Loving Your Neighbors on Halloween
As Christians we are all familiar with the command to love our neighbors. We know that we should look for opportunities to show love. We should desire to be known as people of love. Along the same lines, we should all be looking for opportunities to build relationships that will open a door for the Gospel. Well, this week you have an opportunity to do both, and it has already been organized for you!
This Wednesday evening many of your neighbors will be knocking on your front door, hoping you will answer. People who may not approach you any other time of the year, who may look the other way when you drive by or pass on the sidewalk, will stand on your front porch and ring your doorbell. Whether they know it or not, they are asking you to love them and their children well. The question is, what will you do with this opportunity?
Or, maybe you have kids who are eager to dress up and go door to door. Guess what, people who would never open the door any other day of the year are eagerly awaiting your visit! That family down the street that you have been thinking about introducing yourself to all year won't be surprised if you ring their doorbell this Wednesday evening, in fact, they are expecting you to! (And they will probably give you a treat!)
With this in mind, here are some things to consider as you plan for this once a year opportunity.
- Plan to Be Home - This is easy. Plan to be home on Wednesday night and turn on the porch light. If you do, it is very likely that your neighbors will stop by!
- Be Friendly - The nature of Halloween is that people will be going door to door and will see lots of faces, but it doesn't take much to stand out. When you answer the door, smile, show them that you are glad they stopped by.
- Be Generous - Let's be real, kids want treats and everyone knows the difference between obligation and generosity. The goal is not to hand out the most expensive candy, but to be generous. Either through quantity or quality show love through your generosity. (If you don't want to give out candy find another creative treat that your neighbors and their kids will be glad to receive).
- Be Creative - There are many ways to show love through what you pass out. Consider including a note with the treats (i.e. Love the Smith Family at 524 Oak Street; We love you and are glad you came by; We love because God first loved us,). Be willing to think outside the box and find a way to show that you care about the people who come by.
- Be Willing To Speak - You may not have this opportunity with everyone, but be willing to have a brief conversation. If you recognize a neighbor but have never met them, introduce yourself. Ask them how long they have been in the neighborhood, ask about the kids and their ages, talk about their costumes, let them know you are glad to meet them, etc. If you have the chance, use the opportunity to start a conversation. (But also be respectful if it is clear they want to keep moving!)
- Leave the Door Open - I don't mean literally. What I mean is, make it clear to your neighbors that you hope to see them again. Let them know that they are welcome to knock on your door or ask you for a favor. Find a way to show that you desire to be "neighborly." This is a dying tradition but it can be one of greatest ways to form a relationship.
These are just a few suggestions, there are probably many other good tips for loving your neighbors well on Halloween. If you plan to take your kids out, some of these same tips can be applied - be friendly, be willing to speak, leave the door open. In addition, show gratitude and encourage your kids to do the same. Just like we want to be loving hosts, we should strive to be loving guests.
Also, if you aren't going to be home, consider leaving a note on the door and a bowl of candy (sorry we missed you, help yourself to a treat). This is an easy way to show love even if you aren't able to be home. (It's possible that one kid will take it all, but that's okay, the goal is love).
This really is one of the best nights of the year to show love to your neighbors, let's plan to love well and pray that God will be honored as we seek obey His commands.