How scary is Halloween?
Pretty scary actually. It’s downright dangerous. The National Safety Council reports that children are more than twice as likely to hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The dark driving conditions, multiplied distractions and increased number of people on the streets make it a truly dangerous night.
One creative option that has come up is the Trunk or Treat event. Picture a church parking lot with happy people and car trunks decorated and full of candy (lots of candy). This is Trunk or Treat. More candy. Less walking. Sounds like a good deal, unless you want to fill those rings on your Apple Watch.
Who came up with Trunk or Treat?
According to Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, a Halloween expert who has written extensively on the holiday, states that Trunk or Treat came on to the scene in the 1990’s through church groups looking for Halloween alternatives. Unfortunately, the original inventor of Trunk or Treat could not be found. But it does seem to be here to stay.
Parents may still regale their children with stories about walking 20 miles for their candy but there is some real logic in this Trunk or Treat thing. It does lessen the risk for being on the road as well as give the opportunity to create a fun positive environment. Maybe this event is a good fit for your church.
GuideOne, one of our church insurance companies, put together a helpful list of items to help you plan and manage risk if you should choose to jump on board the Trunk or Treat train
Things to consider for your Trunk or Treat event:
- Participants – Discuss whether or not anyone in the community can sign up to have a vehicle on-site, or if only organization members will be allowed to participate in handing out candy.
- Attendees – Decide who will be invited to your event. Will you allow only organization members and their families? The entire community? Will there be a fee to participate, or will it be a free event?
- Date – Will your event be held during regular trick-or-treating hours, or on a different day so as not to compete? Will you hold the event early in the evening to avoid the dark and colder temperatures?
- Food safety – One in 13 children has a food allergy, so this must be addressed as you plan your event. Will you allow homemade items to be passed out, or only store-bought, pre-packaged items that don’t contain nuts or other allergens? Will you sell food and/or beverages during your event?
- Building security – If you are holding the event at your facility, decide if you’ll open the building or keep it locked during the event. Will participants have access to the restrooms, the entire building or nothing at all? If you open your building to attendees, have a volunteer monitor traffic to and from the building.
- Falls – Falls are a leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween, according to the National Safety Council. Inspect the grounds for fall hazards, such as curbs, grassy areas, cracks, potholes or any other obstruction that may be hidden due to dim lighting.
- Traffic – The benefit of hosting your event in an enclosed area is that it reduces the risk of children running into traffic. However, there will be vehicles moving in and out of the parking lot as people come and go. Have a volunteer direct traffic to guide traffic flow and also have a designated walking area away from the traffic for children moving around the parking lot.
- First aid – No matter how much you plan, accidents can happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a volunteer on-site who is trained to administer care should an accident occur. Keep a first-aid kit handy, too.