In a couple of days the cute little Ghouls and Goblins will be roaming the streets of most of the neighbourhoods in North America (and wherever else Halloween is a thing). Little Elsa, and Buzz Lightyears will ring your doorbell, and say those magic words, which bring a smile to most people’s faces, “Trick or Treat.” The interaction lasts only a minute, but goes something like this:
Kids: “Trick or treat!”
Homeowner: “OoooOoo, and what have we got here.” *looks at all the costumes* “We have a blah, blah, and blah.” *does her/his best to name the costumes, and gets about 2/3 of them*
*kids get a candy or two plunked in their bag/pillowcase/plastic pumpkin*
Kids: “Thank you!” *usually said while running down the steps to go to the next house*
I know there are a handful of cranky people on Halloween, but for the most part, it is a happy, and fun filled time.
I have said more than once, “If [most] people acted like they did on Halloween all year, the world would be a much happier, and friendlier place.” I am not talking about giving out candy all the time (but that would be nice too), but I mean the friendliness people embody at that time of year. People throw parties, and give out candy. They are friendly to their neighbours, and invite people to their homes (unspoken invitation), and give out gifts to those who ring their bells. As people walk down the street, people smile at strangers, and get to ooh and awe at costumes. It is one of the most friendly times of the year.
Now, while there are some holdouts on the grounds of being a Grumpy Gus, there really aren’t any groups of people who hate this particular holiday. Except of course, some Christians. Now, I grew up in a Christian home, and I was lucky enough to not have parents who hated Halloween. I can assure you, my dressing as a piece of pizza did not constitute a contract for my soul, nor did my getting free candy. Not all my friends were so lucky. Some of their parents were not just quietly saying, “We don’t celebrate this.” They were damning anyone who would do so, and their parents as unfit.
Now, I know there are different levels of rejection of Halloween to some Christians, from quiet, to angry street corner yelling, but the bottom line is, “Why”.
“It is the devil’s holiday.”
In its origins, I won’t argue against this, there are claims for, and against. Don’t really care. Now, it is not [mainstream anyways]. Christmas comes from pagan roots, and yet it was turned to be something different than its beginnings.
Why wouldn’t Christians want to take this opportunity to get on board with the community spirit. Help bring joy to people. To steal (and mangle) a line from Elf, “The greatest way to spread any cheer, is giving candy to all who are here.” What gives a better message about Christianity to others:
A. A friendly face who offers a smile, kind words, and candy to a family when they knock/ring at the door,
B. A grumpy person who leaves a not about the sinfulness of children dressing up, and parents should be ashamed.
Short thought on renaming it, “Harvest festival,” or whatever, not necessary, and really keeps the people you (should) want to reach away from you event.
This is a time of year when you don’t have to have your message tied to a holiday specifically (Easter, Christmas), but instead, offer your message along with full sized candy bars, and cans of pop (soda). Why not make your house the house all the kids are excited to go to each Halloween, because you have the best candy. Buy a bag of elastics at the dollar store, and strap a loving tract (not one of those fire and burning stick people ones), or a little Gospel of John to whatever you are giving out.
Final thought, don’t be the house to hand out just tracts, because that is a real jerk move. Seriously, nothing will make people not care more than just getting a tract, instead of the candy they were expecting. Jesus may have preached a message, but he also provided for people’s needs/wants (water to wine, loaves and fishes, healings, etc…). If Jesus were here, I would venture a guess he would give out great candy.
As usual, this was written as I thought of it. I don’t tend to go back and rewrite, please forgive the rough edges.