By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Warm weather and eager trick or treaters encouraged families to participate in the city’s annual Trunk or Treat event Oct. 16 at the Civic Arena, 4300 S. Dearborn St.
Civic volunteer Sue Herman said the Kiwanis Club had already handed out peanuts to more than 400 children less than halfway through the event, and noted that families were lined up along the front of the arena for a turn to trick-or-treat around the parking lot filled with decorated vehicles.
Herman said since the first year, Trunk or Treat has had a good annual turnout, regardless of the weather.
“The kids have a good time,” Herman said. “They enjoy going around, and most of the people who are giving out candy come in costume. It’s a family event.”
Voran Funeral Home had a vintage 1969 station wagon-style ambulance with costumed Ghostbusters characters posing for photos with children.
The hayrides also were a popular draw, Herman said.
“It’s a neighborhood thing to do, so we’re enjoying it,” she said.
Councilman Wheeler Marsee, who was grilling hot dogs as quickly as he could, said people started lining up for the event almost two hours before it began.
Marsee said he gets the biggest kick out of seeing the littlest children enjoying themselves.
“Like Spiderman right there,” Marsee said, referring to a young participant. “He’s excited. He doesn’t know what’s going on, (but) it’s a nice, safe environment for the kids to trunk or treat.”
Mayor Stacy Striz estimated at least 1,000 children would walk through the Trunk or Treat circuit.
Striz said she enjoys seeing all of the children’s costumes and watching families enjoy themselves.
“It’s a nice family event,” Striz said. “We don’t even advertise for it anymore. Everyone is on with the tradition now.”
She said parents of younger children enjoy the safety and organization of a trunk or treat, as opposed to going house to house trick-or-treating, but older children will do both.
“A lot of people come when they have the smaller kids, because it is easier and more confined and organized,” Striz said. “You feel a little safer to have the structure.”
Councilman Carl Louvet said the event, in its ninth year, began when he was a Parks and Recreation commissioner, which he did for 13 years before running for a city council seat. He now serves as the council liaison to the commission.
Louvet said the event seems to attract more children ever year, and he hopes the number of people purchasing and voluntarily handing out treats doesn’t decline.
“It’s fun to watch,” Louvet said. “My kids did it when they were younger, and now they are handing out candy.
“We’re a small community, and everybody knows each other, so when you see a familiar face, it’s a lot more comforting having your kids get candy from someone you know rather than just out on the street, and knowing what is going on.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])