dr. Robinson shared how his family, along with their small group from their church, welcome their neighbors each Halloween:
For the past decade we have chosen to stay at home and celebrate the fact that Halloween gives us a unique opportunity to engage our neighbors by being present with them in our community. In fact, last year we had over 700 children and 350 adults come to our doorstep on that one night. And we were ready for them!
Each year we set up a tent in the driveway and give away free coffee and water to the adults who walk with their children. Our small group members and some of my students who live in places where trick or treating isn’t an option man the tent and engage in conversation, giving each of my neighbors a gospel booklet (“The Story” gospel booklets are available with a Halloween distribution rate here: https://store.spreadtruth.com). The children are in one line getting candy – even if they are dressed as witches or goblins! Meanwhile, the parents are in a parallel line where we serve hot coffee and cocoa, offering gospel booklets and Bibles to those who don’t have one in their home. In all, we gave away nearly a thousand pieces of literature that night, each with our name, e-mail address, and a website (www.yourpartinthestory.com for adults and thestorymaker.com for children) where they can get more info.
Over the years I’ve run into people throughout my community who recognize me as “the one who gives treats to adults on Halloween.” We’ve had people show up at our church’s welcome tent mentioning they learned about us through one of our member’s similar hospitality events in their neighborhoods. The bottom line is that there’s no better way for we who follow Christ to make him known than intentionally being present and “riding the rhythms” of our communities.
It may look different for you, but that’s a great starting point to consider how you might engage your neighbors on Halloween night. The gospel tracts that are mentioned in Dr. Robinson’s post are available for free at MCBC. You can stop by this week or come to the Welcome Center on Wednesday evening and pick up as many as you’d like to give them out. Let me encourage you to give them with the best candy on the block, with a friendly smile, and as much as you can, with a quick conversation with your neighbors. (And yes, there are great ways to welcome Trick-or-Treaters even with Covid considerations!)
So let’s make the most of Halloween, being present in our neighborhoods and being a blessing to our neighbors, building relationships, and looking for opportunities to share the love of Christ.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.