It started last year after my stroke. I got out of the hospital on October 31; there was to be no getting out to avoid the trick-o-treaters.  I had to go home.  I could not imagine turning the lights off and being locked inside while "people" were outside wanting to greet me and receive candy.  I surprised my husband as I said please just stop by and pick up some candy on the way home.

We oohed at awwed over the spider man costumes, angels, princesses, football players and ghosts.  We shouted hello to parents on the street pushing younger siblings in the stroller.  We participated and it made me happy to see people.

As Halloween approached this year I was a bit confused about what we should do.  Having spent the "prime" of my children's childhood not participating in Halloween, how now could I participate?  It is an evil holiday with MUCH that eeks me out. I hate that my niece and nephew can't walk to my house because of skeletons in the trees, and graves, and ghosts!  Scrare!

Then I read this:  Z shares a clip from a post about Halloween, I click over and read the whole thing, and the comments (not a fan of the ugliness) but the thought began:

"When else are my neighbors going to come knocking on my door?"

Our Family is going to get out in our yard; the grown married kids are coming to help too.  We are going to serve our neighborhood by setting up a photo center and take pictures for families.  We made stickers for the backs of the photos that say:

October 31, 2009
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and,
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27

Your neighbors, The Polk Family
Trent, Jen & Hunter
*and our address*

Then the thoughts snowballed and we wanted something for the parents.  Well, we decided to do a Family Gift Basket. We put a Veggie Tale Video, a few gift parenting books, a "Pumpkin Gospel" children's book, a few other gifts, popcorn and gift certificate to a date night at Olive Garden.  It is quite a nice basket if I do say so myself. Each family can enter and we will deliver the basket at the end of the evening.

Guess what, we will have their names and addresses and we can pray over them, send them Christmas Cards, and generally set on mission to "know" them.

There will be nothing "Halloweeney" about my house.  No jack-o-laterns, skeletons, ANYTHING evil.

Unless you count Zeke in a dalmatian costume as evil.

That's what I thought.

So, this is the idea that I feel the Lord is having us step out and do. It started with how we could "serve" our neighbors and we'll see how it ends.

It's a stretch... not the serving in the way we have been called.  Not the LOVING on, or  talking to my neighbors; Lord knows my family will say I can start up a conversation with a wall.  ...Just the dealing with the thoughts about "what will my friends think."  Then... I know, those that know me will totally get this.  and my new motto beats all fear: Obedience trumps worse case scenario.

We are not celebrating Halloween, we are participating with others as they celebrate Halloween. Just a point of semantics for some. But it is an issue of HEART for me.

See,  we are simply trying to "LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS MORE THAN OURSELVES."


Lauren said...

What a wonderful idea!! We don't do Halloween, but I agree: in my opinion, there is nothing of Jesus meeting people wherever they are about sitting in a house with the curtains drawn and pretending like we're not home. Every year I intend to purchase/order some sweet child-friendly tracts or inexpensive...something or other to pass to the little ones along with their candy, but I keep forgetting until the day before. (argh!)

I really, really love your idea about the gift basket drawing! What a sweet way to get to actually KNOW the neighbors who come knocking, rather than just calling out hello, and telling the children to have a happy and safe night. (I don't even wish them a happy halloween...just a happy night!)

This is such a sweet, missional, and intentional way to approach loving our neighbors and sharing Jesus' love with them! I will most definitely be copying you next year! ;)

Just one quick question, since even in our conservative church, many families do allow children to trick or treat, so I've never asked anyone before: Have your children ever felt like they were getting shorted by not getting to walk around and amass lots of candy? I've thought about - as they get older - putting together special Reformation Day gift baskets (including some candy or special treats) for them to enjoy while we're answering the door to TOT'ers, but I was wondering how other parents handle this. Thanks in advance for your input! :)

Deborah Ann said...

Well I'm sure glad I read this (read the other article too). What a great opportunity to be a witness for Christ! Though last night we only had one knock on the door - not too many trick or treat in this neighborhood. But WWJD on Halloween really gets me thinking. The gift basket idea is awesome!

Laine said...

As usual, your creativity, love for the Lord, and desire to be obedient is encouraging, insightful, and makes me miss living close enough to hug your neck! I need a bit of the Jen Poe hotline to Heaven...I'm gonna start taking notes... <3

missy said...

I love this Jen. We do Halloween, but I understand that some are truly convicted not to. Others, I feel are just being religious and self righteous. Anyway...I love this sweet approach you have chosen. Just read your followup and I'm just thrilled about it.