Trunk or Treat?

Is anyone doing this “Trunk or Treat” thing?

I’d never heard of this as a kid (maybe it’s new or something), and I’m glad. Really, are your neighbors that scary that you can’t let them give candy to your kids?

When I was growing up, we went out trick-or-treating around the neighborhood every year (except when Halloween fell on a Sunday), and it was great fun! When we were too little to wander around the neighborhood ourselves, a parent went with us, and then we followed standard safety precautions regarding what kinds of treats we’d accept. I remember at least one year we went out trick-or-treating with a group of Mormon families, and just about every year we had a fun Halloween party in the ward (that didn’t compete with trick-or-treating).

Was I just in a strange ward, or has the policy changed in the past few decades?


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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15 Responses

  1. mike d. says:

    they do them all of the time here in southern california. but it’s generally on a saturday, and so unless halloween happens to fall on that day most people take their kids out in the neighborhood too.

  2. The ward’s doing a trunk-or-treat today. My wife hates it when they try to directly compete with Halloween. So does my niece, a former Primary president who refused to help with the stake trunk-or-treat when it was scheduled on Halloween. Halloween is a great chance to get out an sow some missionary seeds. In light of that, I don’t understand the impulse to clump together like a bunch of isolationists. Of course in parts of Utah, a ward trunk-or-treat is pretty much the same as going out in your neighborhood.

  3. aerin says:

    Some of the churches in our area do the same thing (the Presbyterians, for example). At least, that’s my assumption since everyone seems to be going from car to car in the parking lot. Plenty of kids still go door to door in our neighborhood.

    I remember one year everyone was scared about razor blades in apples? Or when tylenol had been tampered with or something? My Mom (surprise ;)) was all doom and gloom (it’s the end of halloween as we’ve always known it) but by the next year, everyone was going door to door again.

  4. Hellmut says:

    Our ward does the trunk or treat thing early. It’s a nice opportunity to see your friends’ costumes when your ward covers more than one neighborhood.

  5. green mormon architect says:

    This is fairly new and definitely Mormon. Every ward we’ve been in the last 8 years has done one. Talk about a ridiculous outgrowth of suburbia. I guess the suburbs aren’t the bastian of morality everyone thinks they are if neighbors are too scared to let their kids visit their homes. In case we weren’t spending enough time in our cars, now we can spend halloween in our cars as well. Since the suburban lifestyle revolves around our vehicles, maybe we should look at ways other holidays can also be spent in and around our cars…

  6. Chino Blanco says:

    A super fun link for your All Hallows’ Eve:

    Just in Time for Halloween: Spook the Neighbors with your ‘Yes on 8 Zombie’ Routine !!

  7. Greg says:

    I don’t remember doing them growing up, but many churches and schools sponsor them these days. It’s not particularly a “Mormon” or “Utah” thing at all. A lot of parents like it simply because it gives small kids a chance to get some candy and have fun without the parents having to walk the neighborhood.

  8. Hellmut says:

    Awesome! A smart growth Mormon! Good to see you, Green Mormon Architect.

  9. chanson says:

    Aha, the plot thickens!

    I’d figured out (by googling “Trunk or Treat”) that it wasn’t just a Mormon or Utah thing. But I’d wrongly thought it was exculsively used as an alternative to real trick-or-treating for safety reasons.

    I remember those “razor blades in apples” scares Aerin mentions. People were supposedly sticking needles and staples into candies and poisoning treats. That whole thing always struck me as a pretty irrational fear. After all, the people handing out these treats live in your neighborhood (you obviously know where they live), so if they were offering tampered treats (for some crazy reason) there’s a pretty high probability they’d get caught. And parents can examine the treats for tampering — some neighborhoods even offer to X-ray the candies. And if you really want to be paranoid about this, it’s not as though it’s impossible for the local kid-poisoning-psycho to be someone in your ward or stake…

    I hadn’t realized, though, that (as Mike D. and Jonathan point out) it’s often in addition to trick-or-treating instead of competing. It looks like what it’s really competing with is the tradition of having a ward Halloween party. I think Green Mormon Architect may be on to something:

    In case we weren’t spending enough time in our cars, now we can spend halloween in our cars as well. Since the suburban lifestyle revolves around our vehicles, maybe we should look at ways other holidays can also be spent in and around our cars…

    LOL!! I’d rather show off my kids’ costumes to friends at a party indoors with games!

    But maybe I’m just being an old carmudgen saying “In my day we did it this way, and we liked it!” For example, we’d do things like bobbing for apples that I suppose will soon enter the realm of things people used to do in the olden days… 😉

    Of course, for all my talk, I haven’t taken my kids out trick-or-treating even once. Halloween is catching on in Europe, but it seems like trick-or-treating hasn’t caught on to the point where there are any places the kids could go and expect to get anything. This year both boys dressed up as pirates and we wandered around town a bit. We saw a few other groups of young people in costumes, but not many.

  10. chanson says:

    p.s. to Chino — yikes!! That is pretty scary…

  11. t.n. trap says:

    Word. Why do you want to hide from your neighbors? I am opposed to the trunk or treat-it’s just not as cool as the real thing. Mormon and non-mormon churches here do them. If you want to have a party, have a real party. Then let the kiddies go trick or treating, go around with them and maybe get a hint of how nice it is to actually get to know the people in your neighborhood.

  12. Chino,

    That’s a great way to kill the goodwill of Halloween, as if I wasn’t getting enough political fliers in my mailbox. Have these people no appreciation for the sanctity of Halloween? 🙂

  13. chanson says:

    Jonathan — lol, we atheists should start decrying the prop 8 folks’ “War on Halloween”. 😉

  14. chanson says:

    Speaking of people with no appreciation for the sanctity of Halloween — did you see this video about people campaigning to kids on Halloween?

  1. November 12, 2009

    […] I took my petition to a local stake trunk or treat event. I don’t usually attend local LDS stake events (as my name was removed some time ago), […]

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