In a couple of weeks, neighbourhoods across Quebec and Ontario will be celebrating Halloween. It’s a time when people in the community are out and about sharing a little fun with one another, which gave us opportunities to interact with them. Pre-COVID, many of our youth ministries were involved in community Halloween events or fundraising efforts such as “Trick or Treat for Hope” to share the love of Christ. This year will look different.
First of all, stay up to date with what your local public health unit is advising for Halloween protocols (e.g. Ottawa last week has these guidelines https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/hold-off-on-the-halloween-parties-ottawa-public-health-warns-as-city-reports-record-covid-19-infections. BC’s public health offers these recommendations http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/social-interactions/halloween).
Secondly, consider what your neighbourhood needs. (Not what you think they need, but what do your neighbours actually need?) A couple weeks ago, a poll demonstrated the divide in how parents will approach October 31 (https://globalnews.ca/news/7380575/canadians-halloween-coronavirus-pandemic-poll/). Within the public health parameters, be creative in how to best bring the hope of Jesus to your community. Whether this includes some kind of candy giving, a display on your church or household front lawn, continue to be a light for Jesus. Consider the kids in your group and the different responses you want to address (ie. Some parents want their kids out whereas others are keeping their kids in).
Consider a cause to support. Many youth ministries collected non-perishable foods for their local food banks. Whether it’s that cause or something else, you can suggest both online and in-person ways people can contribute. For example, instead of a collecting canned goods, have students approach (appropriately physically distanced) neighbours using large signs that explain who the youth group is and who they are collecting for. It’s helpful to use a QR code or a simple URL the person can use to donate. Youth can also create Instagram or Tik Tok posts that encourage their friends/followers to donate as well.
Whether you’re facilitating something online or in person, be mindful of what your community is sensing and navigating right now. Even on October 31, the church of Christ can bring the person and message of Jesus to our neighbourhoods.