Taking my kids Trick or Treating has always been a challenge, as we live in a rural area and if we were to get by everyone’s ginormous dogs and actually find their houses, chances are we would not be a welcome sight! Ah, such is country life! But luckily I’ve been able to tag along with friends in their neighborhoods for some years, others we have found alternative options for our Halloween Trick or Treating. So if you don’t live in a friendly neighborhood, or any neighborhood at all, or your guts are in knots at the thought of sending your kids up to a stranger’s door to ask for candy- especially after you have specifically warned them NOT to take candy from strangers- read on!
Finding Safe Trick or Treating Places
Here are some local Halloween Trick or Treating Venues:
- Your local grocery store. Every Halloween Publix opens its doors to the kids. They have stations set up in each of their store sections, produce, meats, bakery, deli, etc, where the workers hand out candy, little toys, and even bags of popcorn to the children in costumes. This is where we started our Trick or Treating days, and it is especially good for little kids. One year they had a pumpkin decorating contest, another a best costume contest. Trick or Treating events start at 4:30, but contact your local Publix to see if they are participating.
- The mall. We tried this one year. Very packed and lines snaked around the entire mall, where workers manned a basket or bowl outside their stores to give candy to the kids. Arrive early. This is good for bad weather. You may want to combine a Publix trip with the mall. Younger kids. Call your nearest mall for details.
- Downtown. Not every downtown participates in Halloween Trick or Treating, so your best bet is a small town. Shop owners and local groups set up tables outside their shops. The Chamber of Commerce provides a map and starting point for the Trick or Treat participants. Our local fire department even staged a haunted house, downtown a couple of years in a row. We have done this several years. In smaller towns your kids will run into their school friends. This is great for good weather and school-age kids. Check out the website of your town or nearest smaller sized town for times and dates*. Not every trick or treating event is on the actual Halloween night for businesses (we missed it one year because of that) so call ahead to double check.
- Your local school. Who wants to go to school? Well in some rural communities, the elementary schools open their doors and have Safe Trick or Treating events, sometimes disguised under the name of Fall Festival, and volunteers pass out candy at each open classroom door. Some are free. Others you may have to purchase tickets. That can be done on site. Ask around in your community or call your schools for this one. Not necessarily on Halloween night, so call ahead for dates and times. Good for kids of all ages. And you don’t have to be a student in that school to attend this community event!
- Your public library. I’ve seen recently ads for libraries in rural communities having Trunk or Treating in their parking lots. Volunteers decorate their cars and line up in the library parking lot to pass out candy to kids. Kids of all ages. Call your local library for their Halloween events.
- Local churches. As with the library trunk or treating, some churches also have a car lineup in their parking lot. we attended our first Trunk or Treating event last year. They even had free food and drinks! And as it was a local church, the kids met up with their school friends too. One church is having a Trail of Treaters with games and candy. We may check that one out this year. Good for all ages. Check your local paper for details of the Church Trunk or Treating or other Halloween activities.
- Your State Park. I love State Parks, and though I thought I was taking the kids Trick or Treating one year, apparently some State Parks now offer Halloween events! Check the state park website for details about the park nearest you.
Stay Safe! Always check your child’s candy before they eat it. Open or tampered with candy should be thrown away. When in doubt, throw it out! Do you known of any alternative Trick or Treating venues? Let us know in the comments section!