Saturday, October 22, 2005

Salvation Army Plans Safe Halloween Event

Puzzled by the “Trunk or Treat” sign outside the Salvation Army?

Salvation Army staff and “concerned individuals” will park in the group’s lot and open their car trunks packed with bags of candy, according to operational manager Donald Nichols. Costumed youngsters will go from trunk to trunk, filling their bags with treats.

It’s a twist on the “trick or treat” tradition that has nowadays become even more scary than the ghosts and goblins of Halloween. Many parents are reluctant to let kids go door to door anymore, for fear of contaminated treats or encounters with strangers.

The Trunk or Treat event offers all the fun with none of the worry.

“It’s a little safer,“ Nichols said.

Last year, an outside group offered to hold the Trunk or Treat to help “inner city” children, Nichols said. About 30 cars made a circle in the lot and opened their trunks full of candy for the kids.

This year, the event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Salvation Army, Watchung Avenue at East Seventh Street. Nichols said children should have a parent with them and may wear costumes.

“All are welcome,” he said.

While Plainfield’s event is geared to providing fun for city kids, there are lots of variations on the Trunk or Treat idea. In Fanwood, “Scary Family Storytime” at the borough library will precede the Trunk or Treat, followed by a parade to La Grande Park. In Alexandria, organizers are charging $10 per car, with prizes for the best-decorated trunk, costume judging and a jack-o’lantern contest.

A quick online search reveals the popularity of 'Trunk or Treat' at churches and schools all over. But besides being a new one on The Plaintalker, it was something Plainfield Recreation Director Dave Wynn had never heard of.

Wynn said Plainfield will hold its annual Halloween party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31 in the Plainfield High School cafeteria for children ages 5 to 10. There will be a costume parade, arts and crafts and refreshments, Wynn said.

--Bernice Paglia