How to Start a Trunk or Treat

It's a candy giveaway and a tailgate party! 

The Town

Rindge, New Hampshire

The Rec Director

Timothy Goodwin

The Idea

For some towns, especially rural ones like Rindge, New Hampshire (population 6,014), the Halloween tradition of door-to-door trick-or-treating just doesn't work. "Long drives between homes and small neighborhoods with few houses make it difficult," explains Timothy Goodwin, director of the Rindge recreation department. Though for years, folks in Rindge did the typical trick-or-treating, "there was a community desire for a safer alternative," he says.

That's why in 2007, the rec department came up with Trunk-or-Treat. The staff invited residents to come park their cars at a local baseball field, pop the trunks, and hand out candy to car-hopping kids.

How It Works

Essentially, "it's tailgate trick-or-treating," Timothy says. "Children in costume go from car to car saying, 'Trick or treat!' and holding out their bags." And just as they might festoon their front door or porch, the people doling out the sweets decorate their cars with everything from cobwebs to strings of twinkling Halloween lights.

The family-friendly event has now become an annual Rindge tradition. "It fits everyone's needs," Timothy says. "The adults appreciate the safety factor, and the kids get a lot more candy than they used to!"

The rec department still coordinates the Trunk-or-Treat, opening the ball field to cars from 5:30 to 6:20 in the evening. Only those with enough candy to distribute (the rule is 300 pieces or more) are allowed to park on the field. Then, from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m., it's time to trunk-or-treat.

Over the years, Rindge has added activities to the event, making for a full night of Halloween fun. Young kids can wander the Mischievous Maze, while older kids and adults can take on the Trail of Terror. There's also a costume contest with prizes from local businesses. For many, though, the Trunk-or-Treat is the highlight.

Why Try It?

"It really gets you in the Halloween spirit." says Kayden Wozniak, age 9, who attended the Rindge Trunk-or-Treat for the first time last year with his mom, Lynn, his dad, Bryan, and 5-year-old brother, Cole. "It's fun for the entire family," adds Lynn. "Last year we went as trick-or-treaters. This year we'll decorate our car and pass out candy, too!"

Now You Try It

Want to plan a trunk-or-treat? Promote the event in school notices and local newspapers, advises Timothy Goodwin. And invite your local recreation department to get involved. 

Family Fun

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