As kids prepare for a second pandemic Halloween, a Richmond church is doing its best to provide safe family-friendly fun.
The Church on Five offered a drive-thru trick or treat event last year, and is planning to repeat the event with a different format this year.
“(During) the pandemic there was so little for kids and families,” explains Rachel Wilson, one of the church’s lead pastors. “As a parent of two elementary-aged children, I think everyone was so appreciative that we had so many volunteers who wanted to put in the time, make the kids smile and bring some joy into their Halloween when everything else was cancelled. We’re just trying to keep the kids hopeful.”
This year’s Trunk or Treat event is themed around characters from different television shows and movies including Star Wars, The Flintstones and Moana, with over 50 stations planned.
“The vibe really is just that the kids would have a great night and then parents would feel supported,” says Wilson. “I think that sometimes in COVID it can be very isolating to be a young family where you have to stay to yourself all the time, so just providing those safe ways for families to get out and have some fun and for kids to have those important childhood moments is why we’re doing it.”
Dara Takenaka is a member of the church community who has headed up the event for the last two years. She says this year there will be about 50 volunteers who will dress up in costumes, decorate their car trunks and hand out treats.
“We are so grateful for our volunteers,” says Takenaka. “Our volunteers are people who attend our church, people who come to some of our church activities offered to our community and people outside our church who appreciate what we do for and with our community.”
Takenaka says some community members reached out wanting to help this year after seeing last year’s event. The Grade 11 and 12 leadership class at McMath secondary is helping with decoration and painting, and many will also be helping during the event. Overall, Takenaka says the volunteers range in age from about 11 to 65.
Organization for the event began in September, and Wilson says it’s beneficial for the volunteers to work towards something with a purpose.
“We’ve found that connection point has been so important for them as well. Putting in time together to be able to put on the event has really decreased that isolation,” she says.
Takenaka says the church will be offering a similar event at Easter, and would “gratefully accept” any donations of candy.
The Halloween event will run in the Church on Five’s parking lot (10200 No. 5 Rd.) on Halloween, Oct. 31, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Parking will be available next door at Richmond Christian School or in the residential parking area across the street.
Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel