When I was a kid, Halloween was always a very special night in our neighborhood. We would dress up in costume, go trick or treating and we would always make sure we went to the door of the “good house” on our block. The good
house was the one whose owner handed out the best treats. On my block it was the one that put in our bags a full-size candy bar.

For years as a church pastor, I would personally use Halloween as an outreach opportunity. If the Halloween experience is focused on fun and fantasy rather than on the darkness of the occult, I believe there is no harm in it. Kids love to dress up and pretend. Children in costumes that represent princesses, pirates and positive comic book heroes are harmless. Going door-to-door asking for treats is a fun neighborhood pastime. And as a tradition we always tried to make a point of being the “good house’ on our block.

Our family would light the outside of our home brightly, shining a large spotlight on the garage that says, “Trick or Treaters Welcome Here”. We then wait in anticipation for kids to come by so we can give them handfuls of candy,
fuss over their costumes (especially if they are not gruesome or violence promoting) and generally love on them.

Instead of handing out one or two pieces of candy to each costumed trick or treater, we would let the kids dig both of their hands into a wash tub filled with a variety of their favorite candy. Like the crane amusement in an arcade,
the kids would try to pick up as much candy as they can possibly scoop. You should see the wide eyes of the kids as they plunge their little hands into the tub and come up overflowing with candy. Rumor has it that those who have come to our door year after year, will strategize as to how they can corral even more candy than they did the year before. Now in the wake of a pandemic, I would suggest reaching your own vinyl gloved hands into the tub on behalf of the kids.

We orchestrated this ritual, not to spoil their appetites, rot their teeth or promote greed, but to convey to the kids something about the overwhelming generousness and graciousness of our loving God. When kids come to our door, we tell them how special they are and how God wants to pour out his blessing on them. I also put into their Halloween sacks a Good News tract. In each tract would be some good clean jokes (What did the hot dog say after he crossed the finish line first? I’m the wiener!). The tract also would convey the message to the child that God loves them and has a plan for their lives. We also would put a sticker on the back of the tract with information about our church and the times of our kid’s ministry meetings.

At this time of year some churches may host a Harvest Party, others a Trunk or Treat event in their parking lot, but whatever you choose to do for Halloween, reach out to your neighborhood with love as you lift up the light of the world in our ever-darkening culture.