It’s that season of the year when pumpkins dot the landscape and leaves continue to change color and prepare us for the next season. It’s also a season of costumes and candy.
I’m not opposed to churches that offer Fall Festivals or Trunk or Treat activities. These are often safe places for families to gather, to bring their children, and open the door of outreach to the community at large. For my own family, this is a great option since we live in an area where children rarely stop by our end-of-the-road house that isn’t in a suburban neighborhood. But this hasn’t always been the case.
Several years ago, I was having a conversation with a co-worker who headed up evangelism in my ministry setting. Both of us had children still at home and both of us lived in busy neighborhoods where children often made their way to our front porches in search of candy on Halloween. Our conversation turned to a discussion of how we could make our home a destination for children and, more importantly, a place for gospel conversations with neighborhood parents. By the end of our discussion, we had a plan involving showing a popular children’s Halloween cartoon on the side of our garage with a projector and distributing candy, glow-in-the-dark sticks, and a simple outline of the gospel. Instead of our church becoming the destination, our home would become a place where people gathered.
We both followed through with our plan, and it became a memorable evening. From my Muslim neighbors who lived next door to the children from the nearby elementary school, our house was a place that encouraged more than a “welcome” wreath but a welcome invitation to friendship.
Whether you plan to stay home and distribute treats or you have a plan that includes your church family, I want to encourage you to see your home as a place of outreach—any day of the year. So often, families seldom interact with those who are living on the same street, and you can miss the opportunity to make an impact for the gospel. Your home can be a place of ministry, whether you invite people to the front porch or through the front door to your kitchen table.
If you’re looking for some last minute ideas to make your home a place for outreach on Halloween, here are few things you can easily implement:
- Give them more than candy—but have candy! Be prepared with more than candy—possibly a small invitation card about upcoming events at your church, a glow stick with a note that says “Jesus is the light of the world” or a gospel tract that provides Scripture and information about following Christ. (By the way, good candy is always a magnet for more visitors!)
- Create a festive and open atmosphere for all ages. Invite teens to your home for the evening and encourage a pumpkin carving contest or old-fashioned games that encourage conversations instead of screen time. You can decorate with things that aren’t necessarily scary and have lots of lighting so people know you are home.
- Parents will most likely be with their children, so take the time to introduce yourself if you don’t know them. See if they live in your neighborhood and be intentional about building a friendship. Invite other moms to your women’s Bible study or consider beginning a Bible study in your home.
- Create an “attraction” in your front yard. Consider renting an inflatable so children will want to stay and play in your front yard. Offer water bottles or hot chocolate and work toward making your home a place where children want to come.
- If you have a neighborhood association, brainstorm ways your neighbors can work together to create a safe and fun place on Halloween night. As you get involved with other parents, you’ll begin to develop friendships that can lead to spiritual conversations.
Kelly D. King in the Manager of Magazines/Devotional Publishing and Women’s Ministry Training for LifeWay Christian Resources. You can hear Kelly speak at You Lead events that are held in various cities throughout the country each year. She is also the author of Ministry to Women: The Essential Guide to Leading Women in the Local Church. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @kellydking.