With Halloween just days away, the Santa Clarita United Methodist Church provided Santa Clarita residents with an opportunity to get some safe trick-or-treating done early.
On Sunday, the church hosted its annual “trunk-or-treat” event. Rather than having children go door to door to get their candy, members of the church dressed up and decorated the trunks of their cars, then gathered in the church’s parking lot to pass out candy.
Aside from the trick-or-treating, the church also offered a funhouse maze and a hot dog dinner for attendees. Associate pastor Kristi Smith organized the trunk-or-treat and said that this year, about 30 people volunteered their trunks and about 50,000 pieces of candy were donated to the church. She estimated more than 1,200 people would attend the event throughout the night.
This year, for added entertainment, a magician performed tricks for children standing in line. Usually Smith insists on the event being completely free of charge. However, in light of the Tick Fire, she agreed to let a local Boy Scout troop sell ice cream to fundraise for the Red Cross.
“We weren’t sure what was going to happen with this event because of the fires, but in the end I was prepared to open up the community rooms and classrooms to make sure this event happened,” Smith said. “Some of these kids had to evacuate and God forbid maybe even lost their houses. It was important for me to be able to help bring people a little bit of normalcy.”
Smith said that, as a church event, it was important to engage the entire community with the trunk-or-treat and not just their congregation because she said she feels that regardless of faith, all people are searching for God and by seeing the church do a good deed like this it would give them hope again.
Lead pastor Elaine Cho added that churches often get a bad rap for being oppressive and archaic organizations, and by engaging the community with good work, the Santa Clarita United Methodist church can help challenge those stigmas.
“We don’t want to be a church that just stays inside the four walls of our building. We are part of this community and we are here to serve everyone,” Cho said. “We’re all about loving God, ourselves and our neighbors and this is just one way we can love our neighbors. Halloween is the second most popular holiday in America and rather than try to have the community come into our building, we do this so that we can put our presence out in the community.”
John Dell and his family dressed up as prisoners and transformed the back of their car into a jail cell to pass out candy. Dell said he and his family have participated in the trunk-or-treat every year and appreciates the opportunity for his kids to trick or treat safely.
“It’s a great opportunity for parents and kids to come together and trick-or-treat without having to worry about traffic or people running all over the place,” Dell said. “I think everyone loves Halloween because of the candy and also because they get to ditch their inhibitions and dress up like they wouldn’t normally do and have fun.”