Is it just me or does it seem as though fewer and fewer children are outside trick-or-treating on Halloween night? For the last few years, Missy and I have made an attempt to make Halloween special for the children living in our neighborhood. A few years back we created our infamous “Garage of Ghouls” letting children walk the gauntlet of ghouls (our teenage son and his friends) to receive candy from each. Seriously, getting seven pieces of candy at one house was a haul for any kid, let me tell you!
For last night, Missy put together a really scary “Behind the Black Curtain” porch for kids to walk behind to retrieve their candy. When they approached a pirate head floating in a sea of candy shadowed by a strobe light, Missy would release a life-sized ghost beside them. The screams were loud and the laughs that followed were even better. Now, before you start sending emails our way, we did have a bowl of candy out front for the wee-little-ones. We did want them to sleep some before turning sixteen.
Fun was had by all, but the reality remains there seems to be fewer and fewer families walking the streets on Halloween night. My observation got me to questioning. Why? Where is everyone? Why has Halloween lost so many of its participants? Was there something better on television? Did a new game come out for Xbox? Or, is somehow the church to blame?
Churches now offer an alternative to Halloween they call “Fall Festivals.” Now, I understand some of the reasons why they host them. Some want to provide a safe place for their children. Who can blame them? Others want to use the event as an outreach to their community. It is always a good idea when the church opens her doors wide for the community. Even here at Northhaven, we have our own version calling it a “Pumpkin Party” the week before Halloween.
At NorthHaven, along with other churches, we think offering a fall fellowship is important, but so too is the opportunity to mingle with neighbors. How often can you sit on your front porch and visit with neighbors you have never met before or seldom visit with throughout the week. Sometimes it feels as though we Christians have become such isolationists we forget the importance of relating to a world outside our church doors.
This just may be me agonizing over an apparent dying out of a tradition, but I cannot help but ask what would Jesus do about Halloween? Personally, I think he would cut some holes in a sheet, get some candy, and make a new friend! What do you think?