Tuesday is Halloween, and you’re likely going to have groups of children and their parents trooping up to your doorstep in search of a little candy.
Why not take advantage of the opportunity and get to know your neighbors?
That’s what the folks behind Love Modesto, the annual effort to improve the city that has spread to other communities, hope you will do.
“It’s not just about a day,” said Jeff Pishney, a pastor and the founder of Love Modesto, which puts together teams to work for people and nonprofit groups. “It’s about year-long ongoing loving our town. That day in April is like a catalyst for continuing to volunteer with these organizations.”
In the same way, he hopes Halloween will be a catalyst for people to spend time in their front yards and get to know their neighbors.
“Neighborhoods are like little cities,” he said. “If our neighborhoods are healthy, our bigger cities will be healthy ... all the research says when our neighborhoods are safer, everything good goes on.”
Pisnhey said the idea to promote neighborhood fun on Halloween came about through his work with the Modesto Police Department promoting National Night Out, an annual August event that encourages people to spend time with their neighbors.
“(Halloween) is the one night out of the year people are out and about,” he said. “What an opportunity to not just be behind our door, giving out candy or turning off the lights and pretending not to be home. What if we could be in the front yard, and do some fun things?”
So far, 75 people have signed up at the Love Modesto website, and Pishney hopes that number grows to the triple digits by Tuesday.
And they aren’t stopping at Halloween. “We all hope it’s something beyond this night,” he said, adding that he’s already cooking up idea to encourage neighborhood activities at Christmastime.
Pishney’s suggestions for what you can do on Tuesday night:
Dress in fun costumes and give out candy to kids by having them play a quick game like corn hole, pin the tail on the donkey, etc.
Set up a “photo booth” background for pictures
Show a movie
Prepare hot chocolate to share with people
Have a fire pit and invite people to cook s’mores
Set out lawn chairs and have a barbecue to cook hot dogs to give out