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Trunk or Treating: 10 Tips to Help You Plan a Successful Event

Many organizations now offer trunk-or-treating events as a safer, less-spooky alternative to traditional trick-or-treating. During this event, adult members of the organization decorate the trunks of their vehicles in Halloween-themed decor and pass out candy or other goodies to the children in their community. The events are often held in parking lots or other well-lit, contained areas, so children are at less risk of being hit by a vehicle on a dark road. Trunk-or-treating also gives families a chance to get to know each other. If your organization is holding a trunk-or-treat event this year, keep the following planning pointers in mind and communicate them to all who are volunteering at and participating in the event.

  1. Participants – Discuss whether or not anyone in the community can sign up to have a vehicle on-site, or if only organization members will be allowed to participate in handing out candy.
  2. Attendees – Decide who will be invited to your event. Will you allow only organization members and their families? The entire community? Will there be a fee to participate, or will it be a free event?
  3. Date – Will your event be held during regular trick-or-treating hours, or on a different day so as not to compete? Will you hold the event early in the evening to avoid the dark and colder temperatures?
  4. Decor – Will you allow candles or any other sort of flammable objects? Will fake blood be allowed?
  5. Food safety – One in 13 children has a food allergy, so this must be addressed as you plan your event. Will you allow homemade items to be passed out, or only store-bought, pre-packaged items that don’t contain nuts or other allergens? Will you sell food and/or beverages during your event?
  6. Building security – If you are holding the event at your facility, decide if you’ll open the building or keep it locked during the event. Will participants have access to the restrooms, the entire building or nothing at all? If you open your building to attendees, have a volunteer monitor traffic to and from the building.
  7. Falls – Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween, according to the National Safety Council. Inspect the grounds for fall hazards, such as curbs, grassy areas, cracks, potholes or any other obstruction that may be hidden due to dim lighting.
  8. Inclement weather – Whether it’s moving the event indoors or scheduling a rain date, have a back-up plan ready to go if rain, snow or extreme cold strikes. (After all, Halloween costumes can be thin and not cold-weather friendly.) Watch the weather and communicate any event changes as far in advance as possible.
  9. Traffic – The benefit of hosting your event in an enclosed area is that it reduces the risk of children running into traffic. However, there will be vehicles moving in and out of the parking lot as people come and go. Have a volunteer direct and guide traffic flow and also have a designated walking area away from the traffic for children moving around the parking lot.
  10. First aid – No matter how much you plan, accidents can happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a volunteer on-site who is trained to administer care should an accident occur. Keep a first-aid kit handy, too.

Trunk-or-treating is not only fun for people of all ages, it’s a great way for your organization to raise awareness of your cause. Avoid putting a damper on the evening of fun, sweet treats, costumes and camaraderie by being thoroughly prepared for any issue.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.