October brings about a holiday that children all over the nation love. It is one that makes a child able to get a lot of candy. It is a time for both children and adults to dress up like someone or something else. Costume parties are located everywhere. It is Halloween.
Along with all of the fun, candy, and costumes that Halloween brings, there is also the element of scaring people. Some people go to extreme levels of dressing up in costumes. It is more than just a simple bed sheet as a ghost. Those who go to the extreme levels, make it appear as though they are physically injured or deformed. The realism of the costumes and makeup is amazing.
People usually fall into one of two categories of thought when it comes to Halloween. There are those who run with it and have lots of fun, regardless of the implications or thoughts behind it. The others run from it and will have nothing to do with Halloween at all, because the primary thought behind it is demonic or celebrating the evil in this world.
For my family, I have led them to never really celebrate Halloween for what it is. My children have never dressed up to go out and go trick or treating.
One thing that has become very popular in our area is the idea of trunk or treating. It is a time that churches, and now some other organizations, set up various games out of the trunks of their vehicles. Children from the surrounding neighborhood are invited to come and play the games and get free food.
Immediately in the minds of some Christians, there is a red flag that goes up. How can they take something that is demonic and make it good?
I fully understand the concerns that some people have. In doing this, there is some point of celebrating Halloween, when one does the trunk or treat, even though in word most will state they do not celebrate Halloween.
One of the things that is important for people to keep at the center of their focus is why they are setting up the trunk or treat. The trunk or treat should be an outreach to the community. Often it can be just a place to play games and get free food and candy. If that is the case, it is falling short of doing any good.
Every believer is called to be a witness of who Jesus is to every person they meet in this world. The whole purpose is to build God’s kingdom on this earth. God does not want anyone to die in their sins, so He sent His people out to be His witness to them of the salvation Jesus provides.
When a church is setting up the games and activities for a trunk or treat, the Great Commission should be kept at the forefront of their minds. How can they use the game to be a witness? How can they use the activity to point children and parents to God?
In being able to do this, it takes some serious thinking and planning. Each person involved in the planning must be planning it with lots of prayer. Be open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.
Psalm 19:1New International Version (NIV)
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
All of creation declare the work of God. When you look out on a field or you look up into the sky, you do not hear anything being said. However, if you open your spiritual eyes and ears and listen, you will see and hear the works of God. You will see that glory of God being displayed in creation.
Romans 1:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
All of these things show who God is and what He is like. These things are not things that are seen inside the church walls, they are out in the world, where the world can see them.
The trunk or treat games are to be set up outside of the walls of the church. This is where the world is located and are willing to be.
When games are set up for children to play, there should be some way to focus them towards God. Each game should be set up to be a witness of who Jesus is and what He can do for them. The workers of the games must show God’s love to each and every person that shows up.
Along with the children being able to have fun, they should be provided some food. For some of those children, that may be their only meal that day. It is showing God’s love for them, without any judgment.
While it is true that some of those children will only come for the games and food, there will also be a seed planted in their hearts and minds about God. That little bit of love and care may someday be the seed that changes their heart to follow Jesus. For some of these children, you may be the only Jesus that they will see.
Whether you do a trunk or treat, or not, that is between you and God. However, if you do it, be sure to keep God at the center of it. Make sure that in the process of doing games and food, Jesus is being proclaimed. This is using the things of this world to spread the gospel message. Be open to what God has for you to do today.