What It Means When Cops Hold “Trunk or Treat” to Discourage Kids from Acutally Going Door to Door

Hi all! My latest post is up at Let Grow, about de-normalizing trick or treating. Hop over by clicking here.

Thanks and Happy Halloween! – L.

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29 Responses to What It Means When Cops Hold “Trunk or Treat” to Discourage Kids from Acutally Going Door to Door

  1. Richard October 31, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    When I lived out in a country neighborhood where houses were kinda far apart, I appreciated Trunk Or Treat for the simple reason that it made trick or treating much less complicated and arduous. Now that I’m back living in a fairly close-packed neighborhood, I wouldn’t bother with it.

  2. Beth October 31, 2017 at 10:49 am #

    It’s going to take me awhile to love going back and forth between two web sites. Maybe the plan is that this one (Free Range Kids) will be eliminated at some point.

  3. JTW October 31, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    “4 – The kids are corralled into a “designated area” — a safe space, as it were. This is implying that they are only safe when they can be watched over. That’s the basic premise of house pets…and prisoners.”

    and it worked oh so well for the victims in Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Paris, Birmingham, and countless other mass shootings and terrorist attacks, all those places too had police “protection”, probably more than this “event”.

  4. AmyP October 31, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    Trunk or treats are not bad for rural areas and are convenient for small children. With an 11,9, and two four year olds my plan is to allow the older two to go by themselves door to door and take the four year olds to do something else.

  5. AmandaM October 31, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    I hate the name, but can appreciate the concept. I used to live in a neighborhood that had a lot of non-participating houses, so we ended up walking blocks and blocks to get the amount of candy that we deemed “satisfactory.” Having a block party or community event where you don’t have to walk so far is kind of nice for kids who insist on complicated costumes or parents lugging around kids of different ages.

    My five-year-old still trick or treats around our neighborhood, and it’s a great way to get to know your neighbors. But for overall candy “haul” the trunk events seem to be preferred by the older kids around here.

    (Personally I always buy way too much candy and hope that we get more trick or treaters than we do.)

  6. Theresa Hall October 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    Maybe if a rural place where it a long distance between houses it might be a good idea but the bay area is a city with houses close by. Send those cops to watch traffic.
    This just takes the fun out of trick or treating. When I was a kid my parents were nearby but I went to the houses as many as I could.

  7. AmyP October 31, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    I’m really hoping I get some trick or treaters. Even as a teenager I loved to be the one to hand out the candy so I could see the costumes. Where I lived before I never got any, but it was a high crime area and then it was a very poor area as well so may have been more of a financial burden to give candy or take off work to take kids trick or treating. I am in a new neighborhood now and I have no idea if anybody will come to the door, but I have my fingers crossed.

  8. Puzzled October 31, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

    Treat or treating was always about a lot of things, but never candy. Now they’re taking out the walking, and focusing on candy. Wonderful. Meanwhile, is it any safer? Probably not.

    The kids who really need Halloween, though, lose out – the kids whose parents, maybe, won’t take them near police, but who can’t go trick or treating because of the denormalization.

  9. Puzzled October 31, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    My town (well, where I used to live) has a party. I thought it was nice until they told me “it’s to discourage dangerous things like trick or treating and keep things safe.” Yea, suddenly no longer interested in helping out.

  10. Backroads October 31, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    My inlaws live in a rural area. I asked about trick-or-treating. They alternate by year: one year, focus on the candy and have a trunk-or-treat at the church, next year, well, see if you can’t get to the different houses and rely on treats from the school party.

    I like the idea of a trunk-or-treat in and of itself… it’s kind of a fun community party. But when they aim to replace trick-or-treating… nope.

  11. Theresa Hall October 31, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    Now this might be good idea for young kids who are still mastering safety rules and following directions but for older ones who have gotten the hang of those skills this is silly and takes some the fun out of Halloween.

  12. Diane November 1, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    The new pastor’s wife at my church attempted to start a trunk-or-treat this year. I’m not sure how well it was attended last Sunday; we were way too busy and did not go.

    My neighborhood doesn’t have a ton of kids, and with the rain last night, the streets were pretty bare. But my kids had a blast. The older ones (13 and 10 yrs) started out with the adults and our 2 yr old, and then they went off on their own for the rest of the evening. The houses are close together, but many lights were not on, so the bigs went further afield until they got a decent haul. One house on the street behind us always throws a party for the adults on the porch and it’s a highlight. I wish there were more kids out and about, though.

  13. James November 1, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    My wife and I went to two Trunk-or-Treat events last night before going around a neighborhood some friends live in. Honestly, I think it’s a good idea that’s taken too far.

