Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 1, 2012

Churches shoot for fun without the fear this Halloween

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — There was more than trick-or-treating going on in the Goshen area on Halloween.

Wanting to offer children alternatives to the holiday tradition of dressing in scary costumes and going door-to-door seeking treats, several churches held alternative activities.

This was the third year for Goshen Christian Church, 2133 Berkey Ave., to host Trunk-or-Treat and the church members planned to host up to 800 children, said minister Kim Huffman.

“We planned the alternative event to have more of a positive message,” Huffman said. “Our first year a police officer stopped by and thanked us for keeping kids off the street.”

The congregation created the event for about 150 children in 2010 and had more than 300 children attend. In 2011 attendance was about 600 children.

Some of the parishioners hand out items from the trunks of their cars, including hats, mittens and stuffed animals to make the event “a little different,” Huffman added.

“One of the trunks will have about 600 Bibles that we hand out for anyone that would like to take one,” Huffman said, adding that 250 of the Bibles were in Spanish.

He said Trunk-or-Treat is the church’s largest community outreach program. To get the word out about the event, church members passed out fliers printed in English and Spanish to students at Model Elementary School, located next door to the church.

Members of Syracuse Church of God, 104 E. Washington St., Syracuse, have lined up their cars, opened up the car trunks and dressed up in costumes for Trunk-or-Treat since 2010.

“We did it to give kids a safe place to go and do some trick-and-treating,” Pastor Stan Owen said. “It’s a wonderful outreach to the parents and I think they enjoy it as much as the kids. I’m so proud of our people and how they step up.”

Children were able to enjoy a bouncy house, coloring pages and goodies like kettle corn and cotton candy besides the treats provided by the members. The pastor chuckled at the memory of a farmer who handed out pasteurized milk in 2011.

Last year, the church had about 300 pounds of kettle corn on hand and ran out.

“They have a blast doing it and it’s just fun to do,” Owen said of the church’s members who take part in Trunk-or-Treat.