Halloween: A Time to Be a Good Neighbor
Think about your neighborhood.
Now, think of that one neighbor that always seems to go the extra mile. The one that invited you over to dinner when you first moved into the neighborhood, that stops by to see how you are doing from time to time, or that is always there for you when you are in need.
That neighbor is the reason why we love and want to stay in our neighborhoods.
Being that kind of neighbor is more important than ever, as it helps to strengthen our communities at a time when many of us are feeling disconnected and isolated. We can make our neighborhoods better by showing simple acts of kindness to those around us.
While you may not personally enjoy or prefer to celebrate Halloween, what other day of the year do neighbors typically come up to your home and knock on your door, hoping you’ll be home to open that door? Let’s consider how we could best use this unique opportunity to safely and comfortably get to know our neighbors.
Here are four ideas to help you get started:
1. Greet outside.
Move your normal Halloween greeting outdoors to greet your neighbors. That’s right – it’s time to revive the tradition of sitting on the front porch or sidewalk! Bring your chair and treats outside with you; you can sit outside near your treat bucket and allow people to grab their own. It’s a chance to talk to your neighbors as they come by.
Resist the temptation to go inside between visitors—instead, enjoy the experience and the conversations that happen as people naturally stroll past our houses without the awkward knocking on our front door.
2. Make a game.
Aside from bringing your treat bucket outdoors, you can add some additional fun with a game. Set up a game in your front yard to give trick-or-treaters the opportunity to win a “big” prize. It could be as simple as a bean bag toss or throwing a football to knock something down.
Kids may want finish the game quickly so they can visit every house on your block. But this is another way to make a great impression and show you desire interaction beyond putting treats in a bucket and then closing the door. Consider keeping sanitizer on hand for people to use before and after they play, for an extra helping of neighborliness.
3. Do the unexpected.
If you are not the creative type, surprise your neighbors with something unexpected. Some of us may enjoy cooking something for everyone to grab while walking the neighborhood. Grilling some hot dogs or baking some delicious cookies ahead of time will cause people to stop at our house just a little longer, or at least slow down, to get something yummy to eat as they continue their trip down the street.
4. Decorate your house.
If you are the decorative type rather than the chef, put up a temporary string of lights in the front yard so that neighbors see your house from a few houses away. Make them want to stop at the “fun” house! This gives the opportunity to meet more of your neighbors.
There are so many ways we can use this holiday to be great neighbors. These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween. Maybe you have some creative ideas of your own you could share through social media.
No matter what you think about Halloween, let’s all use this day in a positive way to get to know our neighbors and practice hospitality to those who live within walking distance of our homes. You can make your neighborhood a place where people feel connected as they do simple acts of kindness and show love for one another. Take some time this holiday season to be that neighbor to those around you!
The holidays can sometimes bring a unique set of challenges. We're offering valuable tools, tips, and strategies for this time of year at our "Surviving the Holidays" event. Find more info, here.