The Horror! Trunk-or-Treating

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 31, 2006

I saw this article posted to the TLC listserv, and couldn't take my mind off it. It seems the residents of Greenville, a sprawling, low-density suburb in New York State near the Catskills, have solved the problem of how to get children from door to door on Hallowe'en.

Halloween here has been about alternatives — without the long-distance treks and the uncertainty that comes with sending kids out into the night to the homes of strangers.

One such alternative, which began last year, is called "trunk-and-treating." It's based on the premise that if you don't want kids out on Halloween, then you've got to bring Halloween to them.

Instead of walking for miles for a treat, kids will get to fill up on candy by circling a parking lot full of decorated cars on Oct. 29 at the town park on Route 6.

The event is gaining lots of buzz in Greenville, where about 4,200 residents live, sprawled out in an area connected by 60-plus miles of road.

It's interesting how in a totally auto-centric culture, their solution was to recreate the door-to-door practice of trick or treating by going car-to-car in a parking lot. As I like to say, when you've got a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 02, 2006 at 14:31:20

Actually that sounds a little better than the alternative my husband witnessed in our neighbourhood this year where one parent was driving their child from house to house, staying in the car and leaving the engine running while the child went up to the door. Did I mention that I live in Westdale where the houses are inches apart? At least the kids in Greenville are walking, and hopefully the car engines are turned off.

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By oldcoote (registered) | Posted November 02, 2006 at 16:28:28

There were plenty of kids trick or treating by foot in Westdale. You don't need to smear the neighbourhood because of one idiot.

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