The Bible tells us not to “copy the behavior and customs of this world” (Romans 12:2, New Living Translation). But this verse should not be an excuse for us to shut the door on the world. We also need to let our light shine—especially on the darkest day of the year! My family learned this important lesson a long time ago.
For years my wife, Kim, and I would not turn on our porch light at Halloween. When persistent trick-or-treaters knocked on our door anyway, our family ignored them. We would not let our girls carve pumpkins or color Halloween artwork at school or go trick-or-treating.
Then, one year, the Lord spoke this scripture to our family: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, New King James Version). We realized that God wanted us to reach out to our neighbors on Halloween night. So we changed our MO! We bought good candy, not the cheap stuff—you know, the kind that has bubble gum in it that loses its flavor as soon as you put it in your mouth. We got chocolate bars! And we began to minister the love of God to those who were participating in Halloween. We handed out candy to our neighborhood kids, gave them tracts, and asked them if we could pray with them about anything.
Halloween is a great time for us to get to know our neighbors. Streets are packed with parents and children. Paul said it this way: “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22–23, NLT).
As Christians, we walk every day in the burden-removing, yoke-destroying power of God (see Isaiah 10:27). If we close our door on our neighbors at Halloween, if we “turn our lights off,” we miss a big opportunity to remove burdens and destroy yokes from other people’s lives.
My family’s outreach began with just us. Later, we started taking friends with us to the streets of our community to share the love of Christ at Halloween. Over time, the ministry grew.
One church in Athens, Ohio, found out about what we were doing on Halloween. They invited me and my ministry team to come minister at the nation’s largest Halloween block party, which takes place in their city every year. Annually, this block party draws about 80,000 college-age kids, who come out to drink and party on Halloween night. In 2009, we started taking teams to the event to share the gospel with young people. Since then, thousands have received Jesus as Lord and Savior on the darkest day of the year.
Another church, this one in Roscoe, Illinois, whose pastor is a friend of mine, uses Halloween as their biggest outreach of the year. They bring carnival rides in and provide free popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy. They clear out their sanctuary and set up games for the kids, and then they present a gospel skit. Every year at least 5,000 people attend this event. A lot of people in the community don’t even offer candy for trick-or-treating—they send people to my friend’s church instead!
I’m not saying that we should dress up as the devil and participate in dark activities. We should dress normally when we minister on Halloween night. When people see us loving, rather than judging the people who go to haunted houses or go trick-or-treating, the Bible says they will begin to glorify the heavenly Father. We should be a light in the darkness.
The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). When we begin to look like love, talk like love and act like love, God who is love will manifest Himself through us, spreading His light to a lost and dying world. I pray that this Halloween you will open up your door and turn on your light to harvest souls for God’s kingdom.
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