You Need Trunk or Treat Tips Because BOO Happens in Cars.
Think about it: The idea of sending your precious little ones knocking on strangers doors to collect candy, strangers who may be dressed in a scary getup and may be handing out even scarier stuff, is frightening. But what’s a parent to do? Meet the Halloween tailgating party known as Trunk or Treat.
What is Trunk or Treat?
Trunk or Treat is the ideal way for kids (and maybe a parent or two) to have fun and collect candy and treats among friendly and familiar faces. It’s a great option for families in rural areas where houses are not close together, those who have a long commute with the kids–say from work and daycare–or those tethered to a sports schedule that means they don’t get home in time for the Halloween witching hour.
It’s also a popular for schools and communities that want to stage a formal Halloween event without investing a ton of time and money in decorating the school gym and selling tickets. Often, Trunk or Treat events are held on a night other than Halloween so the kids get to do both. That means they get to spend more time in that precious costume you spent weeks working on or searching for to get it just right.
Participants decorate car trunks, minivan or SUV cargo spaces, or for those who really bring it on, the back of a pick-up truck. Clever Trunk or Treat ideas include a minivan turned into a slumber party and an SUV turned into a beach party. Some choose scarier themes like pirate skeletons with a treasure chest of candy and witches brewing up treats. Pretty much anything goes as long as it’s fun (and there’s candy).
Trunk or Treat Tips: How it Works
Trunk or Treat events vary widely. Some are loosely organized events in which one neighbor suggest to a few friends and neighbors, “Let’s have a Halloween tailgate party in the Target parking lot.” Others are more involved productions in which a business, church, school or even a town organizes a structured event.
Father Rob from St. Luke and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and Preschool in St Cloud, Florida explained: “We typically ask parents to register their cars ahead of time so that we can plan ahead. It’s fun to see all the themes and some parents really go all out. In our case, we’ve turned the Trunk-or-Treat event into a Fall Festival with games, food and a prize for the best decorated trunk.”
The event gives the church an opportunity to interact with members of the community. Every year, I hear all about how much fun the St. Luke’s event is. My grandson, Benjamin, tells me all about it.
East Coast Traveling Mom, Mary Dixon Lebeau’s church, Hope Christian Fellowship, hosts Trunk or Treat each year. Last year more than 1,000 people attended.
And Cultural Heritage TravelingMom Christine Tibbetts says this of Trunk or Treat in her hometown: “This is a well-loved event in Tifton, Georgia. Decorated trunks, vehicles and people converge on the parking lot at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. Neighborhood, community and parishioners participate.”
Want to Organize an Event for Your Community? Read These Trunk or Treat Tips!
- First, be sure to get permission from the location where the event will be held. Whether it’s a business, church or other parking lot, be sure no one is parked in a way that disrupts traffic flow and that children will be safe and out of the way of moving cars.
- Connect with your local law enforcement and fire department in advance to let them know where you’ll be holding the Trunk or Treat event. You may even be able to involve them–always a benefit to a community event.
- When choosing a time, consider if the parking lot is lit after dark. If not, hold the event during daylight hours or plan to set up floodlights.
- Find out if you can have access to restrooms if your event will last several hours. Coordinate with the appropriate staff to make sure the doors are unlocked and locked at the proper times.
- Ask parents to register in advance if they are planning to decorate their cars. This will give you an idea of how much space you need to reserve for vehicles and allow you to provide instructions or guidelines to them in advance.
- Provide trash cans in several locations for everyone to use and ask participants to clean up their own space.
- Estimate how many Trunk or Treaters will attend and how much candy will be needed. Some parent groups purchase all the candy to be handed out. Others ask participants with decorated trunks to bring candy for 100, for example, and then restock them when they run out.
If You Are Attending a Trunk or Treat Event
- Buy an inverter. Battery powered lights and decorations work great, but if you want to run holiday lights and props that are for AC power and draw low current, you can buy a device called an inverter from your local auto parts store. It will convert the DC power of a car battery into AC power.
- Be sure to pack blankets, coats and gloves in case it gets cold
- Bring extra batteries for flashlights; it gets dark early many places.
- Don’t forget, this is REALLY for the kids. Involve your kids in the decorating. Let them help choose a theme and maybe even coordinate their costumes with the theme in your trunk. Creating a giant cookie monster in your trunk? Dress the kids as chocolate chip cookies. You get the idea.
Important Trunk or Treat Tips to Keep Everyone Safe
This is super important: Don’t run your car’s engine (make this part of the registration information so everyone knows) to keep lights or other electronics going, or to warm up frosty kids. Even with today’s super low emissions, cars still emit enough toxic exhaust to make people sick.
Also, appoint monitors to keep the real monsters (or curiosity seekers) out; make sure that everyone at your event is a legitimate attendee. Arm them with language such as, “Sorry, this is a private event” (but if you’re holding your event in a public place, be prepared to have a few extra kids ‘find’ the party).
Have fun putting a little ‘Boo!’ into your Halloween with Trunk or Treat. Share your Trunk or Treat tips on our Facebook page.