by D. Lanier Shook October 17, 2018
Have you started planning for Halloween yet? Halloween is a time children enjoy expressing themselves through their costumes and getting free candy. (Hey, I can’t blame them for that.) While Halloween is stressful for parents, every year local folks come together every year to help parents have a easier time and kids have even more fun. I’m talking about the Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treat events that local churches hold on or near the end of October.
Here are four ways these events can make your Halloween easier.
1. They’ll save you time
There is a certain nostalgic charm to the idea of kids going from house to house in their neighborhoods with friendly homeowners giving them candy. But the reality is much more complicated and if your life is anything like mine, simpler is so much better. Because in reality you will end up walking from house to house or slowly creeping along as the kids run from the car to the front door and back again. Unless of course, you want to less your tykes run loose down a street dotted with unlit porches. And then there’s the matter of how much candy kids actually get — there’s always somebody who hands out baby carrots or crayons.
Fortunately many local churches “trunk or treats” where members park their cars around the parking lot and open the trunks. Children can walk from car to car and collect treats. Usually churches will have well lit parking lots equipped with folks to keep the traffic moving. Churches will also hand out enough candy to make up for the pretzels, baby carrots, crayons, or “healthy” treats. (Should I have put treat in quotation marks, too?”)
Think about it — you can literally scribble down “trunk or treat” in your Daytimer or in your phone and have a set time. You go, your kid roam around for fifteen to thirty minutes and you’re done! In one or two hours Halloween candy harvesting will be over. Seriously, this is a win-win for everybody. The church members enjoy giving out candy, your kids enjoy getting candy, and you can save up energy to chase them around after they eat the candy.
2. The kids will have more fun
If a local congregation decides to hold an event like this then they’re probably not going to go halfway. They’ll be a lot more candy than your little ghosts and goblins can collect from their neighbors. There may also be games and bounce houses — often inside, which means the event won’t be cancelled for rain. These events draw kids from around town, so Halloween won’t just be about candy collection, it can be about meeting new friends.
A few years ago West Asheville Baptist Church went all out, turning their entire educational building into a huge fun factory. Each Sunday School class filled their classrooms with games and attractions. The gym featured a bounce house and a Ferris Wheel for stuffed animals. It was loads of fun. (And the bounce house helps burn off sugar, making it easier for you.)
3. The people will be friendlier
If a congregation is going to do this then they want children to come. If someone volunteers to help put on this event they’ll be glad to see the kids. The people who bring the candy and set up the bounce houses want you to bring your family. These are places where you will find smiling faces and your children will notice.
This is a great place to point out that these churches usually vet their volunteers, including background checks for church workers. Most neighbors are upstanding citizens who are reliving memories of trick or treating, but in this day and time every parent has to be careful. Church events are a great way to let yourself breath easier as your kids load up on empty calories.
4. It’s a great example for your children
More than ever, we live in a self centered culture and parents are having a harder time encouraging their kids to give to others. These fall festivals and trunk or treats will show your children people giving to others and enjoying it. All you have to do is switch on the news or social media to realize how rare that is.
To find an event watch the church signs in your neighborhood or on your usual commuter routes. If a church is holding an event they will try to let you know. These events can be a great way to make your holiday season much easier.