Monday, October 1, 2012

HALLOWEEN: If you're going to Trunk-or-Treat...

If you want to do a Trunk-or-Treat... there are a few things to think about.

It can be a small gathering of simply decorated cars that hand out candy to kids or a huge carnival type outreach festival.  Either way, it's something that takes place in the church parking lot and/or yard and people decorate their cars or truck beds and dress up to hand out candy to the kids.  Some churches make it their annual outreach festival and put a lot of money toward it in renting bounce houses, inviting special entertainers, having carnival games, lots of food, etc.  But the truth is, you don't need a whole lot of money if you have a little creativity.  While it's not necessary for everyone to dress up as Bible characters, remember that it's not a Halloween party at church and don't forget that it's also Reformation and All Saints days.

Here are a few options to consider for your congregation: 
  • A festival can turn out to be a HUGE event. Decide up front what your goal is and how big an event you want. Is it to replace Halloween and/or provide an alternative for trick-or-treating (smaller event) or is it an outreach festival to bring the community to the church (bigger event)? 
  • Call it the Trunk-or-Treat Fall Festival and have it on Halloween between 6 and 9 pm.  Be conscious of lighting. OR Call it a Reformation Fall Festival and have it the Sunday afternoon or evening before or after Halloween.
  • Do you expect to make money, cover expenses, or is it a free community outreach event?
  • If it's your first year don't expect a lot of attendance as people may already have Halloween traditions.  It takes a while to start a new tradition and some will come to your event and still go trick-or-treating.
  • The idea of giving candy out of your car trunk can be... interesting.  Maybe make them more like trunk-booths and instead of just handing candy to the kids, give it as a reward for a silly game or trivia question or simple carnival game of some kind.  Perhaps two families can go in on one trunk-booth or if possible use a truck bed.
  • If you're using the parking lot, where will people park? 
  • Have a method of getting contact information from community visitors so you can follow up and thank them for coming.
Small Event
  • Promote it within the congregation and the local neighborhood with flyers, on Facebook, a church banner, or yard sign(s).
  • Have up-beat music playing. 
  • Simple Trunk-Booth ideas: Martin Luther Booth (pin the 95 theses on the door), Face Painting, mini-pumpkin painting, scarecrow hat toss, pumpkin bead bag toss or any other regular carnival type games/booths you choose.
  • Have free popcorn available. 
Big Event
  • The key to any annual outreach event is to make sure the community knows about it. Promote! Promote! Promote! Use the local newspaper, Facebook, Twitter, yard signs, large church street banner, word of mouth, etc.
  • Use any local talent available. 
  • Include a silent auction.
  • Have a pumpkin carving contest. 
  • Let people "bob" for apples with chopsticks. 
  • Instead of a hay maze, collect cardboard boxes and create a tunnel for young kids to travel through.
  • Have a cupcake walk.
  • Have a square dance.
  • If you're a rural church have hayrides.
  • Food booths:  pumpkin or apple pie, hotdogs, popcorn, etc.
There is an endless number of carnival games or fall festival ideas online.  Remember that the first year may not be the greatest success.  Keep the enthusiasm for reaching out to the community going and don't give up!  Every year you do it more people will come.  DON'T FORGET TO HAND OUT CHURCH INFORMATION!!

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