    The local fire department put on a Trunk-or-Treat, where they gave out candy in their parking lot and let the kids (and the folks like me, who never grew out of the “Oh cool, firetrucks!” stage!) see the various equipment they had. Big trucks+candy=happy little kids! They had some antique fire trucks out, some equipment they rarely get to use, etc.–they used it as much as a training exercise and excuse for maintenance as anything else. And it was early, starting at 4:30, so it didn’t interfere with the neighborhoods’ trick-or-treating. I do wish they’d have had fire fighters in full turnout gear; it’s scary (particularly the SCBA), and kids need to be exposed to it to understand “These are good guys”. Otherwise, kids run away from fire fighters during a fire, which, predictably, has tragic results. But having the kids see the fire fighters and police and EMTs is good. And it does a world of good to the fire fighters, police, and EMTs as well. They need that psychological boost of seeing pure joy on the faces of little kids; it balances out the horrors they are routinely exposed to.

    A local church also put on a Trunk-or-Treat. It served two purposes. First, it was a way to get the various kids who live way out in the country (further than you can reasonably expect even an active kid to bike) a chance to wander around in costume and get candy. I know some folks will say “But they could just go to a neighborhood and do that”, and sure, to an extent you can–we did–but there are practical considerations, such as parking, that make this less than ideal. It’s not really clear where you’re allowed to park in many of the neighborhoods around here. Plus, the congregation was pretty spread out, and this was a chance for them to get together. The second purpose was advertising–the event was open to the public, and they were trying to get folks into the pews. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s their event, they can advertise if they want. I’m just presenting it as a fact to consider.

    I fully agree that Trunk-or-Treat in place of traditional Trick-or-Treat, particularly for the asinine reasons given, is wrong. It’s factually wrong, spreads false information, and as Lenore said, re-enforces the acceptance of treating children like prisoners and convicts.

  14. pentamom November 1, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    I don’t mind Trunk or Treat in concept because there are situations where kids live out in the country far from walkable areas, or with houses really far apart, or want to do a group activity with a group they’re a part (e.g. a church.)

    But this one advertises itself in a way that suggests that traditional trick or treat is just too dangerous in general, and that’s dumb.

  15. pentamom November 1, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    “Treat or treating was always about a lot of things, but never candy.”

    Must be a regional thing. I’m 52 years old and trick or treating has been about two things for my entire life: dressing up, and candy.

  16. Theresa Hall November 1, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    I don’t want to offend anyone but I agree with pentamom. Candy and costumes that what I remember about Halloween and going to the houses in my costume to get that candy.
    My house quit giving out candy because the trick or treaters numbers kept shrinking down to zero. Every year less candy hunters till one year none.

  17. Puzzled November 1, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    Not offended; either it was my neighborhood or it was just me (I don’t like sweet things all that much). I always remember it being about the adventure of seeking candy, while in costume, not the candy persay. Not much adventure walking around a parking lot.

  18. John B. November 1, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Well, Halloween 2017 is over and I did have a few kids come to my door. Not as many as previous years BUT I think much of that had to do with Halloween falling on a school night early in the week. One year when it fell on a Friday I had lots of kids come to my door. When Halloween fell on Thursday nights I had a fair share of kids too. But Tuesday night when the kids have 3 more school days left in the week, I can understand why I wouldn’t get many kids then.

    Regardless, the few kids who did come to my door I think were happy when they left because I gave them full sized candy bars and/or bags of M&Ms! I do this to encourage more door to door trick-or-treating among the kids.

  19. pentamom November 1, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Okay, yes, the adventure was part of it, but I don’t know that many kids would have perceived it as “never about candy.”

  20. lollipoplover November 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    We had over 100 trick-or-treaters this year, around 30 more than last year. There were large groups of teens (mine was out there too) and I honestly love seeing them still participating. Our town is old-fashioned and doesn’t have any organized activities for Halloween- there really isn’t a need as we have families in neighborhoods with sidewalks and tons of folks giving out candy and enjoying meeting their neighbors.

    I’ve also noticed that parents seem to enjoy themselves when taking young kids out, some were pulling a wagon stocked with beer and visiting houses and being invited for adult beverages! Kids go door to door for candy while the adults get a beer tasting! We have a bonfire in our driveway and so do many of our neighbors.. Gotta use those Hershey bars to make s’mores. I don’t think visiting the trunk of a car gives anything close to the experience of being outside at night and covering your own neighborhood. How many parking spaces did you hit doesn’t have the same ring as how many houses. I get why these exist but there is no comparison to the *real* thing.

  21. Brian November 1, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

    We had a blast out with kids last night. Drinks for the adults. Older kids way ahead on their own. Strollers and babies lagging behind.

