October 23, 2008

Halloween, or 35 days of not taking the kids shopping

Halloween, yippee. . . ok, it used to mean candy. A LOT of candy. Yummy. Now, it means 35 days of strategic driving, parking, and diversions when I leave the house with my kids. Do the stores really have to choose their scariest costumes to display? I would not mind so much if it were just me. My kids are kind of easily scared. . . in his defense, Joe picks it up from his sister and copies everything. I spend trips to the store trying to distract my children, getting them to look in the other direction, or finding a way to avoid walking by something all together. All of my griping aside, it is one of the few, the only? time of year when some neighbors are coming to your door! What a ministry opportunity. Some families give candy with tracts, some choose to give the really good candy, some go trick-or-treating as a way to practice remembering the names of neighbors less seen, or to meet new ones. Whatever way you choose to participate, or not, this is a huge opportunity to get to know your neighbors and to make a statement. Let it be a good one. :)

Our church handed out this list of ideas and I thought I would pass it a long. I have to confess, I am not terribly keen on my kids being around children dressed as witches and scary monsters. (Yes, a lot of costumes are sweet and adorable.) Maybe this is a good opportunity to talk about how choices people make when they do not know Jesus? I am still working on this. Definitely a good opportunity to continue asking God for parental wisdom. Any good ideas? Anyway, here is the list.

1o Easy Ways to Bless Your Neighbors on October 31
  1. Begin praying for your neighborhood now. Ask God to show you what the needs are.
  2. Contact your neighborhood association or local community center. Find out if they have any planned activities for the evening, and offer to help out.
  3. Set up a coffee or hot cider table on your front portch or on your front lawn for all those trick-or-treaters! If possible, have a portable heat source available.
  4. Help clean up your street on November 1.
  5. If you have the technoloy, show "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" out on your front porch for a little nostalgia!
  6. Give Starbucks gift cards to a few parents who brig their kids trick-or-treating. It's something they'd never expect!
  7. Ask your single parent neighbor how you can help make the evening less stressful for them.
  8. Set a goal of learning at least one neighbor's name when they come to your door with their kids. Follow up with them later in the week and offer to help them rake leaves or clean their gutters.
  9. Offer to hand out candy at your elderl neighbor's home.
  10. Don't live in a typical neighborhood? Talk to your life group (or a good friend!) about how you can be missional together!

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