Halloween. What do we do with it? Many of my Christian friends have differing opinions, which are equally sound. Our family has waffled this way and that over the years, but has pretty much ended up with this. The kids dress up, we visit our beloved neighbors and beg candy, the kids get intensive practice in "please" and "thank you", and we eat way too many sweets for the next month or two. What's not to love?
When we are out trick-or-treating, I leave a pumpkin full of candy for trick-or-treaters to grab from if they come to our door. When we are home, I love greeting the little munchkins and dropping sweets into their bags. And I give candy to teens too. I figure if they take the trouble to come to my door and greet me (even greedily), I'll reward them with some yummies as well.
One year a neighbor boy came dressed in drag, along with his "interestingly" dressed friends. I did not react as he probably hoped, but made some nice comment about his hair color, introduced myself to his friends, and handed out more candy. He continued to visit our family over the years even though he was very troubled (to say the least), but somehow thought we were safe. Was it awkward? Ummm . . . yeah! But when God brings him to our door, we pray like crazy and try to be the best ambassador for our King that we can.
The way I figure it, my neighborhood is my ministry. I don't do much, but I can invest in relationships when I have the chance. We have older neighbors who truly look forward to seeing our kids on Halloween. They buy special treats just for my kids and enjoy seeing their newest costumes. We've met neighbors for the first time buy trick-or-treating their house. Other neighbors sit out in their lawns and we visit as we walk by. It is a great opportunity to connect.
This year we live in a different house in our same neighborhood. At a community meeting last week, a new neighborhood couple specifically asked Kevin if our kids would please come trick-or-treating to their house on Halloween. They said they'd never had any kids come by before. You bet we'll be there! I can't wait to meet them. We love our new home and next-door neighbors.
We have a few basic rules. Hold Mom and Dad's hands when we cross the street. Wait for everyone when we reach a doorway. If a kid forgets to say "thank you", Mom gets to keep the candy. We avoid the really creepy houses, stay with our kids at all times, and do not glory in evil or darkness. Instead, we focus on people and family and fun and candy. Don't forget about the candy! Because when it all comes down to it, we probably wouldn't be doing this without the candy. Shallow, I know. But true.
Whatever your family decides to do today, I hope you have a fun and relaxing day. This day is ours as much as any other. Have a wonderful day and night!