I was in meeting this week and the ice breaker question was what was your favorite Halloween costume? I immediately remembered the costume I loved the most. For the majority of my elementary Halloweens, and later into my teens, my mom didn’t really enjoy Halloween. She didn’t view herself as creative and we often didn’t have money to purchase costumes. She simply instructed us to find stuff around the house. It just wasn’t her thing. But one year she went all out. I don’t know why, but my older sister and I had matching witch costumes which was pretty radical for our family because we were conservative in our faith and my parents were at the time uncomfortable as Christians with the practice of Halloween.
Personally, I have always loved Halloween. I like having kids come to my door for candy and I loved helping my daughters choose their princess costume each year. Last year, I was new to my neighborhood. I put a table out in the driveway and had safer COVID treats for everyone who stopped by. Throughout the evening I met three of my neighbors, saw a few church people, and passed out a ton of candy to all kinds of kids from little ones to teenagers who were simply roaming the streets. It was an evening of meeting my community.
Have you ever considered Halloween as a space for practicing community? An opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ? I wish I could say that idea came to me naturally, but that would not be true. I read an intriguing article this year on the theology of Halloween. The author suggested that Halloween is an opportunity to practice Christian community. When was the last time you were given the opportunity to celebrate all children in your neighborhood, not just “your” children? When have you seen your neighborhood as an opportunity for intergenerational community? Maybe, all the folks who come to your door this year are a snapshot of what your neighborhood actually looks like. Wouldn’t that be worth seeing?
The apostle Paul in Romans 12 admonishes us to practice community with enthusiasm. “Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil and hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. 11 Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” What if we all saw Halloween this year as an opportunity to serve our neighborhood?