Think your trunk is just a place to hide your spare tire or lug a load back from the grocery store?
Aurora’s Hobbs family wants you to think again. The trunk of your car might not look like much at the moment, but with a few creative touches, there are almost endless eerie possibilities.
To add a bit of oomph for little ghouls, goblins and their parents getting ready to see what the second annual Aurora’s Haunted Greenhouse (October 24 to 30 at the Joint Operations Centre) has in store, a Trick or Trunk Alleyway full of decorated trunks – maybe even yours! – will be an extra attraction.
“Trick or Trunk is a concept that emerged from the United States and while the genius of the concept is cool, the real genius part of it is the person who has the skillset to be able to work with the depth and the shape of the trunk and that’s the real magic that pulls it together,” says Shelley Ware, Special Events Coordinator for the Town of Aurora.
Integral in helping Ms. Ware get the concept off the ground for the first time in Aurora is the Hobbs Family who moved to King Township in 2019 and then to Aurora just a few months ago.
Halloween enthusiasts, the family was eager volunteers at last year’s inaugural Haunted Greenhouse event (which replaced the 2020 Haunted Forest due to public health concerns) and, when presented with the concept, they took the idea and ran with it just to see the possibilities.
“As we were planning with the kids, we were looking at pictures throughout the summer,” says mom Charlene Hobbs of coming up with their vision. “We had Halloween food one day and created these ideas. The cost wasn’t actually that much as we tried to use as many items from home as we could and we didn’t have to buy a lot of stuff other than balloons.”
If they didn’t have the perfect item to add that special finishing touch, a quick trip to the dollar store did the trick for the trunk.
“As we were doing it, I liked that it gave me family time with a purpose that was fun,” says Charlene of developing some of the trunk concepts for the Town.
“Even with teenagers, which I have now, it is really hard to get them to interact with their parents because I don’t know anything anymore!” she continues with a laugh. “This was a way for me to connect with my teens. It gave us some quality family time, which was the best return on the investment in signing up to do this.”
The beauty of the initiative, says Charlene, is that not only is it an affordable way to get into the holiday spirit, when you come to the Joint Operations Centre with your decorated trunk, you’re able to get outside on what is hoped to be a beautiful fall evening – and it could expand beyond the Town’s own Haunted Greenhouse event.
“It will be amazing for families who want to put something out but don’t want to do their whole house, like at Christmas,” she says. “It just is not as much work, but you still get the whole fulfilment from seeing trick-or-treaters and decorating and, when you’re done, you just put it back in your trunk and go home.”
In the meantime, however, the focus is on the Haunted Greenhouse event.
Ms. Hobbs’ measure of success as the clock ticks down to Halloween 2021 is seeing decorated trunks fill the alleyway, scores of people both taking part and taking in, and seeing the “smiles on their faces and the joy.”
“The real reward is seeing how much people enjoy things,” she says.
Adds Ms. Ware: “Another measure of success would be as people look at these trunks in real time that they gain the confidence that they could do it. If they do, taking part is as simple as emailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Some people might only be able to commit to one night, some might want to come for all five nights.
“There are now words to describe how grateful we are for the Hobbs’ enthusiasm to getting us to this stage and also clearly defining that we can hit the moon with this. We want people to take a chance, try to get involved in a different way and, if you get your trunks done, you’re set for Sunday, October 31!”
For more information, including how to book your spot for the Haunted Greenhouse, visit aurora.ca/hauntedgreenhouse or call 905-726-4762.
Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran