Okay. I admit it. I had two seasons where I darkened our doorstep, turned off most lights, and ignored the doorbell on Halloween as a protest to its darker elements.
As a Christian, it once seemed a way to "act naturally" and abstain from what seemed another oxymoron -- that of having a "happy Halloween."
Some of it was my disdain for its satanic associations. Some of it was an excuse to save a few bucks.
I would slump on the sofa, chomp some red licorice, and watch television while my wife said good grief and took our 2-year-old son to her mother's for some neighborhood fun.
That was then. Now, a decade later, I look to engage the culture and not simply retreat.
John Fisher, in an article for CCM magazine entitled "Halloween: Trick or Treat?" writes, "Is this just one more time when we Christians isolate ourselves from culture for religious reasons apparent only to us? Have we really thought through what our dark houses are saying to the rest of the block?"
A Chance to Get to Know Your Neighbors
Through the example of others, prayer, some reading and thought, I have personally come to view Halloween as an ideal time to build a relational bridge with unbelieving neighbors.
When else do people you don't know come and knock on your door - at least without having something to sell you? If you know how to help someone come to know Jesus, then it is you who hold the goods.
By approaching Halloween with some thought and intention, you can more comfortably talk with someone about your Christian faith at a later time.
How to Treat Those Who Come to Your Front Door
- Actively Plan. Ask God what He might have you to do this Halloween. Consult ideas for Halloween or do some research on your own.
- Surf the Web or talk with Christian neighbors or friends for creative ways you might use the event to positively grow relationships with others. Think of positive ways to help your neighbors extend their stay at your home.
- Don't Hide: Allow the lights of your home and your persona to reflect the light of Christ in your heart. Be friendly. A 30-second conversation is not to be equated with presenting the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, yet don't underestimate the power of even a warm smile, a sincere compliment, or a brief introduction.
- Don't Preach: Your neighbors aren't coming for a sermon. But Halloween can be a great time to get acquainted, share some laughs, or even mix-it-up with non-Christian families you might already know.
- Don't Trick; Do Treat: This is not the night to be frugal. Christians have opportunity to practically show the love of Christ through providing the best "treats" and no "tricks." Perhaps provide some candy that sets you apart as being a bit more generous than the rest.
- Be Understanding: Not all believers are of one opinion on what is the appropriate way to approach Halloween. If a fellow believer is unable in good conscience to participate or embrace a Halloween activity, it is right not to pass judgment.
Romans 14:3 reminds us: "Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him" (English Standard Version).