Having grown up in a smallish Texas-town, it is fair to say that the "Christian" culture was pervasive during my childhood. I use the term "Christian" loosely because it was really more of a church-influence than one of Jesus-influence. Nonetheless, virtually everyone I knew had a church they belonged to, whether they actually attended or not.
When I moved to Mississauga 8 1/2 years ago, I found the culture to be quite different. To put it simply, most people don't have a church; most actually disregard church altogether. The Christian influence is minimal. The Christian community is a small one.
One oddity that I uncovered in my first few years here was how there were many pockets of Bible-believing Christian who are anti-Halloween. After all, it has its roots it pagan, demonic rituals and traditions. I absolutely understand their take on the event. There are people that I know here that will take their kids out of school on October 31 if the school or class has any intention of "celebrating" the day; much like the Jehovah's Witness kids always curiously left our grade school classrooms before the class Christmas party when I was a kid.
Reflecting on my own childhood Halloween experiences, I sort of chuckle when I reminisce about the fact that the majority of our trick-or-treating was done at the homes of people we went to church with. I still remember my dad driving us around to the homes of elders and deacons in our church.
Anyway, when Silas was beginning to approach the age of trick-or-treating, Elizabeth and I had passingly decided that we would just sort of skip over Halloween. We didn't want to make a big deal out of not participating, but at the same time, we didn't want to go charging in. Shortly after our discussion, our neighbors came and asked us if they could join Silas and me for trick-or-treating. That changed everything. And since that Halloween 3 years ago, we have joined in the festivities - dressing the kids up, handing out candy at our door, etc. We discovered that Halloween was one of the only times of year that everyone in our neighborhood was outdoors and accessible.
From the beginning of our tenure on Atherly Crescent, Elizabeth and I have understood our clear calling to be a beacon of light on this street. We want to get to know the people, let them get to know us, and pray that somehow they come to know Jesus the way we do because of our interaction with them.
While many Christians may find it offensive that we would deliberately take part in the celebration of Halloween, I reflect on the Apostle Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 9 where he states that he will become all things for all people for the sake of the gospel. Sometimes you've just gotta do what the Romans do. And the fact that we can bring home TWO FULL PILLOW CASES of loot in the process just makes it that much sweeter!