If you haven't noticed, Halloween is right around the corner.
It's that time of year when pumpkins are carved, costumes are carefully selected, and neighborhoods come alive with the excitement of trick-or-treating.
But what if I told you that Halloween could be more than just a pagan-rooted celebration or an excuse to eat candy?
What if it was an incredible opportunity to be a Jesus-like neighbor?
Jay Pathak, in his book The Art of Neighboring, writes, "By becoming good neighbors, we become who we're supposed to be. As a result, our communities become the places that God intended them to be."
To live like Jesus, we must embrace the idea of being good neighbors. After all, if you don't like people, you'll like heaven even less—it will be packed!
Here are 5 Ways to Be a Jesus-Like Neighbor on Halloween
Be Outside: If you're in an area like the Pacific Northwest where the outdoors is celebrated, make it a point to be outside on Halloween. Step out of your comfort zone and enjoy some fresh air, even after dark. Being present where people are is the first step in building connections.
Host an Ongoing Happy Hour: Handing out candy to kids is an excellent way to meet your neighbors. Make it extra special by hosting a simple happy hour in your driveway. Offer pre-packed snacks and beverages to parents, creating a memorable nod of hospitality.
Walk Your Dog: If you have a furry friend, take them for a stroll during the trick-or-treating hours. Few things are more inviting than a cute dog, making it easy to strike up conversations with people in your community.
Do a Food Drive: Alongside your candy, set up a box or wagon for food donations. Encourage those who come to your door to contribute a non-perishable item or a bag of items. Pre-written thank you notes can explain where the food will go and sign your name, creating a sense of connection and care.
Just Show Up: Participate in local gatherings like fall festivals, Trunk or Treat events, or city celebrations. Be open to engaging in conversations with people you meet. Simply showing up can go a long way in building relationships.
Can celebrating Halloween as a good neighbor really help people know Jesus?
The answer is a resounding yes. Many followers of Jesus tend to stay within their "Christian bubble," but by engaging with our neighbors during Halloween, we can begin real conversations that lead to meaningful connections.
Jesus didn't view people as projects; he saw them as friends. Your neighbors are not projects, they are future friends. When we follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we approach our neighbors with genuine friendship - by being present, learning names, and forming connections. This attitude can transform our communities, turning them into the places God intended them to be.
This Halloween, let's make an effort to be the kind of neighbor who lives like Jesus in our neighborhoods and communities.
Leave the Garage Door Open Sermon Series: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.