Trunk or Treat!
by Elisa Tomlinson
I have a confession to make. I have never once been trick-or-treating! My parents weren't big on Halloween. Too many scary costumes, too much bad history, too-often repeated news stories warning of dangerous candy. Fortunately for today's kids, many churches have begun to offer exciting alternatives to a traditional Halloween—alternatives even my folks would approve!
One such event finding increasing popularity among CTA customers is a yearly Trunk or Treat.
Pastor Ricky Burse of Linary Church of Christ near Crossville, Tennessee, explains trunk-or-treating: "We park fifty to seventy decorated cars and trucks in a big U-shape in our parking lot. The kids have a great time going from trunk to trunk gathering popcorn balls, candy, and other treats. It's really a twofold mission for us: we want to create a safe, fun environment for the kids to celebrate fall, and also to provide an opportunity for fellowship in our community."
Interested in hosting a Trunk or Treat at your church? Here's how:
• Plan well in advance. Pastor Scott Tessin, Children's Ministry Pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Oakville, Missouri, recommends beginning in August if you plan to host a full fall festival and make it all it can be. "It usually works best to have a committee of three to five people. One can oversee food, if you want to offer that; one can be in charge of communication within the community; one can handle the recruitment of volunteers, and so forth."
• Publicize! While one of the committee members can be responsible for overseeing publicity efforts and posting a notice in your "Trading Times" or other local flea market publications, other individuals can hang flyers at the local library, YMCA, and day-care centers. John Hartmann of Shiloh Baptist Church in Oakville, Missouri, encourages church members to hand out flyers at a nearby elementary school. What a wonderful opportunity to go out into your community and invite unchurched neighbors and friends to a nonthreatening church-sponsored event!
• Recruit enough volunteers. One of the great things about Trunk or Treat is that the whole family can participate, making it easy to find helpers. Explain to your members that parents can keep an eye on their little ones by hosting a trunk at the event. Also, encourage various discipleship groups and teams of friends to sign up to host a trunk. The more trunks the better!
• Make it part of a larger event. Linary Church of Christ incorporates Trunk or Treat at the church's annual chili supper. At Faith Lutheran Church, Trunk or Treat is a recent addition to Faith's "Annual Fall Festival," a yearly event that also includes bobbing for apples, a beanbag toss, a cakewalk, three-legged racing and similar activities. It keeps those sugared-up kids happily occupied and burning energy for several hours. (You may want to sell tickets at a nominal price, for at least some of these stations, to help defray costs.)
• Encourage competition! One of the best things about Halloween is the costume contest. With Trunk or Treat, that competition spills over onto the cars, as well. Pastor Tessin tells of one family whose trunk (the bed of their pickup truck) was decorated like Mount Sinai. "It was great! The whole family dressed up like Bible characters, and they had built a mountain out of hay bales, tarp, and tissue paper in their truck!"
• Plan and provide for a great turnout. One of the most common problems we've heard from groups hosting a first-year Trunk or Treat is that the candy supply ran out in the first fifteen minutes because so many kids showed up! So whatever you do, make sure that you have plenty of goodies for all. For some great, nonedible treats, check out CTA's Halloween alternative items [Add link here].
Have a fun and happy fall festival from CTA!
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