Antioch Times

Where the Great Plains meet the Ends of the Earth

What I learned on Halloween 2011

“Why should the Devil have all the good candy?”

That’s the upshot of what I learned.  Let me explain…

Christians usually approach Halloween in one of two ways: we either hide in our basements or we hand out tracts.   We try to escape Halloween, to not give in to the culture, to not celebrate evil, or for some other reason just avoid the night altogether.  Others take the opportunity to pass out tracks – we offer a piece of candy but stuff in an invitation to worship or some other gospel writ.

I’m normally in the first camp.  I loathe Halloween.  We would, on occasion, hide in the basement or take the kids out to a movie – anything to avoid the night.  I had my reasons – In California, the devil was seriously glorified where we lived and in Michigan I just tired of being a candy dispenser.

But this year, I trust by God’s grace, two things changed my thinking:

The first was a post on John Piper’s Twitter feed that referenced counsel from Jeff Vander Stelt.  He basically says, “Serve the best candy on the block.”

  • Give out the best Candy. Please, don’t give out tracks or toothbrushes or pennies…kids are looking for the master loot of candy. Put yourself in their shoes.
  • Think of the Parents. Consider having some Hot Apple Cider and pumpkin bread or muffins out for the parents who are bringing their little kiddos around the block. Make your entry-way inviting so they want to come closer and hang for a bit if possible

Second, brother pastor and staff member, Bob De Boer, shared with me that in his previous church, the church set aside resources to have church members grill hotdogs and serve them to the neighborhood on Halloween.

So, Ann and I decided to go for it.  We had a blast.  We turned our driveway into a Lambeau Field tailgate party (minus the booze, of course).  We served hotdogs and handed out candy.  It was an absolute blast.  If we didn’t know a name, we’d ask.  We got to know the people who came to our ‘hood.  One fun moment came when kids at the end of the block ran into their friends coming the other way.  They screamed, “Get to that house over there- they’ve got hotdogs!”  A few parents got out of their cars to talk.  And one man I will not forget quickly – he wore hunger in his eyes and was immensely grateful for the small gift of a hotdog.

And, we even served a Viking fan or two.  How’s that for mission!

I don’t know if we’ll get to do it next year, but it made me want to think of ways to tap into cultural moments to be missional.

Happy All Saints Day!

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6 responses to “What I learned on Halloween 2011

  1. Troy VB November 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Nice work Jon!

  2. CraigBeaty November 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Thumbs up John! Good idea for next year (if I’m home). Wish we had made it by!

  3. Jody November 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Great Idea Jon! I have two boys, four and five who dressed as Transformers. Here in Sheldon the businesses all hand out candy first and then the neighborhoods follow later . It is a flood of kids and young parents, so on such a great evening as it was, I joined the family and we met up and walked with a few of our church families and their kids. We had a great time seeing friends and making new friends. The highlight was taking our boys through the retirement community of Fieldcrest, where all the residents gathered in the foyer to see the kids. I have to say I have never considered Halloween in our context to be a holiday celebrating evil, although I recognize the history behind it, but still not evil in our context. Maybe a little mischief though.

  4. Pingback: Sunday’s Coming! ~ November 6 | TrinityOC Blog

  5. Laird Edman November 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    OK, I don’t want to be one of “those people” but . . . isn’t it “tract” rather than “track”? Sorry, my history as an English prof coming out . . .

    But surely it is evil to dress up in Packer duds.

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