Rain drizzled for most of the evening Halloween, and Trudy Hughes was having some Halloween fright. She was afraid it would keep people away from the second annual Trunk and Treat event at New Midland Plaza.
Hughes Halloween fright proved unfounded. More than 8,000 children and their families showed up for the event that has grown and expanded to a colossal community night in only its second year.
“I was afraid the rain would cause folks to say, ‘We’re not going to get out,’ but everybody was there,” said Hughes, who is executive director of New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center. “It was awesome, and it was great despite the rain. We had thousands of kids and their family members come and join us. I haven’t heard any bad feedback whatsoever.”
Numerous churches partnered to donate candy, the church members brought vehicles and the children traveled from “trunk to trunk” and got treats. “We had inflatables for the kids to play in and free meals for the families and hot chocolate and lemonade,” Hughes added. “It was another example of the community spirit of churches and other organizations joining to provide a really nice event for kids and their parents.”
Hughes said she was happily surprised by the turnout. “I would guess with the mild drizzle we had rain more than not, but the neat thing is folks didn’t seem to notice it much. Every time I looked around the place was full of families,” she said. “All the volunteers were there, and we had a great group cleaning up at the end. You couldn’t have asked for a better night unless it hadn’t rained. Still, folks didn’t let the rain get them down. Whether it was the folks volunteering or participating, they were determined to have a good time despite the weather.”
The event was sponsored by Blount Family Ministries, a group of churches and organizations from Blount County formed to provide healthy, fun and safe activities for families and children. The group also sponsors parenting seminars a couple times a year, Hughes said.
Fairview United Methodist Church’s Children’s minister Wil Davenport said the event it met the community’s desire for a safe place where children could have fun on Halloween. “Even in the rain, the plaza was full, and people seemed to be enjoying themselves,” he said.