I was hosting a radio show a number of years ago, and during the month of October, I posed some questions to the listeners around Halloween. I simply asked if there was hope of redeeming this day for Christ?
How do they talk to their children about it? Do they allow their participation in it? Do they allow their children to wear costumes of any kind?
Calls ensued. Big feelings on both sides, some expressing outrage Christians would allow a child to participate in pagan rituals. Some saw it as an innocent exercise in total fun, confident they can filter for their child.
My co-host and I were moderating the conversation, listening for agreement, when one caller offered a point of view that has changed my thinking on Halloween forever.
“It’s my most relationally evangelistic night of the year,” he started. “I get a chance to sit on my driveway and look at my neighbors in the eye. I can ooh and ahh over their children, and go above and beyond to serve them adult snacks when kids come up for candy. It’s my hope to leave them a positive impression of a Christian I can build on later.”
I’ve never looked the same on Oct. 31st. I still don’t like ghost and witch costumes. I think if people really understood the reality of darkness, it wouldn’t be funny or a form of entertainment, but when I use what might have been intended for evil, instead to advance the kingdom of light, it feels a bit like redeeming.
So now, I offer coffee to the adults who come to my porch. I make small talk and try to remember who I engaged with so when Christmas comes around, I can offer them a plate of cookies and take another step towards community engagement.
It’s one of my favorite nights of the year, and when I ask questions “Which house do you live in?” or “How old is your little Elsa?” I hope they hear curiosity from someone who is interested in who they are.