How to Organize a Trunk or Treat
It’s hard to believe, but October—and then Halloween—are right around the corner. (You’ll be able to tell any day now when stores begin to put up Christmas trees…) The usual trick-or-treating is always a fun time with the little ones, but if you’re tired of hiking around several miles in the bitter cold just to get your kids some Snickers and cheap suckers, you might consider a Trunk or Treat event instead.
“Trunk or Treat—what is this strange thing you speak of? Is that a new dance move?”
No, Trunk or Treat is not yet a dance move (but with Psy and Miley Cyrus still hanging onto whatever fame they should never have been given, it’s very possible that it could very well be a dance move in the years to come…). For now, however, a Trunk or Treat is just an event, typically held in the parking lot of a school, church, or community center, in which a group of trusted adults decorate the trunks of their cars for Halloween and pass out candy to children of friends and family. It makes for a safer environment (with less walking) and allows you to host even more fun, like contests and games and dance parties.
Not sure how to organize a trunk or treat event? No problem. Check out our step-by-step guide below.
How to Organize a Trunk or Treat
1. Recruit other volunteers and participants.
Survey your friends, neighbors, family, and other parents at school to see if anyone else would be interested in helping to organize, or at the very least participate in, a group Trunk or Treat. After all, a Trunk or Treat wouldn’t be very much fun with just one trunk and a few treats. Instead, make sure you have enough people committed to bringing and decorating their cars to pass out candy, and ask some to plan games or activities for the kids.
2. Find a location.
Determining where to host your Trunk or Treat doesn’t have to be too stressful; most places will be more than happy to host. Reach out to your favorite community center, or perhaps your child’s school, your place of employment, a local park, or the family church. You should be able to find a location that will let you host free of charge. Keep in mind that you’ll want the venue to be centrally located to all parties in attendance.
3. Pick a date.
While you may think that Halloween or the typical Beggar’s Night in your town would be the best bet, many people have other plans for those dates. Either the kids will still want to participate in a traditional night of trick-or-treating or, if they’re hip enough, the parents might have their own Halloween parties to attend. Instead, consider a weekend evening so that the youngsters won’t have school in the morning, perhaps the weekend prior to Halloween.
4. Develop rules appropriate for your group.
If you want to host a Trunk or Treat for a bunch of preschoolers, it’s important to remind parents that decorates should be kept to a scare-minimum. There are plenty of trunk decorating ideas that don’t involve the traditional ghouls and goblins—and in fact, these can be much more fun. Consider a Disney-themed trunk, or maybe a jungle safari or a gone fishin’ theme. Get even more Trunk or Treat ideas here.
In addition, if you know of a participating child has a certain food allergy (like a pesky peanut allergy), have parents bring special candies sans nuts (or provide those for each trunk yourself) in addition to the regular candies, so that every child can participate.
5. Plan some extra fun.
Let’s be honest: going trunk to trunk to gather free candy while in costume should be enough to entertain your kids, but it’s probably not going to be. Make a night of this event by planning some extra activities, and have other parents contribute as well.
Some ideas include the following:
- Face painting
- Halloween-themed games, like Pin the Wart on the Witch and a Mummy Wrap
- Costume contest
- Scarecrow building
- Halloween music dance party
- Trick or treat bag decoration
Just be sure to have some goodie bags (with more candy, or maybe some cool things like spider rings or Halloween pencils) to give away as prizes.
You should also plan to have some refreshments—or encourage parents to bring some for themselves. If you have the means and want to go all out, plan a barbecue or even a bonfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows!
6. Take a deep breath, relax, and have some candy.
Once you finally get to your Trunk or Treat event, remember to enjoy yourself. You’re probably stressed from all the planning, but seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces should be payoff enough. But just in case you still feel owed, take a bite or two of a Reese’s. You won’t regret it.