“Dad, can we go to that house first?”
No matter where we’ve lived, I hear that statement in some form every Halloween. “That house” is the house that imbeds itself into my children’s Halloween memories using the simplicity of creativity, hospitality, and chocolate.
I don’t just want to look forward to visiting “that house,” I want to become that house. So how do we do that?
Be creative, before and after. If you haven’t already, start decorating. If you aren’t on nextdoor.com, you really should be. Send out a note to the community via next door that lets trick-or-treating parents know what they can expect when they come to your house. Have a bonfire. Have a neighborhood party.
It’s simple to gather friends, but it takes some intentional effort to make certain that as we gather with our friends to love our neighborhoods we don’t leave our neighbors feelings like outsiders. Set up a table in the yard with games, candy, and cider for the adults. Don’t make it weird, but the visitors have preference both in attention and conversation.
If we can buy the latest and greatest tech products for ourselves, we can buy the best candy for our neighborhood kids. Chocolate is the key. Chocolate and peanut butter is even better. Rent or borrow a popcorn maker and make fresh popcorn.
Build on being “that house” every year. Outdo yourself and watch it spread to other neighbors. Plan to have leftovers. Send your Community Group home with the leftovers. Ask them to take it to their work and into other rhythms of life.
Pray for your neighbors and for your efforts to love them during Halloween, and capitalize on opportunities to confess Christ. Anyone can gather a group and love on a community during any holiday, but only Christians can explain why we love our neighbors and neighborhoods. The “why are you doing this” question will always come up. Don’t miss an opportunity to say, “We’re Christians, and as Christians, Jesus calls us to love the people we live with, so we thought this was a great way to do that.”