By Hannah Brzozowski
Halloween is a tricky holiday. And I'm not talking about trick or treating.
I grew up in the church my whole life and I've come to find that some Christians are VERY opinionated when it comes to Halloween. Some people think it's of the devil and if you celebrate it, you're the devil himself. Others think it's a crime to deprive kids of candy. For my context, I grew up not being able to dress up as a demon or a witch but my parents let me get the free candy. Which, honestly, I was completely fine with.
In that instance, my parents taught me is to take the good, leave the bad. So, what's good about Halloween? Well, it's one of the few times in our American society that we go out and about and mingle with our neighbors. Ever since the invention of the garage in the 1940's, people have known their neighbors less and less.
Let's be honest, it's just easier to stay inside and avoid the people who live right next door.
But what about when Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself? This obviously means more than just the people that live next door to you. But, shouldn't your literal neighbor be included? How can you love your neighbor if you don't know them? How can you love them if you don't know what's going on in their lives? How can you love them if you try to avoid them at all costs?
When we first moved to Champaign, we knew literally no one. So, where did we start? Our neighbors! We baked three dozen cookies, got some cute tins, and walked down our street delivering them.
Honestly, My heart would race every time we would walk up to the door and introduce ourselves. I was especially nervous, as people who moved here to start a church. (Side note: I have a constant fear of coming across like Flanders from the Simpsons.)
Guess what happened? People were super nice and appreciative that we came over to introduce ourselves. It was amazing to make some new friends by giving a gift. I can now proudly say that we keep in touch and even give each other the stereotypical cup of sugar, if we need it.
We've had people over for dinner, to play with our dog (he's a local favorite), and even a Christmas Party. We've pet-sat for each other and helped each other with meals. Believe it or not, my first and one of my closest friends in Champaign, used to be my next door neighbor. And, all of this wouldn't have happened, if we didn't take a chance and deliver some cookies that day.
Last year, because of the pandemic, I was sad thinking about the kids who wouldn't have a normal Halloween and be able to go trick or treating. So, since I knew my neighbors, I ding dong ditched some simple halloween gift baskets to the kids around our block. It was a simple gesture but I wanted those families to know that they're loved and that we're here for them if something were to happen.
So this Halloween, take the chance, get out of our house, even buy some of the king size candy bars, and meet some neighbors. You never know what friends might be waiting for you outside your front door.