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A Hamilton family reformed their Halloween tradition this past week by setting up a fire pit and chairs in their front yard and serving coffee, hot chocolate, candy, and juice boxes.

Each year, Marcel and Monica DeRegt, members of Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, struggled with Halloween and how it fit with their family.

“What is the right thing to do with holiday that celebrates death and evil? How do you celebrate the thing we’re against?” Monica explained.

Last year, the DeRegt family decided to avoid the whole thing by going out for dinner and a movie. It was a fun evening but it didn’t feel right to leave their neighborhood. “As we live so close to our church and school, we believe we are called to show our community the love of Christ,” Monica said.

This past week, an online blog caught Monica’s attention. It urged readers to be the house on the block that everyone remembered, to serve refreshments and to be where Jesus would be. They realized this was something their family could do, and it might be the solution to their family’s Halloween dilemma.

Their children were also excited about this new idea. They didn’t dress up but joined their parents in being a warm, welcoming presence in their neighborhood. Janae, 9, said she “liked being outside as a family and meeting new people, to make them happy with candy and hot drinks.”

“My favorite part was when the people came and were surprised by what we were doing,” said Aiden, 7. “I liked that we could still be a part of Halloween this way.”

Neighbors were delighted at the idea and it gave the DeRegts the opportunity to share about their church. “It went better than we could have imagined,” Monica said. “This feels right for our family. A new tradition has been born!”

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