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How to Organize a ‘Trunk-or-Treat’ Event

Trick-or-treating is a fun tradition for many families… but it might not be for everyone. If you’re looking for a shorter, friendlier Halloween experience, consider a “Trunk or Treat.”

What is a Trunk or Treat?

At a trunk or treat, participants decorate their cars and offer candy in a central gathering spot – for example, a parking lot of a school, church or local business. Kids dress up in costumes and go from car to car to collect their treats. Since trunk or treat events usually happen during the day in a well-lit, supervised location, they can be a good alternative for young children or families looking for a more sensory friendly Halloween experience.

If your community doesn’t have a trunk or treat, here are five tips to get one started.

How to Host a Trunk or Treat

  1. Pick your location: First, think about how many people you’d like to attend. Then, find someplace with a large enough parking lot and ask their permission to use the space. Good locations include schools, colleges or universities; churches; community centers; or a local business.
  2. Choose a date: Many trunk or treat events are held on a different day than Oct. 31 to give families the option of how they want to celebrate. Some good options are the weekend before Halloween, or a different weekday leading up to the holiday.
  3. Consider the cost: Decide whether you’ll charge participants a fee to enjoy the event, or if it will serve as a fundraiser for a specific organization or cause.
  4. Recruit cars to hand out candy: If you’re hosting the event at a school, see if the PTO or teachers want to participate. Or, ask local businesses to participate. Pro tip: Ask them early! Make sure you allow trunk participants enough time to come up with an idea, decorate their trunk and purchase treats to pass out.
  5. Put safety first: On the day of the event, make sure participants arrive at least an hour prior to the event start time. Have them set up, decorate their trunk and get ready for the children. If possible, it’s also a good idea to make sure families can park in a separate area away from the kids walking through the event space.

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