When trunk or treats first became a thing I didn’t really understand them, why do you need another opportunity to trick or treat? Let me tell you, as a parent I TOTALLY get it. My daughter’s child care program and her elementary PTO both host a trunk or treat annually and my favorite thing about these is that it seems like a safer option than trick or treating. The group of parents are people that we know and trust, and the safety piece is so much easier to manage. Of course there are other perks – more opportunities to wear those expensive costumes for one! Since I’ve been planning trunk or treat events in different capacities for years now, I’ve picked up some tips for planning them. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Make it as easy as possible! Families are always more likely to participate if it’s super simple. offer a variety of ways to participate – decorating a trunk, donating candy, volunteering to help organize vehicles, or just coming to trick or treat. When people can choose what works best for them you’ll get a wider variety of support.
- Stay away from specific themes. This goes right along with keeping things simple. When there’s a theme that all vehicles have to be decorated along with families have to buy or create new decorations and that takes time and money. When they can do any theme they want then they can use old birthday party decorations or their children’s toys to decorate their trunk.
- Decide on your audience. Will your event be just for your program’s families, or is the entire community welcome? This will dictate how you share information about the event, and the number of treat stations that you’ll need.
- Consider safety beforehand. What kind of precautions do you need to take in order to keep attendees safe? This will also depend on your audience – if you’re working only with families that you’re familiar with then you can personalize some of this a bit more, considering allergies, child custody issues, and location concerns. If the entire community is invited, then you may think about partnering with a local police or fire department so they can be present if needed – again, this will depend on the anticipated size of your event. If the event will be at night, you’ll also want to make sure you have adequate lighting, and consider offering glow necklaces or reflector stickers for the children who attend.
- Think about logistics. Do you have parking for the trunk or treat stations AND attendees who are not passing out candy? How will you keep these vehicles separate? Will their be other activities for families to participate in, like games or costume contests? Do you have volunteers to help with these? Do you need to solicit donations from local businesses so that you can purchase additional candy? How will you recognize this support? Are there weather concerns to plan for, and if so will you need a rain date planned ahead of time? These are all things to consider before the event in order to help it run smoothly.
It can feel overwhelming to take all of this on! My best tip is to make it group effort and use the strengths of everyone on your planning committee. It should be a fun event that everyone looks forward to, not a chore!