Considering how much I loved trick-or-treating as a child, it’s no wonder that I also love the tradition my wife and I have of decorating a trunk and getting dressed up for trunk-or-treat.
As soon as we learn which night our church will be hosting it, which is usually on Halloween night, we start thinking about what theme we want to use for our costumes and decorations.
We do a little brainstorming in late September, and then in October we start getting everything together for our props and outfits.
The first time we participated in trunk-or-treat was about four years ago, and our church wanted everyone to have a superhero theme. So I dressed up as Clark Kent aka Superman, and Carmen dressed up as Lois Lane. We made a city skyline backdrop for the trunk and then filled up the rest with my old comic books and superhero action figures.
The next year, our church decided to have a movie theme for trunk-or-treat and so we decided to use The Wizard of Oz. Carmen was Dorothy and I was the Scarecrow. Carmen made tornadoes using tomato cages, and I made a yellow-bricked road using a yellow tablecloth. We’ve still got glitter in our garage from when Carmen made the famous ruby red slippers.
After that, our church decided to forego the mandatory themes and let us do whatever we wanted for our trunks. Thus, we decided to use the theme of my childhood favorites, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was Raphael since I already had a lot of the costume from a few years prior, and Carmen was Donatello. With the help of my brother-in-law’s old collection, we decorated the trunk with old Ninja Turtle toys, and then made a few extra props of our own like pizzas. I even set up a Bluetooth speaker so we could play the Ninja Turtles theme song as well as some of the songs from the movie soundtracks.
Then last year, we used a Pac-Man theme, and I think it was one of the best looking ones we have done. We had sandwich board costumes where I was Pac-Man, and Carmen and her mom were the ghosts. We found a shower curtain online that looked like the actual Pac-Man game that made the perfect backdrop. And then we cut out a bunch of paper Pac-Mans, ghosts and logos to tape around the edges.
I always look forward to this event every year just for the costumes and decorating alone. It’s not everyday you get to dress up like Superman or a Ninja Turtle.
But the most rewarding part of it all is getting to see how happy the children are who participate in trunk-or-treat. They get to fill their bags up with candy, play the inflatable games we have set up, and enjoy some yummy hotdogs with chili.
Even if our trunks require a little bit of work and sometimes a little bit of money, all of that is more than worth it when you get to see the smiles on their faces.
I’m sure the same can be said as for the many neighborhoods that host trick-or-treaters. Our house isn’t in a great spot for trick-or-treating as it has no sidewalks and is out in the boondocks. But I know there are many local neighborhoods that are ideal for the festivities, and I’m sure it’s a joy for many of those homes just as it is for us and our trunks.
However, the argument still comes around this time of the year regarding whether Christians should celebrate Halloween. Should we recognize a holiday that glorifies ghosts and goblins, and evil witches and monsters?
Well, the way I’ve always looked at it is Halloween is just another one of the many opportunities we have to display the generosity of God.
We can display generosity by handing out free candy to children. We can display generosity by creating a welcoming home (or trunk) for the many trick-or-treaters to stop by. And we can even display generosity as we support our neighbors or fellow church members by helping out instead of shying away.
It’s an opportunity to be a reflection of God who is generous and who is welcoming and who is kind. This is why Jesus in Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
You can literally let your light shine by turning your front porch light on for trick-or-treaters. But you also let your light shine when you’re giving out candy and when you’re able to strike up a conversation with a lost soul who might be brought your way.
I can understand, though, if you don’t want to get too carried away with celebrating some of the old traditions of Halloween. A lot of it is evil and based on evil, and we should steer clear of that. But we don’t have to give Halloween our full endorsement in order to provide a little fun for our children.
You could sequester yourself from all of the festivities in order to prove a point, but just think about the chance you’ll lose to tell the story of God’s love.