What we learned from it was that we didn't want our children roaming the streets for Halloween. By the time we had kids old enough to want to go trick-or-treating, we had moved to MN and there was no Hallelujah Party nearby. So, I packed them up and took them to a hotel for a private party. Ken met us there after work and then headed back in the morning. We did this for maybe 10 years. The kids fondly remember fun movies, candy, games and special breakfasts on the morning after.
Then, our pastor spoke on 'Halloween and the Church' and it revolutionized our thinking. He said, "Halloween is the one night of the year when your neighbors will welcome you right into their homes and many Christians hole up." He declared that his church would never host a party that might keep neighbors from seeing each other. Hmmm...
Shortly after that, we moved to the country. The houses are 1/4 mile apart and most folks have lived here for generations so getting to know each other is challenging. We prayed about it and determined that we absolutely need to take the kids trick-or-treating every year! I'm especially thankful that God blessed us with baby number ten after we moved here. She's four now and that gives us a solid 8 more years to connect on this level.
The first year I stayed home with the baby who was almost 1. We planned to pass out candy, but no one came to our house. It is one of only three on our two mile stretch of road, so I understand people not driving up here. Portia convinced all the other kids to dress up in their Christmas best and instead of saying 'trick-or-treat' they sang Christmas Carols to everyone. It was well received and they hauled in plenty of treats! The next three years I've tagged along and the kids help AR in and out of the van at each house. I've noticed that the people who want to participate LOVE seeing the kids and there is great joy in the moment, those who don't want to participate just turn their porch lights off or go to a hotel for the evening.