Some churches in the Triangle have dropped their Halloween celebrations because of low attendance or to concentrate on more mission-specific activities, but many will hold family-friendly events on trick-or-treat night.
Those who want to decorate their cars and hand out candy are asked to arrive 45 minutes to an hour before an event is set to start, but churches welcome families who want to attend without hosting a trunk.
“Halloween is fun. It’s just plain fun,” said Pastor Laura Stern, who came to Soapstone United Methodist Church in Raleigh three years ago, long after the congregation began holding its annual trunk-or-treat event. “I know there are churches and faith traditions out there that choose not to celebrate Halloween, but we have fellowship and we enjoy it. As long as everything is in good taste.”
Participants were encouraged to dress for the occasion at the church Sunday night, but were expected to save the ghoulish costumes for parties where they woulnd’t make anyone cry.
This year, the church added a food drive to the event, with the proceeds going to a local food bank.
Like many other churches, First Baptist Church Cary has a seasonal, rather than scary, focus to its Oct. 31 event, which it calls Festival 31. The event, scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., so it can be a substitute for trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, also will feature inflatables and displays of police cars and fire trucks in the church parking lot at 218 S. Academy St.
Participants who register get a voucher for free hot dogs and drinks.
Here are some other church-sponsored events on Oct. 31:
▪ Baptist Grove Church will hold its trunk-or-treat in the parking lot at 7109 Leesville Road, Raleigh, from 6-9 p.m. The event will include face painting, a crafts station, s’mores village, a trip to Jerusalem, a pumpkin hunt and a DJ.
▪ The youth of Amelia Christian Church, 1696 Amelia Church Road, Clayton, will host a trunk-or-treat from 6-8 p.m. Hot dogs and refreshments will be available.
▪ Grace Bible Fellowship, 9043 Chapel Hill Road, Cary, will have its Harvest Festival Oct. 31 from 6-8:30 p.m. with a costume contest, trunk-or-treat, face painting, food station, games, and a police car and fire truck.
▪ Wildwood Free Will Baptist Church, 5788 Cornwallis Road, Garner, will hold its trunk-or-treat from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The evening will include a gospel message.
▪ Aversboro Road Baptist Church, 1600 Aversboro Raod, Garner, will offer trunk-or-treat along with games, inflatables and live music from 6-8 p.m.
▪ Wilson’s Mills Baptist Church will offer trunk-or-treat from 6-8 p.m. at 652 Swift Creek Road, Smithfield. Inside the church will be a cake walk, and hot dogs will be for sale to support a church ministry.
▪ Woodland Baptist Church will hold its fall festival from 6-8 p.m., with games, a hayride and trunk-or-treat at the churh at 190 Woodland Church Road, Wake Forest.