The Ins And Outs Of Trunk-Or-Treat

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I'm a curious guy. So when I was assigned to write about the Payson Parks and Recreation's annual Trunk-or-Treat Halloween celebration, I telephoned that department's activities director, Michelle Beach, to find out everything I could possibly learn about the event.

Here's how the conversation went:

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Michelle Beach of the parks and recreation department stages a Trunk-or-Treat dress rehearsal with help from Skyler Tuer, 6, and his sister, Taylor, 9.

Q: Where is this thing taking place?

Michelle: Saturday, Oct. 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Payson Event Center. There will be a costume contest at 6:30 p.m.

Q: Is the costume contest for all ages?

Michelle: No. Trunk-or-Treat is focused on ages zero to 12.

Q: So if I show up in a costume, I can't enter the contest?

Michelle: No, you can't enter.

Q: That sounds pretty ageist to me.

Michelle: If you participated with your car, you could enter the trunk-decorating contest. We'll be judging those, too. All of the adults will be dressed up and handing out candy and toys, all of which are supplied by Parks and Rec.

Q: OK. Sign up my trunk and me.

Michelle: Actually, I'm sold out on spaces. We've hit our limit of 26 trunks total.

Q: A likely story. How many times can you go around and collect candy from all of the trunks before you're thrown out or arrested?

Michelle: Once.

Q: One time? That's it? What if you went home, changed your costume, and came back? Could you go around again?

Michelle: I don't think they'd have enough time, what with all the contests and activities.

Q: But what if they were really fast? Would that be frowned upon, or would it be OK since they changed costumes?

Michelle: Well, there's going to be so many kids there I don't think we'd even be able to tell.

Q: Aha! A loophole!

Michelle: Mazatzal Casino will be doing a haunted house. That's going to be a new addition. It will be under a big tent in the arena ... I think they're trying to keep it at a level that the young kids can enjoy. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart will have a cotton candy booth, and the Optimist's Club will be there selling hot dogs and soda. Have I mentioned that the kids will win prizes?

Q: Like what?

Michelle: If I told you, it would give it away.

Q: You want incentives for people, Michelle. If you're giving away cars and houses, people are going to show up in better costumes than if you're giving away funny plastic Halloween teeth. Think of the best prize you've got, and give me a dollar value on it.

Michelle: $15 to $20 dollars.

Q: Are you lying?

Michelle: I'm serious! I did good!

Q: Not bad. OK. Here's the most important thing. What kind of candy will be given out? I want brand names. Kids want brand-name candy.

Michelle: All right. Smarties, Hot Tamales, Jolly Ranchers, Hershey's Sixlets, Fun Dip Pouches, Mike & Ike, Laffy Taffy, Bit o' Honey, Rainbow Nerds, Blo-Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Lifesavers, Pixie Stix, Sweet Tarts, Snickers, Tearjerkers, Sour Green Balls, and Hershey's Miniatures. And the Parks and Rec booth will be giving away nice, big, full-sized candy, like big Hershey Bars and the big bags of M&Ms.

Q: What about the toys?

Michelle: We'll have glow-in-the-dark

spider rings, coloring books, Halloween whistles ...

Q: I'm sure I speak for the parents of Payson when I thank you for supplying our progeny with Halloween whistles.

Michelle: We have to give them something that will drive their parents crazy.

Q: How about cash? You giving out any cash?

Michelle: No cash.

Q: Color TV sets? Major appliances?

Michelle: No. We're on a budget here.

Q: OK. One last question. What if I am signed up, and I come down there with a trunk full of vegetables?

Michelle: And you want to hand them out? No can do, for safety reasons.

Q: Well, I could sit in the parking lot and hand out my vegetables, right?

Michelle: No. That's why we keep it all contained; you just don't know about some people. We don't want some weird guy coming and handing out vegetables in the parking lot.

Q: So I can't come?

Michelle: Yes, you can come. Just leave your vegetables at home.

Q: OK.

Halloween Costume Safety Tips

When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for flame resistant nylon or polyester fabrics or look for the label "Flame Resistant." To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.

Costumes should be light, bright, and clearly visible to motorists.

For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks also should be light colored or decorated with reflective tape.

Children should carry flashlights to see easily and aid in being seen.

Costumes should be short enough so that children won't trip and fall.

Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Mother's high heels are not a good idea for safe walking.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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