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Halloween does not always go according to plan. Sometimes the costume doesn’t arrive in time, sometimes the treat bag rips, sometimes a blizzard hits right as you’re about to debut your Princess of the Desert costume. Life can throw curveballs at any given time, and Halloween night is no exception.  It is important for parents and community leaders to be accepting and adaptable to the crazy chaotic world that we live in. 

A few years ago, the east coast was ravaged by the devastating storm Hurricane Sandy appropriately dubbed the Frankenstorm, right as eager trick or treaters were putting the last minute touches on their costumes. While the worst of the storm had already passed come Halloween night, the damage had been done. Many neighborhoods were deemed unsafe to traverse as fallen trees littered the streets and downed power lines left many families without electricity. In many communities, Halloween had to be postponed or cancelled all together as communities regrouped to weather the devastation. 

But some communities got creative and came up with new and different ways to safely celebrate the spooky holiday. Below are some examples of different community’s ingenuity that can be translated perfectly to any Halloween celebration, natural disaster or not. 


“Trunk or Treat” has been a trending Halloween festivity in recent years, but gained immense popularity last year as many towns utilized this safer alternative to trick or treating. While normally a sidebar to the actual night, Trunk or Treat became the main event for many towns since roads were still too dangerous for young trick or treaters. “Trunk or Treat” is an event, often a community sponsored, where people gather and park their cars in a large parking lot such as at a high school or church. Then they open their trunks or backs of their vehicles and hand out candy to children as the kids walk from parked car to parked car. It provides a much safer outlet for candy craving kids to pull in a good trick or treating haul. Parking lots are generally free of hazards and your little superhero or princess will be in plain sight by yourself or other parked parents at all times. And there’s ways to spice it up! 

Parents and other participants can join the fun by decorating their trunk in spooky or entertaining ways. Themed cars are becoming more popular in Trunk or Treat festivities as each year, each trunk tries to outdo the others. Themes can be as simple as Fall in general, where you nicely arrange some of your fall and Halloween decorations in your trunk Or they can be much more elaborate such as turning your entire car into Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars. Whether you decorate a little, or decorate a lot, it adds to the dynamic of the atmosphere. It’s a benefits the adults as not only a conversation starter, but also an opportunity for fun and creativity. For ideas, check out our Pinterest page.

(NOTE: Always check with community organizers before the use of “scary” items such as blood, gore, or any particularly frightening monsters to ensure your trunk remains family friendly for any parents with toddlers or young children)


The fun doesn’t have to stop there! This is also an opportunity for community sponsored activities! Tables can be set up for games or carnival activities to engage children into more than just candy collecting. Some activities can be relatively inexpensive without skimping on the fun. Gross out tables are usually a popular attraction at many Halloween parties and you can create your own for the price of a few peeled grapes and some cold spaghetti in gelatin. 

Craft or coloring tables can also be set up for holiday themed art. On the less expensive side, you can print out free examples of coloring book pages and provide some utensils for children to color their own Halloween images. (For examples, try looking here: or visit our Free Printables page)

Or you could set up a “create your own treat bag” station prior to the start of the trick or treating, where children can be provided with cheap bags (or bring their own) to create a treat bag that’s all their own.  If you’re feeling craftier, tables can also be set up to make Halloween themed puppets or paper plate spiders. (Visit our Halloween Crafts Pinterest Page for ideas!). 

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even have supervised pumpkin carving stations. You could even ask for pumpkin donations from local farms or supermarkets to sells. (Many places later in the season may be willing to negotiate discounted prices for pumpkins) For pumpkin carving and decorating ideas, click here.

There is no limit to the creativity that can be brought into this alternative to trick or treating.  From food vendors to live bands, each Trunk or Treat can be personalized to a community and provide a safe haven for young trick or treaters to celebrate All Hallows Eve. What’s best is this event can be done in addition to traditional trick or treating, and can be initiated in any community. So consider trunk or treating for your next community celebration.