Plenty, I know, but lately I’ve developed a bit of nostalgia over this dark, secular “holiday”. My change in attitude seems to coincide with our moving into the suburban neighborhood we now live in. Something I’ve noticed about this hood, and it isn’t unlike what I’ve seen happening all across our society, and in myself in recent years, is that we have all tended to grow more and more reclusive.
In my neighborhood, the houses are all jammed tight together – 690 homes packed into just a few square miles, and still I can’t say that I have taken the initiative to interact with many of my neighbors. I think most of us are becoming that way these days. We are exhausted, we are untrusting, and we just don’t feel like developing relationships in our community.
Halloween offers a brief respite from this mentality, thanks to the phenomenon of trick-or-treating. When it comes to trick-or-treating, my hood is THE SPOT. I estimate that roughly 250 homes in this swampy little nook give out candy. Families drive from several towns away because it’s a safe neighborhood and the spoils are rich. I know churches tend to have Halloween alternative parties on the 31st, but we have our own neighborhood block party right here, and it strikes me as a whole lot of church right at home. In fact, I am starting to feel like the most churchy thing I can do on Halloween is to use the opportunity to interact with my neighbors.
How different would things be in our culture if we didn’t wait until trick-or-treat time to meet people? I wish we didn’t need such a stupid “holiday” to give us the excuse to do it. It really has me thinking because I find the experience of simply saying “hi” to an unknown neighbor while he fills my kids’ treat bags with candy positively invigorating. It makes me think the church could be doing more than ducking for cover at the end of every October.