When we get to the end of the month of October each year, it can be helpful to find ways to bring a community together, especially during the week leading up to Reformation Day. One event churches put on during this season to bring people together is a Trunk or Treat, in which people are invited to decorate their trunks so that kids can walk around in a safe, fun environment, end up with some candy and other treats, and play some games. Pastor Tom Evans from Emanuel Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, MN has seen wonderful growth and fellowship through the Trunk or Treat his church has put on each year, and has some thoughts on how your church or community could try something similar.
Over the course of 9 years, Emanuel Lutheran Church has seen growth in their Trunk or Treat , ending up with about 1000 children and 40 trunks at this past year’s event. Some positives of this Trunk or Treat event is that it is “a service for the community,” “brings multiple generations together,” and is “a safe event and environment for the kids,” according to Pastor Evans. Emanuel Lutheran has even had to shift towards using a field next to their campus for parking and part of the event, setting up games and food inside the church in addition to the trunks and games in the parking lots. Even more fun is put into the event through trophies for the best trunks, help and volunteering from the local Boy Scouts troop, and even participation by the Mayor.
If you’re looking into planning or putting on a Trunk or Treat with your church and community, Pastor Evans would recommend you work with the local news and schools in order to get information out early to bring as much of the surrounding area together as possible. Through banners on the campus, a weekly digital flyer sent out to local schools (including public schools), a partnership with local businesses and organizations, and a relationship with local elected officials, Emanuel Lutheran has seen their Trunk or Treat grow into a major community event that has the community looking forward to its happening the following year and knowing where the church is in the first place.
While we have plenty of time before Reformation Day, it is certainly not too early to start planning ahead for what your church and community might want to try in order to bring the community together. Emanuel Lutheran has found a Trunk or Treat event to be helpful in creating a safe, fun, and community-building event in their local area, and it could be for you too! If you’re interested in how a Trunk or Treat could work in your context, contact Pastor Tom Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org for ideas and advice.