Reader Voices: Trunk-or-treat activities have pros and cons

By Bill Hill

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Oct. 23 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Do you have trunk or treat in your ward?

We do. And I think we are not the only ones. I spoke to my sister; yes, they have trunk or treat; my sister-in-law, yes; my cousin in California, yes; aunt in Utah, yes.

Even though I do enjoy the current incarnation of gathering up goodies, I kind of miss the old days. Up in Idaho, my mother would decorate me and clothe me in a variety of costumes over the years (astronaut, Batman, etc.) and then bundle me up to face the frozen weather that usually blew in the last days of October. But boy, oh boy, the treats were terrific — homemade popcorn balls, cookies, fudge. Sister Erickson made homemade doughnuts and invited us into her home and even gave us some hot chocolate.

Of course, as we went from door to door, I’m sure it was hard for those we visited to discern what kind of freakish costume we had on under those big parkas. It was even harder to say “trick or treat” with a fluffy scarf strangling our mouths. I’m sure it sounded more like “rick or ree” to those who were passing out candy.

So now that we so frequently have trunk-or-treat activities, I've had to adjust. At first I was expecting we would just fill up the trunk with Dum-Dums and head on over to the church parking lot, find a spot to back up to the sidewalk, open the trunk, pass out all the candy to the darlings (the ghosts in sheets with the eyes cut out, the witches, the princesses, the ninjas and hobbits, a zombie or two, Buzz Lightyear), close the trunk and get the heck out of Dodge.

Right? Wrong; it wasn't that simple. First, after a mighty prayer, we all dug into some potatoes smothered with chili and cheese, green Jell-O and green punch on the side. I always, always have to sit where the table leg stretches to the floor, so my legs either have to straddle the table leg or my legs have to be bunched up close to my stomach in a prim and proper position like some prom date.

Second, there were some harvest-themed games that I like, really, but they were planned by the young men and were not fully tested. I do like the concept of the “doughnut dash” — hanging doughnuts being eaten by participants using only the mouth to capture the floating morsels without using fingers or hands. It’s a race, each person competing to eat their hanging doughnut first.

The young men used fishing line (unused, I hoped) instead of a larger gauge like yarn, so there were remnants of failed attempts at eating the doughnuts as the ground was covered in a solid line of doughnut scraps, thus making the ground, not the humans, the winner. You have to admit, however, the “doughnut dash” sure beats the “bobbing for apples” game where a poor sap has to dip his head in some questionable, germ-infested water and snag an apple with nothing but teeth.

The third and final step to the evening, finally, was the excited children’s trip to the cars, the car owners lined up like a firing squad, ready to pass out all those sugar bugs. Except that almost everyone had Dum-Dums; not bad ... if a child likes Dum-Dums.

The whole evening was kind of a food heaven, with food for dinner, food for the games and food in the trunks. What’s not to like about trunk or treat?

The dentist bill, perhaps.

Bill Hill lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with his wife and three daughters. He provides psycho-social rehabilitation to children.

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