Kids may not get the Halloween they'd like this year, but the candy haul shouldn't be a problem. Several churches and businesses in the area say they're planning to offer trunk-or-treat events where they'll give away literally thousands of pounds of sweets.
"We're trying to raise 400,000 pieces of candy," Adam Bayne, children's pastor at Abba's House, said of the Hixson church's ongoing collection efforts.
"We'll have 40,000 bags of candy ready to hand out to people," said Maggie Renner, the general manager's assistant at Toyota of Cleveland.
The amounts are typical, but perhaps heavier weighted this year for families spooked by the prospect of door-to-door trick-or-treating during a pandemic. Trunk-or-treats, which emerged in the 1990s as an alternative to kids roaming the streets after dark, seem especially suited as a go-to alternative this year, but with added safety precautions.
Last year, Renner said, families waited shoulder-to-shoulder to file through the auto dealer's showroom to claim their candy, and the line to get in stretched around the building. This year, she said, "It's a completely different event."
Sixty volunteers have signed on for duties for this year's drive-thru version, dubbed the "Pandemic Edition."
"We wanted it to be as contactless as we could make it," she said of the Halloween night tradition "Everyone who gets within 6 feet of a car has to be wearing a mask and gloves."
All candy will be individually bagged and delivered to cars from five candy stations. The drive-thru also will be populated with musical acts and circus-style performers, such as a stilt walker and fire dancer, to entertain the parade of visitors rolling past.
"Every kid gets five bags of candy by the time they come through," Renner said.
Bayne said Abba's House typically hosts a trunk-or-treat a few days before Halloween so that families "can be in their own neighborhoods to trick-or-treat."
Knowing that COVID-19 had changed expectations of how to celebrate the holiday, church leaders decided to throw their community party on Halloween instead.
"This year, with things being different, we wanted to provide an experience that was safe for the kids but also super convenient for the parents," Bayne said. "They can stay in the car, cruise through and be given some goodies."
Bayne said they'll happily accept donations of candy (or cash to buy candy), and anyone from the community is welcome to set up and open up their car trunk. The goal is 100 trunks.
"We're planning on about 2,000 cars coming through our campus," he said.
Likewise, Glenda Mincey said the store she manages, Buddy's Home Furnishings in Soddy-Daisy, typically gets thousands of trunk-or-treat visitors. This year, they're moving from the store to Veterans Park in Soddy-Daisy. The candy giveaway will be "strictly drive-thru," she said, but families may exit their cars to watch three musical acts perform.
"It's a big park," said Mincey. "As long as they follow social-distancing guidelines, they can go sit out in the field and enjoy the entertainment."
The store's costume and coloring contests will be done virtually on Facebook, she said.
Keosha Brewster, executive director of So You Think You Can Date, an organization for girls 10-17, said she has partnered with New Monumental Baptist Church for a trunk-or-treat after realizing the girls she was serving and many of their peers in the Woodmore area "were looking for something to do on Halloween."
It may be different from the norm, Brewster said, but it should be no less festive.
"Nobody is allowed to get out of their cars, so it will be more like a caravan or parade," she said. "But everybody is asked to wear a costume, and all the cars [with candy] will be decorated.
"We'll wave and cheer and say, 'Happy Halloween.'"
Email Lisa Denton at email@example.com.
AT A GLANCE
Saturday, Oct. 24
* Veterans Park: 9057-9199 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy. Buddy’s Home Furnishings of Soddy-Daisy sponsors drive-thru trunk-or-treat, with live music by Dayz of Deception, Good Grief and Field Hockey, 6-8 p.m. Winners of virtual costume and coloring contests will be announced on Halloween. https://www.facebook.com/BuddysSoddyDaisy387/.
Sunday, Oct. 25
* Soddy-Daisy First Baptist: Drive-thru trunk-or-treat features festively decorated cars and characters, with a candy bag for each child in the car provided at the end of the parade through the parking lot, 5-6:30 p.m. Register for television giveaway on Oct. 28. 423-332-2814.
Wednesday, Oct. 28
* Brainerd Hills Baptist Church: 6611 East Brainerd Road. Walk-through trunk-or-treat, 5:30-7 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/brainerdhillsbaptistchurch/
Saturday, Oct. 31
* Abba’s House: 5208 Hixson Pike (enter from Northpoint Boulevard). Drive-thru trunk-or-treat, 6-8:30 p.m. First 1,000 cars receive free bag of Choo Choo Kettle Corn. Community participation welcome for providing car trunks, donations of candy or for helping with greeting, setup or teardown. abbashouse.com/candy
* Grace United Methodist Church: 9833 Hixson Pike, Soddy Daisy. One-way walk-through trunk-or-treat, 5-7 p.m. Will be canceled in case of rain. https://graceumcsd.org
* New Monumental Baptist Church: 901 Woodmore Lane. Drive-thru trunk-or-treat, 5-7 p.m. 423-375-9066
* Peavine Baptist Church: Rock Spring campus, 1089 Peavine Road, Rock Spring, Ga. Walk-through trunk-or-treat, 6:30-8 p.m. https://www.peavine.org/trunkortreat
* Toyota of Cleveland: 3560 Village North Blvd. SW, McDonald, Tenn. Drive-thru trunk-or-treat with candy, live music and performers such as stilt walkers and fire dancers, 5-7 p.m. https://www.toyotaofcleveland.com/trunk-or-treat-cleveland-tn
* VFW Post 3679: 98 Memorial Drive, Rossville, Ga. Post and its auxiliary sponsor trunk-or-treat with Valley View Baptist Church, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
* Your Pie Pizzeria: 3809 Battlefield Parkway, Ringgold, Ga. Fourth annual Jeep-N-Treat sponsored by American Jeep Club Project, 7 p.m. Walk-through trick-or-treating among decorated Jeeps, plus free popcorn and cotton candy (weather permitting and while supplies last). http://ajcp.club/
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