Halloween: The Chance for Churches to Go Into Their Communities

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Christians are really good at co-opting things. We can turn any movie title or brand name into a cheesy Christian alternative. We’ve created our own musical genre that’s not defined by music. Much of our modern Christmas traditions were co-opted from pagans.

Yet Halloween remains a mystery.

Maybe the evil associations have scared us away. But you’d think there are enough self-righteous pastors who would simply say, “Challenge accepted.”

We even have healthy and legitimate alternatives to focus on—All Saints’ Day and Reformation Day. Yet still the church struggles.

I don’t get it. It’s the one day of the year when people actually want you to come to their door and demand things.

And the best churches can muster is a Jesus Jack-o-lantern or handing out lame tracts with the candy. Or we invite kids to play in a parking lot and accept candy from strangers passed out of a yawning car trunk (I don’t like horror movies, but that sounds like the beginning of a pee-your-pants slasher flick). The fall festival is great, but sometimes I wonder how ‘go into all the world’ became ‘if you build it they will come.’

Halloween is the ideal holiday to go door to door and connect with your neighbors.

You have an open invitation to knock on their door, and they’ll reward you with candy for doing it! If you’re nervous, you can put a bag over your head and it’s celebrated. It’s an introvert’s dream.

Instead of organizing yet another giant event and doing so much work to bring people to your church, why not send your church out on Halloween?

  • Your congregation could trick-or-treat in the church’s neighborhood. It’d be an ideal youth group or even children’s ministry event. Adults who don’t have trick-or-treat age kids could volunteer as chaperones.
  • You could encourage your congregation to trick-or-treat in their own neighborhood. Instead of weird evangelism tricks like trading candy for tracts or dressing up like Jesus on the cross (no, just no), tell them to be neighborly. Say hi. Introduce themselves.
  • Send a group to the local homeless shelter. Pass out some socks and toothbrushes with the candy.
  • Instead of organizing your own Halloween event, be a part of whatever your community is doing. Join other businesses and organizations on the ‘trick-or-treat trail’ and be visible in your community.
The church has an opportunity with Halloween. And we’ve probably blown it by overdoing an event, going too far the other way with an awkwardly religious alternative, or just skipping it entirely.

Even if your church has dropped the ball, you can go talk to your neighbors and be a part of your community. And get free candy for doing it.

Article taken from and written by Kevin Hendricks. When Kevin isn’t busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With ReadingThe Stephanies and all of our church communication books.

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