Halloween is just a few days away. As you are making your plans and prepping costumes for your little goblins, I wanted to also call us to consider how we might love our neighbors this Halloween. Regardless of how you feel about Halloween, it is one of the best days of the year to get to know your neighbors. They will literally be coming to your door!
So, in light of our September sermon series The Art of Neighboring I wanted to share a few ideas on how you can be intentional about loving your neighbors well on Saturday. These ideas are all things that different people/missional communities at Redeemer have done in the past.
1. Don’t just hand out candy, make it fun!
All the other folks in your neighborhood will open the door and drop a few pieces of candy in a trick-or-treater’s bucket. Do something different at your place to make it fun. Set up some games or activities in the front yard where kids can “play for a prize/candy” We’ve done this in several ways over the years including:
- Spin to Win– a simple game where kids would spin a wheel to determine how many pieces of candy they get.
- Shoot for Loot– we set up our mini basketball goal in the driveway and every kid got three shots. If they made a shot they got candy.
- Corn Hole/Washer Toss- Use your yard games like corn hole, washers, ladder golf to create a game for trick-or-treaters to win candy or prizes.
We’ve done these types of things over the last few years and have been stunned by how impactful these simple ideas have been. Our kids and neighborhood kids loved it. Our front yard became a gathering place for neighbors on Halloween. We’ve been able to get to know new neighbors and have significant conversations every year.
2. Create a simple photo booth in your front yard.
Every mom (and dad) wants a great photo of their kids to Instagram on Halloween night. Move a bench into the front yard, decorate with some pumpkins, hang some lights in a tree, and make a sign that says “Halloween 2015”. Just like that you’ve created a place where your neighbors can snap a family photo. Offer to take their picture for them. Ask them about their family. Get to know people! This is such a simple way to love your neighbors.
3. Give out “treats” for the adults too.
Hot chocolate, cider, even bottled water make great “treats” for adults who are chasing their kiddos around the block. Offer parents a drink, ask them their name, be a great neighbor. If you have a fire pit, move it to the driveway and allow folks to make S’mores. Both kids and adults love S’mores!
None of this is rocket science. You can do these things on your own in your neighborhood or together with others in your missional community. It is all fairly simple, yet it requires that we think with gospel-intentionality. It requires making yourself available to engage with people, getting to know them and having conversations. It requires a little more of your time and resources. In other words, it requires that we love our neighbors. It requires that we see ourselves sent to them, to serve, love, and bless with the love of Christ. It requires that we fix our eyes on Jesus this Halloween— the one who made himself available for us, sacrificed his resources for us, loved, served, and even died for us.
So, how is God leading you to love your neighbors this Halloween? What ideas do you have? What have you done in the past that you can share with others? Perhaps you have a story you could share. I’d love to hear them!