The Send Network Church Planting Blog

How to Use Halloween for Mission

October 27, 2014 by Alan Briggs
When I was growing up I attended a “Fall Festival” at my church each year. It was fun, it was safe, I got lots of candy, but it was not missional. Some Christian families do a near boycott of this night and condemn it. Some Christians fully embrace the night with their daughter dressed as a witch and their son as a zombie. Instead of condemning Halloween or fully embracing it, what about redeeming it? We can bring light into our neighborhoods in creative ways. Luke 11:33 says, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” Bringing light this Halloween is one of the greatest opportunities we have for mission this fall. There are two unique elements to Halloween that are only present once a year.
  • It’s the last night our neighbors are willing to be outside for the season. Because of the coming cold this is the last evening most of us will see our neighbors outdoors talking to neighbors, chasing their kids or lingering together until Spring.
  • It’s the only night every year people like people coming to their door. In a culture bombarded by door-to-door everything, knocks on the door are greeted with dread or anger. This is the only night when strangers are welcome at nearly every door in America. They are actually glad to see you there. Let’s take advantage of that!
For our family, Halloween presents an opportunity each year. The first Halloween we lived in our neighborhood was our first chance to meet everyone on the block and introduce our family. Of course, they all loved to see our cute kids in costumes. Here are a few ideas to redeem the night this year.

1. Focus Your Kids on People, Not Candy

One year as we were about to go house-to-house with superheroes in tow I talked with my daughter about how we wanted to stop and talk to people along the way. One of us lingered and chatted while the other continued the sprint around the block with our older kids.

2. Tailgate in your Driveway

Take the opportunity to “make a scene” in your neighborhood. Invite some friends who love Jesus over to bulk up the party, pull out your lawn chairs and a fire pit and bring out some hot cider. Some folks might only stop by for a few minutes, but others will hang for longer. This is a great chance to get your community group or missional community to support you in mission. They can help bring the food and fun.

3. Reverse Trick or Treat

Instead of just helping the kids fill a pillowcase with candy, what about arming them with some muffins or bread you made to give to neighbors? We can teach our kids the art of blessing our neighbors as we bake the bread with them and pray for our neighbors.

4. Get Creative

At the end of this summer the apples on the trees on our street grew bigger than ever before. As I noticed this I began to dream about making apple cider with them. Two neighbors gladly agreed to give us apples from their trees to make the cider. These were men I had previously had a hard time connecting with. This Halloween not only will the apple harvest be complete, but we will invite these two guys over to enjoy some of our homemade apple cider around the fire pit.

5. Plan a Follow-up Event

Plan to host a neighbor event shortly after Halloween. As you have a minute or two to chat at the door this is the perfect time to hand them a flyer to your upcoming gathering. It’s a more natural follow-up than “see you in the spring” and an un-intimidating way to invite folks. Dream about the possibilities for mission and have some fun along the way.

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