As you can imagine, there aren’t many places to go in our little country community for trick-or-treating fun, so we loaded up the kids and spent the evening with friends at their home downtown. We gathered for a warm meal and joyful conversation, then readied the kids as dusk appeared.
There they were, 6 boys of approximate age and 4 girls of approximate age walking down streets with their parents. Some of us women sat outside on their porch and watched the festivities, passing out candy and guessing what costumes the children were wearing.
It was a taste of small town America, the gorgeous homes and scores of children waving at friends and crunching through the leaves to shout “trick or treat!” Almost every house was bright with yellow glows, windows flaming, welcoming neighbors and guests. I was amazed that there was so much light!
Friends would stop by to chat for a few minutes, then they’d be off trying to catch up with their children. Even our children returned alone while parents caught up with friends down the street. They ran inside to dump all their candy out and sorted through it all to make their trades. When the meltdowns began, we knew it was time to pack up and take them home. As we were readying to leave, Bear had to go back inside to tell his buddy from school good-bye again, and his mom and I laughed over how they’d see each other again in less than 12 hours. Such friendship.
As I sat there I couldn’t help but think that this is why we do Halloween. Not because we are cavalier about its history of darkness. Not because we are celebrating evil or spirits or trying to ward off the devil.
No, we do Halloween because for us it’s about friendship and community and warmth and fun and merriment… It’s hanging out with old friends and making new ones…It’s taking the darkness and making it light… It’s taking the sad, as Tim Keller says, and making it untrue.
It’s remembering that every soul on that sidewalk is someone to love.
It’s about grace and good gifts…
And it was a night overflowing with countless beauty.
(An updated post from a few years ago…)