As holidays go Hallowe’en is one of the weirdest ones. There are lots of theories on where it came from but most centre on the anticipation of All Saints Day (New Year’s Day on the Gaelic Calendar) on November 1st. Families would disguise themselves to keep evil spirits from recognizing them during the last night of the year. In short, there is plenty of irreligious tradition and bad practice to make this one of my least favourite holidays as an adult. The candy thing is good but the whole macabre side of the holiday I can do without. In my neighbourhood we have someone who has decapitated heads on pikes and corpses lying in his front yard. Nice.
I know in the tradition of Churches of Christ we have struggled with the observance of Christmas but for me Hallowe’en takes the cake. If Christmas has diverged from it’s greater purpose, Hallowe’en never had one; if Christmas is a bit off the path, Halloween is ‘down the hill and over the fence’. Hallowe’en couldn’t find it’s way back on the path with a compass and a flashlight.
A great shift in my thinking came last year at this time while I was ranting about my distaste for Hallowe’en with my friend Jim. He dismissively responded, “Nonsense, my whole neighbourhood sends their kids to my door and I get to meet each one of them. I talk to my neighbours more on Halloween than any other day of the year.”
What a great purpose for Halloween! It is a great ‘Get to Know Your Neighbours’ Holdiay just waiting to be used. While I certainly understand those who do not observe the day, I think it is a waste of an opportunity to reach out to the families who live around us. Turning your lights off and parking in the garage does not present a friendly face in your neigbourhood.
No matter what evangelistic approach you choose to take, nothing happens without relationship. Matt Chandler pastor of The Village Church calls it, “paying relational rent”. I was convicted by Jim’s comment that I was not ‘paying the rent’ with my neighbours. I don’t invite them to church because I don’t know them.
Last year Julie used Hallowe’en to figure out a few names and visited with our kid’s parents. This year we are doing it big! Let’s put the ‘Hallow’ (or Holy) back in Hallowe’en this year and build relationships for Christ.
P.S. see this