    Cop pulled up in an undercover car and handed out candy to the kids. One mother made it a point to tell her kids loudly, ” WE DONT NORMALLY TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS IN CARS.” I just tucked my drink into the cup holder on the stroller, looked the cop in the eye and said “nice costume.” He laughed and replied “I worked on it for months.”

    I mean the mom had a point. It was kind of counterproductive both having kids take candy from a guy in a car and go into the street to do it but it also was pretty obvious to the kids I would think.

  22. Ricky November 1, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    The door to door trick or treat alternatives must be working. My third year with zero trick or treaters.

  23. K November 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    My only beef with Trunk or Treats is that they’re advertised as “safe.” The ones near medon’t even pitch themselves as an alternative to trick-or-Treating, or a safer alternative to Trick-or-Treating. Just as “fun and safe!” But that still implies that it’s safer than the alternative, and that safety is a feature to recommend it over other potential Halloween activities.

  24. Backroads November 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

    Candy was a big part of what I remember, but it was part of a larger experience. Running around in the dark, meeting other kids, deciding where to go in the town.

  25. Tim November 2, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Puzzled: You’re right, it’s not about the candy per se, it’s about the hunt. Sure we all wanted the candy in the end, but the fun of it was to get dressed in a costume we put together ourselves, and walk around the neighborhood going to strange houses and shouting “Trick or treat,” not sure of what we were going to get.

    Trunk or treat is a horrible name and concept. If you’re going to do that, it’s better to have a Halloween party and call it a party. Parties are a good idea for kids who live in rural areas or apartment buildings, and can’t get to a neighborhood that is trick or treat friendly.

    That said, I have never seen evidence that trick or treating is becoming denormalized anywhere I have lived. So there are places keeping this beloved tradition going strong.

  26. R November 2, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    I admit, we went to our city trunk or treat last week, but it was just to get candy to hand out on Halloween (so I didn’t have to buy it).
    On Halloween night, I sent my kids ages 5, 7, 9 out on their own. Put some glow sticks on them and told them what time to be home. They had a blast!
    I will also admit that I checked the candy, but only to pull out some of my favorites and toss the bubble gum (I hate finding it all over the house).

  27. lollipoplover November 2, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

    A friend of my posted a photo of her son’s letter to the “Switch Witch” with a large bag of candy offered in exchange for an NFL jersey of his favorite player. She asked, “What the hell is a Switch Witch?”

    Answer:
    http://www.parents.com/holiday/halloween/traditions/too-much-candy/

    Oh my gawd, just let them eat some candy. I am not buying anything. Eat the candy or I will.

  28. Emily November 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    >>A friend of my posted a photo of her son’s letter to the “Switch Witch” with a large bag of candy offered in exchange for an NFL jersey of his favorite player. She asked, “What the hell is a Switch Witch?”

    Answer:
    http://www.parents.com/holiday/halloween/traditions/too-much-candy/

    Oh my gawd, just let them eat some candy. I am not buying anything. Eat the candy or I will.<<

    Yeah, the "Switch Witch" (a.k.a. parents) actually DID eat their son's traded-in Halloween candy. So, I guess the message behind this one (if Son ever finds out) is that healthy eating is something you do as a child, to please adults, but then adults get to eat junk food, and if they have kids, they have to (get to?) eat junk food in secret? Yeah…….that's exactly the message you want to et across. Anyway, I know someone from the theatre who does the Switch Witch thing with her children……because her daughter is severely allergic to chocolate. So, that family's Switch Witch just swaps the chocolate items in Daughter's Halloween bag, for non-chocolate treats that won't cause an allergic reaction. I think that kind of Switch Witchery is okay.

  29. Babs November 4, 2017 at 7:56 am #

    Trunk or Treat events seem to be the norm these days, although where I am (a fairly friendly and walkable suburban area), kids are still going door to door.

    I feel bad for kids whose parents are afraid to let them trick or trea, and feel that doing only Trunk or Treat (or going to the mall) takes away from the spirit of Halloween as I knew it. For years, I took my daughter with friends, along with a small gaggle of parents, until I felt a few years ago that, at age 11, she was more than ready to go with friends and no adults, although one girl’s parents were hesitant (and offered to chaperone for the girls that year). Their rules, but fortunately the next year, same parents were fine with letting their daughter go sans parents as well.

    The only time I didn’t mind Trunk or Treat was in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy hit our area. A number of neighborhoods were without power or had downed lines/trees, so traditional trick or treating was not a good idea. The local elementary school took advantage of the situation, and since many parents already had candy and treats, did something nice for the kids.

    Our town does an annual Halloween parade around one of the parks, with candy handed out to the kids, and it’s geared for the little ones, who still go trick or treating anyway.