Think about your neighborhood. Now, think of that one neighbor that always seems to go the extra mile. The one that invites us over to dinner when we first move into the neighborhood, that stops by to see how we are doing from time to time, or that is always there for us when we are in need. This neighbor is the reason why we do not want to sell our house to move into a newer neighborhood or to downsize once our children are grown. Sometimes, we wish we could be more like that neighbor.
Maybe we can’t think of that neighbor because our neighbors do not model that type of love. Maybe some of us live in neighborhoods that we are ready to leave behind for one of those new “master-planned communities.” No matter what type of experiences we have had, or are having, in our neighborhood, most of us want to live in a good neighborhood with good neighbors.
Well, the good news is we can be a good neighbor during the holiday season. If you have been around Chase Oaks Church for a while, you have heard us talk about our goal of reaching the 1 million people within a 10-mile radius of our church. Therefore, as Chase Oakers, one of the areas in which we want to grow over the next few years is learning how to be good neighbors in our neighborhoods to allow us to reach the 1 million people. We also want to live into our calling: Loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Being a good neighbor will help transform our communities. Neighboring and hospitality are contagious. When we meet that neighbor—the one that shows us attention and goes out of their way to be neighborly—it makes us want to be better neighbors. We start realizing how we do not take the time to see who might need our help. We start thinking of who we can reach out to and how we can reach out. We might even start reaching out to our neighbors because of that neighbor who inspires us.
Whether you love your neighborhood or are ready to leave your neighborhood, one of the ways we can have good neighbors is to be good neighbors ourselves! We can show love to others in the same way we want to receive it. We can make our neighborhoods better by showing simple acts of kindness to those around us.
With Halloween approaching, we have a unique opportunity to start loving our neighbors and making a difference in our neighborhoods. While Halloween may not be your favorite holiday of the year, what other day of the year do most of your neighbors come up to your home and knock on your door hoping you’ll be home to open that door? What a great opportunity to be home and be neighborly! This may be the best opportunity all year to love your neighbor! Let’s consider how we could best use this unique opportunity to get to know our neighbors.
To make it easy for all of us, we’ve accumulated some proven ideas on how we can be great neighbors this Halloween. Here’s a quick list.
1. Greet outside.
Move our normal Halloween greeting outdoors to greet our neighbors. That’s right. Sit on the front porch or sidewalk. Bring your chair and candy bucket outside with you. Sit outside all evening and talk to your neighbors as they come by. Resist the temptation to go inside between visitors. 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 candy bucket outdoors, you can make a game. Set up a game in your front yard to give trick-or-treaters the opportunity to win the “big” candy bar. It could be as simple as a bean bag toss or throwing a football to knock something down. Kids want to hit every house on your block, but this will make a great impression and show you desire interaction beyond putting candy in a bucket and then closing the door behind them.
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 our house from a few houses away, making them want to stop at the “fun” house! This gives us the opportunity to meet more of our 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 neighboring on 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 to begin the practice of showing 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. Isn’t this the type of neighborhood you want your kids to grow up in? Isn’t this the type of neighborhood you want to be a part of? You can transform your neighborhood into an ideal neighborhood by taking the time this holiday season to be that neighbor.
If you need more ideas on how to love your neighbors on Halloween, read Top 10 Ways to Be a Great Neighbor on Halloween!