I wish I had my video camera running this morning–I probably could have won some serious cash on AFV.  I watched the scene unfold, frame by frame, through the reflection of my bathroom mirror.  The shock!  The horror!  The torturous sorrow! A thousand emotions rushing over my sweet daughter Ellie’s normally cherubic face in a red-faced instant.  It had all started so innocently the night before…

Ellie had clearly been thinking about this for some time, watching her older sister Anna’s fascination with sleeping curlers at bedtime.  Anna adores her curls.  If she could have them all day, every day, she’d be thrilled.  So Ellie wanted to experience Anna’s joy firsthand.  She asked her mom to put the curlers in before she snuggled into bed last night.

I knew trouble was brewing the minute she walked into our bedroom this morning–the weight of the world bearing down on those cute little sleepy shoulders.  She moaned grumpily, “I’m never doing that again.  Too bumpy all night.”  Schlumping over to her mom (amidst the excited giggles and hand claps from her older sisters and dad in anticipation of the “big hair reveal”), Ellie expected only the prompt removal of the offending hair products.

One by one, the curlers came out, and second by second, Ellie’s angst grew.  Karyn picked her up and walked her into the bathroom for a look.  You should have heard the scream.  Ellie instantly buried herself into Karyn’s arms and wailed inconsolably for several minutes.

So much for that risk–but I’m glad Ellie took it.  She lost a few tears but, in the end, after a quick wet-down, big, curly hair became comfortably straight and all was right again with the world.  Even better, we now have a great new Ellie story to pass down in the great book of Kamphausen lore.

Though Ellie’s risk to try something new didn’t pan out to her liking, she still took the chance to be different.  And, in the end, I think she’s better for it (and laughing about it with the rest of us).

So what in the world is the moral of this story?  Well, as Halloween approaches this weekend, I’m always moved by the fact that, on this one kooky night of the year, my whole neighborhood parades across my front porch–parents, kids, grandkids and drop-in visitors on the prowl for goodies.  Honestly, there are so many things that bother me about Halloween–the glorification of death and the trivialization of evil and the spirit world.  I’d prefer to avoid the whole thing, really.  And yet, like Ellie, what simple risk could I take to show Christ’s hospitality to my neighbors this Saturday night?  By being fully present, by taking the risk to be kind and welcoming to kids and families, how might I be with God there, next to the pumpkins and candy corn?

I’ve been inspired by several families at Blanchard Warrenville who all live in the same Warrenville neighborhood and have a great plan for Halloween.  You’ll find them at the park at the end of their street Saturday night, roasting smores over some grills to hand out to trick-or-treaters.  What a great idea!

My family’s Halloween risk involves inviting some neighbors over for a little get-together once the candy hounds stop coming and trust that God will use that for His purposes.  I’m also seriously considering sitting out on the porch with my guitar while Karyn hands out cups of hot chocolate.  (The guitar part might drive away the children, though.  Too bad for them–more candy for me…).

I guess I’m comfortable being uncomfortable about participating in Halloween.  I would rather risk being welcoming as a Christ-filled neighbor than miss a divine appointment.

How about you?  Like Ellie and our family, what simple risk could you take to try something new to be a good neighbor this Halloween?  IMHO, the risk is definitely worth it.

We’re right where we need to be–just without the sleeping curlers.