Halloween can have a controversial reputation in church circles. But one uniqueness of this holiday is its focus on the local community. No other holiday initiates widespread door knocking and neighbor visitation like October 31st.
For Christians seeking to love their neighbors, Halloween can offer an easy in-road to engaging with those in your community. Here are five ways to connect with neighbors on Halloween:
#1. Sit on your porch
If you don’t have kids or your family doesn’t go trick or treating, take advantage of the opportunity to welcome neighborhood kids to your doorstep. Buy good candy! Welcome every child and family who approaches your home and complement their costumes. Halloween can be a great chance to meet new neighbors or to be an example of welcome and hospitality.
#2. Include others in your plans
If you already plan to take your kids trick or treating or to a local festival, consider inviting a neighborhood kid or two to go along. Particularly if your community is unsafe during Halloween or you worry a child may find trouble, this approach can provide a welcome opportunity to do something different.
#3. Create a staging area
Years ago in our community of South Atlanta, kids would show up to ask for candy, but they weren’t wearing costumes. It wasn’t part of ritual for many neighborhood youth. One way to engage your community is to open your home in the afternoon as a costume staging area! Stock up on thrift store finds or costume accessories like wings, hats, wigs, and capes. Set up face paint in front of a mirror, and let kids have fun getting ready for the festivities. Sometime we all need a little encouragement to be creative!
#4. Coordinate your block
Has your street lagged in celebration in the past? Perhaps a few neighbors could knock on doors ahead of time to invite participation in the block’s Halloween festivities. You could offer candy to neighbors so they’ll be stocked and encourage them to turn on their light that night. It’s another great excuse to meet and connect with those who live near you.
#5. Host an event
This strategy most likely requires the most prep work, but the payoff is a fun and safe neighborhood celebration for all. Many of our team have been involved with South Atlanta’s Treat Street for years. It’s a much-anticipated event that gathers lots of neighbors to play games, eat hot dogs, and admire all the tiny dragons, princesses, mummies, and butterflies.
Neighborhood engagement is an ongoing commitment to participating in the community and building local relationships. It looks different in each season. We hope these tips will help you consider how you might connect with your neighbors this Halloween.