by Matt McKee
It’s that time of year when leaves start changing color, temperatures start to cool down, and football is in the air. It is also the season when churches have to decide what to do with Halloween. Do we host a fall festival? A Halloween alternative? A Christian “haunted” house with heaven at the end? Trunk or Treat? Do we schedule it on Halloween night, the weekend before, or the week after and tie it to a sermon series around the dangers of Harry Potter?
In 2015, Halloween falls on a Saturday and All Saints Day falls on a Sunday. It would seem as if Christians have been fighting this idea of the dead, bad spirits, and goblins for centuries. In fact, Halloween itself is short for “all-hallow-evening” or All Hallow Day, or what we also call All Saints Day. All Saints Day was moved to November 1 in 835, and therefore the eve before it was then considered Halloween. In 835, All Hallow Day was meant for the Christians to prepare themselves to celebrate All Saints Day.
In essence, this holiday has become a way for kids to dress up as their favorite TV or movie character and get candy . . . and for stores to sell scary things to people.
Here is what I don’t get. Why does it seem like churches are scared of this holiday? Why do we have to make an alternative to it? Instead, why can’t we embrace our community in a way that shows them how much we love them? Why are Christians not known for giving out the best candy?
My challenge for you and your church this year is to have an alternative to your Halloween alternative. Instead, equip every person who has ever attended your church with a way to talk about your church. Don’t make it a tract. Make it a huge Hershey’s Chocolate bar with the service times of your church. Make it a fire pit that you drop off to as many cul-de-sacs that you can in your zip code where you provide the firewood, the marshmallows, and graham crackers. Make it about serving as many people apple cider as you can. This year, empower your people to stay in their neighborhoods because everyone else is staying in their neighborhoods. Make it the biggest Halloween ever for your community and let your community know that your church is there to love them.