October is upon us, and that means cooler temperatures and more activities for the family. We hope you and your family will spend some quality time outdoors in your neighborhoods and communities. In fact, Gateway is making a big change this year to encourage you to get out and get to know more people near your home.

For years, we’ve offered the Fall Festival as an alternative to Halloween, and it has been a fun family event for many people. However, with its growth has come some challenges. We’ve had a difficult time with parking, large crowds, and very long lines. Though many staff and volunteers worked extremely hard to pull it off, the sheer volume inhibited us from making it an excellent experience for everyone. After last year’s festival, we realized we could make a bigger impact for the kingdom if we empowered families to get involved in their communities and neighborhood events. That’s why this year, instead of having Fall Festival, we’re encouraging you to get involved in your neighborhood. If each family or Gateway Group goes out into their community to get to know their neighbors—even if it’s just a few—imagine how many more people we can reach.

During our outreach series in August and September, we invited our neighbors into the church. Now, we have the opportunity to take the Church to our neighborhoods. Many people have looked for alternatives to celebrating Halloween, which we have answered by drawing people to the church for the Fall Festival. While we still intend to encourage alternatives to celebrating Halloween, this is a great opportunity to reach people for the Lord as they’re walking around our neighborhoods.

So what does this look like? We’re glad you asked! We’ve compiled a list of simple ideas you and your family can use to connect with and serve in your communities this month.

Have a Neighborhood Party

Invite the neighborhood families over for an afternoon of carving or painting pumpkins. You can serve light refreshments and enjoy a more focused time of conversation  with your neighbors and their families.

Give a Treat

Rather than knocking on neighborhood doors and taking a treat, why not give one? Put together little snack packs or treat bags, ring some doorbells, bless your neighbors, and invite them to church.

Get Your Group Together

Are you looking for a reason to get together with your Gateway Group? Have a mini Fall Festival with your Gateway Group and invite the whole neighborhood. Get a bounce house for the kids, have a costume contest where everyone wins, grill some burgers, and get to know your neighbors.

Set Up a Driveway Fire Pit

Set up a fire pit in your driveway or front yard and share some hot dogs, s’mores, and hot cider with your neighbors. Rather than just dropping a treat in a bucket, get to know your neighbors. Talk with them as you serve them. Don’t miss an opportunity to interact with them and encourage them.

Have an Apartment Party

Find out if your apartment is hosting a party, and ask what you can do to help out. If there’s not a party planned, grill some hot dogs and get some candy to hand out to neighbors as they are out and about. Most apartment complexes have a centrally located community grill you can use that is sure to attract residents.