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Happy Thanksgiving! We hope that your long weekend is full of rest, family and good food. Since we’re well into the fall season, we as a staff have been thinking about the other October celebration—Halloween. We’ve noticed that while Thanksgiving is usually a time to connect with family, Halloween is a decidedly “community” holiday. What other time of year do you see kids and parents going door to door? Because of this, we think that Halloween might be a perfect time for our church family to engage their neighbours.

Many families have chosen not to participate in Halloween because of what it can represent. We certainly respect that stance and honour the decision to abstain from Halloween activities. Many however, do participate in activities on October 31 but have never considered it as a prime-time for ministry or outreach. Our vision as a church is to be a transformative influence in Cochrane. What better time to represent Christ to our community then Halloween?

In years past, some of us have been inspired with the idea of a “garage party” where we’ve made our garages places of light and welcome as people are touring through their neighborhoods at night.

Here’s how it could look. Sweep out your garage, plug in some space heaters, hang some lights (get it?), make apple cider or hot chocolate, carve some pumpkins and let your community come to you! Let your home be a place of warmth and light—a place where people hang out and visit while their kids collect candy. If the task looks a little overwhelming, why not get a few families together (maybe your small group) and host the night with others? Pat & Carri Speer—a new couple in our church—have some great ideas and resources and are very open to cooperating with like-minded families. If you’d be interested in connecting with them, call the church office for more info.  

We like this idea for a lot of reasons. It allows us to engage with others in our homes, it keeps us from a “retreat and huddle” mentality, and it opens the door for us to develop or deepen friendships. From our experience, some people stay and chat for an extended period of time while others move through pretty quickly. Either way, it’s a great evening to get to know others.  

So there’s our challenge. If the idea seems worthwhile to you—go for it. If you have questions or would like assistance in getting your garage party off the ground, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Happy Halloween,  
Pastor Mike   

PS: Here are a few more practical ideas to get you going...

  • Sweep out the garage, get a space heater, string up some lights, music, lawn chairs, lots of treats.
  • You could have a table on your driveway or front lawn if a garage is not available
  • If you’re ambitious, you could bbq hot dogs for people to munch on as they make their way around the neighborhood.
  • Maybe a small carnival game or two on your front lawn for the kids to play when they get there… Keep it simple!

In terms of "stuff" you might need:

  • Lots of hot drinks in to-go cups… these go fast and you’ll want a large carafe of hot chocolate/cider
  • Baby treats such as mum-mums. Most people don’t have stuff that little ones can enjoy!
  • Napkins
  • Good treats
  • Garbage bags to clean up
  • Snacks (popcorn?)
  • A friend to help you with the details
  • A welcoming heart and disposition