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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Halloween: Church’s trunk or treat back for another year of safe shelling out
Mom Jackie Bell and daughter Ryleigh Heximer pose as Lydia and Beetlejuice with Mary Loewen and her Wonka themed trunk this Sunday evening at Trunk or Treat.
Brad and Vanessa Nickel as Shrek and Fiona hand out candy outside their swamp during Trunk or Treat on Sunday.
Celina and Charayah Romo take kiddos under the sea with their themed trunk during Trunk or Treat on Sunday.

Niagara-on-the-Lake may not be the easiest town to trick-or-treat in, with some houses spread apart along kilometres of roads with no sidewalks.

Luckily, Central Community Church came up with a safe and fun solution: Trunk or treat.

More than 1,000 people turned out Sunday evening to enjoy uniquely decorated cars, candy, games and a barbecue at the York Road church.

“We wanted to create a safe, fun place for kids to celebrate Halloween,” said Andrew Rutledge, the executive pastor overseeing the kids and youth ministry.

“We’re looking to expand it every year and this is the first time we’ve had the police and other companies represent themselves.” 

Last year trunk or treat was drive-through only, serving as a way for kids to celebrate Halloween despite being locked down. In fact, it wasn’t originally planned to return this year, but the demand was high.

“People were like, ‘When’s trunk or treat?’ so we just skipped the drive-through and did it anyway,” said Rutledge. 

This year Jackie Bell and her daughter Ryleigh Heximer showed up in adorable matching Beetlejuice costumes. 

“Our daycare provider let us know about the event after church,” said Bell. “We’ve been checking out and enjoying chatting with like-minded people.”

A family favourite attraction of the evening was an elaborate Shrek display put together by members of the church, the Nickel family.

“We did this as a family. It really brings us all together,” said Vanessa Nickel.

“We love doing this for the community and the kids. We think it’s a great option for people who don’t feel comfortable trick-or-treating in the usual setting.”

This year was also the first time police and firefighters were on hand, showing off their vehicles and giving out candy to some very excited kiddos. 

“We’re here showing off the truck, doing some community outreach and having a good time,” said firefighter Dayton Kruiteosch. “We love to see all the little firefighter (costumes) roaming around tonight.” 

Proceeds made from the evening’s barbecue and cafe went toward Community Crew, an organization that provides school lunches to kids in need.