Halloween in Community

This life is so much more fun when we live it in community with others, isn’t it?  Sure, it can be messy.  It’s easier sometimes to just sit in our homes and ignore each other.  But how often have you had good conversation over a meal with friends?  Or you’ve had an interaction with someone that made you belly laugh?  We were made to live in community, not to curl up and pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t exist.  There’s so much benefit to choosing to get to know one another.  Deep relationships.  Friends to call on when we need help.  Kids having playmates.  Shared experiences.  It can be so beautiful.

So one way that my husband and I have chosen to be more intentional about getting to know others is by taking advantage of times when we get to see our neighbors.  When the weather cools off here in Pennsylvania where we currently live, it’s not as easy to see others in our neighborhood.  Summer is easy: cookouts, sprinklers, playgrounds.  But hanging outside after dinner when it’s 40 or below just isn’t as enticing.  So we’ve decided to view times like Trick-or-Treating as an opportunity to get outside and interact with those who are living their lives around us when we otherwise might not see them.

What does this look like?  We live in a townhouse so we have a parking lot in front of our house.  While sometimes I loathe it because I’d rather have a fenced in yard, it has served us quite well for things like bike riding and random get togethers with friends.  And for Trick-or-Treating?  We get to use the space to have a small block-party style get together without a fence closing people off.

Last year, a few of us got together and each picked something to provide.  We grilled hot dogs, had warm apple cider in slow cookers, and had a fire pit with supplies to make s’mores.  We handed out glow sticks to kids and had candy of course.  As people came by, we offered up what we had as a way to get people to linger a bit and get to know them.  We told people this wasn’t just for us–it was to be enjoyed with anyone who wanted it.

This year, we’re doing it again and we hope to continue to build momentum over the years so people know to expect it.  It was wonderful for our kids to be able to meet other kids and great for us to finally get to know some of the people who live around us who we otherwise don’t get to interact with too often.  And we found that Trick-or-Treating is way more fun when there a bunch of people hanging out (even in the cold!) than just sitting waiting for the doorbell to ::maybe:: ring and hand out candy.  Why not be out where the action is?  It’s hospitality at its finest: casual, no cleaning of the house required, and people don’t have to feel obligated to linger if they don’t want to or have cranky kids.  A win-win for everyone! 🙂

How are you going to spend your Halloween?  Do you have any traditions in your own community?