Wichita Dark streets may make parents nervous and malls can be a bit too bright for adventurous children craving spooky Halloween thrills. Now, there's a way to trick-or-treat that provides something for everyone.
Trunk-or-treating, also known as Halloween tailgating, gives youngsters a chance to dress up and walk around outdoors collecting candy. But instead of going door-to-door, they head for a designated parking lot to gather goodies from parked cars with elaborately decorated trunks.
"I think in this day and age we're very cautious, but parents are really comfortable bringing their kids to this," said Renee Haney, organizer of Sunday night's inaugural trunk-or-treat event at Wichita's Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.
"It's in a parking lot, there aren't going to be kids coming and going, and we won't have anyone handing out candy that I don't know."
Trunk-or-treat events typically are sponsored by churches or businesses, with volunteers tapped to pass out the treats. Several Wichita churches are putting on trunk-or-treat this year.
Haney, who got the idea from her father-in-law in Texas, said many of her church's trunks were being provided by members of the high school youth group. Some had big plans for decorating the cars.
One is putting together a Charlie Brown mobile. Another is constructing a crawl-through station wagon spook house. Prizes will be given for the most creative cars.
Parents like the idea of trunk-or-treating, said Haney, who's the mother of two children, ages 1 and 9. Rather than traveling on dark streets and knocking on strange doors, kids are in a contained, controlled area collecting candy from church members.
At least one Wichita business, Don Hattan Chevrolet, has Halloween tailgating. The dealership's event is several years old, and last year it attracted about 2,000 children.
Faith Christian Church has been sponsoring trunk-or-treat for seven years as part of its fall festival.
The event is popular with church members and with nonmembers who live nearby, church secretary Kelly Boylan said.
"They come to this because they feel safer bringing kids to this than going door-to-door," Boylan said.