Trunk-or-treating becoming Halloween tradition

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Josh Hepler reaches into a trunk for treats at the 2008 New McKendree United Methodist Church trunk-or-treat. (Photo courtesy Mark Bowles, New McKendree Church)

Parents are always looking for new activities for their children, and trunk-or-treating is the latest in Halloween trick-or-treat alternatives.

Often sponsored by churches, trunk-or-treats feature a parking lot full of cars with their trunks opened, decorated and ready for ghosts and goblins to stop by and say the magic words: "trick or treat." In addition to candy, however, these events often feature games, bonfires and other family activities.

The Rev. Shawn D. Wasson, senior pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Cape Girardeau, said Halloween night trick-or-treating has evolved throughout the years and trunk-or-treating is just another option.

"We have been doing trunk-or-treat for five years" he said. "I believe the numbers are increasing each year as families are looking for a safe alternative to traditional Halloween activities. Going house to house at night is not as safe as it used to be."

Wasson said in addition to the uncertainty of getting candy from strangers, there are other hazards often associated with trick-or-treating that make trunk-or-treating a safer alternative.

"Many costumes limit sight, and walking along dark streets and sidewalks can result in accidents involving cars and pedestrians," Wasson said. "The tradition of homemade treats became extinct many years ago, because of safety issues."

"At Bethany Baptist Church, we have an environment free of traffic, where children can come and get quality, wrapped candy."

Wasson said trunk or treating was also part of the church's community involvement and reaching out to those without a church.

The Rev. Irvin Brooks, pastor of Burfordville Baptist Church, said his church's trunk-or-treat is also a way to reach out to the community and offer information about the church and Christ. However, plenty of fun, candy and a firetruck are also scheduled for Halloween night.

"It's a safe place for children to come and get treats from about a dozen families. We'll have hot dogs and marshmallows," he said.

CrossRoads Fellowship in Jackson offers a slightly different take on the trunk-or-treat -- tractor treat. Instead of trick-or-treating through a parking lot, children earn candy through games. There is also a hayride, hence the "tractor" part of the evening.

This is the fourth year for the event and senior pastor the Rev. Brian Anderson said every year the event grows.

"We estimate between 1,200 and 1,500 people were here last year," he said. "It's a great community event.".

In addition to a hayride and games, the event also features a maze.

This is the second year Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jackson has offered a trunk-or-treat.

Director of youth ministry Kim Sellers said while trunk-or-treating offers a safe alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating, it is also about engaging children. At her trunk-or-treat older children and adults often dress in costume and distribute candy to the younger attendees.

"It is a good way for the children to interact with each other," Sellars said. "Last year the big kids had a ball. It was great fun," Sellers said.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent Addresses:

4400 E. Jackson Blvd., Jackson, MO

1712 Randol Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

208 S. Hope Street, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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