The last time I went trick-or-treating was at age 8. After that year we started attending a different church that had Harvest Festivals on the night of Halloween, so from then on I never went trick-or-treating again.
When we lived overseas a few years ago we did a fun trick-or-treating adventure in our apartment with some good friends. The weather outside was dreadful, and we couldn't go walking through the Western neighborhood nearby. So we had to improvise! We "walked" with our kids in our hallway while our husbands answered the "door" of each bedroom to give candy in a funny costume. Sitora was Tinkerbell and her friend Titus was Peter Pan. It was absolutely adorable. Pictures below:
Last year on October 31st we were driving home from Missouri after SuperDan's sisters (yes, plural) got married. (A wedding for Saturday and Sunday- it was a whirlwind of fun!) So we weren't able to do anything that year for trick-or-treating.
This year we moved to a new town, and I have been determined to get involved in the community. We have taken many steps in this direction already. (Volunteer at the local food pantry weekly, help other ministries with practical needs, meet with other pastors and leaders, etc...) Since our church is planning a Harvest Festival later this week, I thought it would be neat to go trick-or-treating around town on October 31st. I couldn't wait to plan our costumes, and finally settled on: Dan- Clay Matthews (Packers football player), Me- Vintage girl, Sitora- Cowgirl, Peter- Tigger.
For a few weeks now I've been talking to Sitora about Halloween- how we don't like the scary things. Ghosts, goblins, witches- we explain how Jesus doesn't like those things and they scare little children. But we explained that we love harvest time, pumpkins, candy, corn, Autumn, and dressing up. I believe it's possible to find the fun in the holiday and not focus on the evil things. I know you may disagree with me on this, and that's okay. We can agree to disagree :)
We had so much fun as a family walking up and down Main Street going inside all the quaint shops. We even saw our friend who comes to our youth group- his dad is the Sherrif and together they were passing out candy in front of the police station. We hopped in our car and stopped at friends' houses. One friend invited us in and had presents and treats for our kids waiting inside. It was so sweet and the kids loved it. We also ran into our good friends and their children along the way, which was a fun surprise! I looked around at all the kids and parents walking up and down the streets laughing and I thought, "Wow, I haven't experienced this in 20 years."
Once we got back home we were ready to hand out candy and flyers about our church's Harvest Party on Saturday. Sitora and I organized all her candy (well... more like I did) while SuperDan had someone over from church. We all had a fun night together.
For Christians I know this is a controversial subject (just like politics, I guess). My husband and I are in a place right now where we are constantly thinking through everything we do as Christians, as a church, etc... We want to make sure that our choices aren't made with a stuffy religious attitude. We don't want to do something just because "that's how it's always been" or because that's what is expected of us. We want everything we do to have a purpose, a reason behind it. You could bring up a mountain of religious subjects to me today and we could discuss their relevance and whether they are man-made rules or God's way. I think it's good for all of us to do this from time to time. To reevaluate what we do and why we do it as the body of Christ. It's refreshing and challenging to say the least.
For us this year, trick-or-treating was a way to get involved in the community and make our faces known. What other time of the year can we knock on people's doors and always be received by a happy face? A lot of people in town already know we are here as pastors (in a small town word travels fast) and we want people to know we are approachable and loving.
If you came to my house today you would see decorations of pumpkins, leaves, pilgrims, and pine cones. You won't see any hint of evil decorations. We don't say "Happy Halloween" we say "Happy Harvest" and talk about that side of this time of year. Do I judge someone else who does? Nope. Do I refuse to walk into their house? Nope. Do I still love them and think they are great people? Yep.
Well, all that to say, we had a fun night. I am praying with all my heart that many children and their families come to our Harvest Festival this weekend to have good, clean fun, and also to hear the good news about Jesus :) I hope that many families without a church home will consider getting involved in the different ministries our church provides. My heart is so see people free from their sin, to walk in victory and love, and in turn receive their calling in life and serve the Lord!
I'm also excited because we get to wear our costumes AGAIN. And this time my husband will be wearing a blonde wig to top off the Clay Matthews costume, if we get one. (We couldn't find one in time for the 31st). Post-Halloween clearance candy, here we come!
Happy Harvest everyone :)