When our boys were little tikes, we would take them to our church on All Hallows Eve for a fun-filled night of games and candy. We did this for years. I repent. We missed some major opportunities.
Halloween has become one of those holidays that evangelicals have shied away from. Another way for us to withdraw from the world. We are increasingly looking like our fundamentalist forefathers, whose cries of separation from the world marked them more than love.
How often do you get children to willingly come to your house—children you have never met before, children who are eager and willing to accept the gifts you have for them? What an opportunity for the gospel! Yet increasingly evangelical churches are having their own ‘Fall Fun Festival’ in place of Halloween. It’s certainly safer, but so is living in a cave.
Years ago, before we had children and before the Christian alternative to Halloween had become popular, my wife and I lived in the worst slums of Dallas. We bought a house for one dollar (yes, really), and lived there for almost four years. The first Halloween we erected a haunted house inside our home. Kids came from all over to enter the makeshift cardboard tunnel, scream as they encountered various amorphous ghoulish delights, and come out on the other end with their fears relieved. We then gave them a pack of candy (some primo stuff, guaranteed to rot their teeth), stapled in a small sack with a gospel tract attached. The next day, some parents came back to our house and wanted to know more about the gospel.
Regardless of what you think of our haunted house idea, at least recognize that Halloween offers us an engraved invitation to share the gospel. Nowadays, parents are too wary to let their kids go into a stranger’s home and crawl through the dark in a cardboard tube. But the opportunity is still there. We now give the kids in our neighborhood the very best candy (full candy bars, rather than the little bite-sized pieces). They remember us. We also don’t turn away kids from our neighborhood who are selling Girl Scout Cookies. And I stop at lemonade stands in the summertime when little girls are charging outrageous prices for sugar water. I pay full price and give them a tip. We want to be known as the ‘soft touch’ family. Anything we can do to make the gospel attractive and our home a place where children and their parents know that something here is different, that this is a place where love is truly felt. So, if you’re in the neighborhood, drop by this Halloween. Our lights will be on. Better yet, stay home and turn on your own lights. A golden opportunity awaits you.