I believe that Halloween gives Christ followers an opportunity unlike any other celebration during the year. Before you stop reading, let me explain. Christmas and Easter, of course, celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and are my all-time favorite holidays (a conjunction of holy days). Thanksgiving celebrates God as our Provider, as well as for all His many blessings upon our lives. And though our culture has tried to remove the religious significance of each of these holidays by commercializing them, they still retain among the sparkly trappings the historical reality and significance of our faith.
Now how can I include Halloween in this hallowed camp?
Many Christians get the willies during Halloween (if you don’t know what the willies are, google “heebie jeebies”). At the very least it creates tension among Christians. Some find nothing wrong with it––”it’s harmless fun”––and go all out donning costumes of Spiderman, or Princess Elsa, or characters from the latest movie blockbuster. Others see it as a celebration of the dead, or worse, of the devil himself, and shun or avoid it entirely. After all, as Christians we celebrate LIFE, not death, right?
What other holiday in the year do we open our doors to our neighbors? Of course we may do this during any one of the Christian holidays, but the very nature of Halloween involves opening our doors, doesn’t it? Kids and parents don’t come up to our doors on Christmas and ask for gifts. Nor do they do this on Thanksgiving or Easter. But they do it on Halloween! Halloween is the one day where people open their doors to complete strangers and give them stuff.
Over the past several decades we have become more and more isolated in our neighborhoods. We have become a transient culture, always on the move, never rooting in communities. Many people don’t know who lives just a few doors away. Some never speak to their immediate neighbors. It’s sad business.
Halloween is a wonderful time for us to get to know those in our neighborhood. We invite neighbors into our homes, or we are invited into our neighbors’ homes. They may be brief encounters, but, with such, longterm relationships can be developed. “Hi, I’m so and so, I live just down the street. I’ve seen you many times (mowing the lawn, collecting the mail, etc. Truly, it is a time when bridges may be built.
My wife and I once lived in a neighborhood where there was only one Trick or Treater. Houses were far apart, and kids, being opportunistic entrepreneurs, did their candy grabbing in the big housing tracts. There was one family, however, that lived down the street from us and they had a little one that they would bring by our house. It served as an opportunity for us to get to know these people, and build a friendship with them.
And then there’s my wife’s sister and husband who live on a street that is closed down each Halloween. The residents barricade the street at both ends and then hang out together, introducing themselves to each other and chatting, while their kids go from door to door along the street in safety. How cool is that!?
Of course there will be Christians who have other plans for that night––trunk or treating, harvest festivals, or something else. However, I believe that if we choose to open our doors to the neighborhood that night we will have a great opportunity. Yes, we will see weird costumes. Some might be dark and even inappropriate. But the Bible says that we are children of light. What better time to shine our lights than on this night.
Remember the words of Isaiah 9:2 (NIV):
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
When Jesus entered the world it was a very dark world, but He is the Light of the world (John 8:12). As His children we, too, are lights, reflecting His glory, regardless of the darkness around us. The light of Christ shining on our smiling faces on Halloween night may be the only true light our neighbors will ever see.