Trunk-or-treating events offering COVID-friendly alternative for Halloween

·3 min read
Erin Bruegger is seen with family at a trunk-or-treat that was held at her child's school. Her vehicle will have the same Harry Potter decor at Sunday's trunk-or-treat.   (Submitted by Erin Bruegger - image credit)
Erin Bruegger is seen with family at a trunk-or-treat that was held at her child's school. Her vehicle will have the same Harry Potter decor at Sunday's trunk-or-treat. (Submitted by Erin Bruegger - image credit)

As kids gear up for a second pandemic Halloween, community organizers across Nova Scotia are doing their best to provide safe, family-friendly fun with trunk-or-treat events.

"There'll be a lot of people kicking around enjoying themselves, music playing," said pastor Christopher Drew at Stevens United Baptist Church in Dartmouth, one of many places hosting a trunk-or-treat event this year.

Trunk-or-treating involves volunteers gathering in a parking lot and handing out treats from the trunks of decorated vehicles, providing a safe and convenient location for kids to dress up in their Halloween costumes and play games. It's not a new concept, but this year it might just be a safer option for some.

Drew says more safety precautions are possible, which might help ease COVID-19 fears some parents have about their children going door to door. Drew said once proof of vaccination is confirmed for volunteers and guests, they can move freely within the parking lot.

There will be games like ring toss, prizes, hot dogs and kids will be able to peruse different parked vehicles, where volunteers will hand candy directly into their Halloween bags.

Erin Bruegger, a fellow pastor at Stevens United Baptist Church, says the church will be aligning itself with public health restrictions. Masks will be recommended at the event, and there will be sanitization stations and physical distancing.

Want to trunk-or-treat? Here is a list of events compiled by CBC

Drew says in addition to receiving community support from parents and those in the congregation, they've also heard concerns from some of their older community members who worry about greeting trick-or-treaters at their door. The church is making sure they aren't excluded from these kinds of community events.

"We want our volunteers to feel safe and valued, and we want to make sure that the kids that are coming and know that their safety as well as their enjoyment is a big priority for us."

Miranda Cain, a community leader in North Preston who helping out with that area's own trunk-or-treating event, seconds that sentiment, saying North Preston has a large elderly community.

Cain says the community is prioritizing safety this year after a 10-year-old boy was reported missing from North Preston late Tuesday. He was found safe the next day, but Cain says there are children who are now "afraid to walk the streets alone."

"This trunk-or-treat will be something really good for them and to still be able to participate in Halloween," said Cain, founder of the North Preston's Future Community Organization.

Child safety

Donna Isnor is volunteering for the first time at a trunk-or-treat event at Hillside Wesleyan Church on Chameau Crescent in Dartmouth. She says she hopes that trunk-or-treat events will help communities in the Halifax region to feel loved.

"I'm very happy to be here to be doing this," she said.

Isnor and her husband have lived in military housing for the past 20 years and only recently moved into an apartment. They unfortunately don't get any trick-or-treaters, so this is a chance for them to give out candy and have fun doing it.

"It's scary for parents not knowing if their children are going to be safe when they send them out the door. So we're very happy to be able to provide this safe one activity for the kids in the community."

Public Health says if you plan on trick-or-treating door to door, to distance yourself from others, skip houses with no lights on and visit homes outdoors when possible.

Drew says so far they've gotten a lot of candy donations as well as monetary ones. He says whether their event is someone's first or only stop, he's hoping to see people in the community have fun and take home treats to enjoy.

"[It's about] finding those moments where, with safety and wisdom in care, that we can still get together and just enjoy some community time."

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