Trunk-or-Treat At Six Feet: Cowart Family YMCA’s Halloween


Photo courtesy of Cowart Family YMCA.

An advertisement for Trunk-or-Treat

Kaylee Powell, Staff Writer

The following article is part of a series on how students are celebrating Halloween in 2020. For more articles on the topic, click here.

It’s finally fall, the pumpkin spice drinks are starting to come out, and it’s time to go to the pumpkin patches with family. Unfortunately, this year, it’s no longer as easy to enjoy all the season has to offer. The pandemic, which many of us anticipated would be done by June, has extended well into October, with no end in sight.

This, of course, also means Halloween is coming up but with many new restrictions and exceedingly different circumstances. There can’t be a group of costumed kids running down the street next to each other or sticking their hands into the same baskets—it’s just not safe. With this thought in mind, many organizations have changed their plans for October 31, including the Cowart Family YMCA.

“I think [COVID-19] is testing our ability to be leaders to see if we can go around all the regulations and still manage to be safe,” said Carly Griffin, the newly elected Cowart Family YMCA president.

Griffin has spent much of her time organizing volunteer opportunities during the pandemic and hosting as many events as possible while prioritizing safety, including soccer games and parents’ night outs (P.N.O.s). With lots of practice in leading the teen volunteers to follow safe procedures, Griffin is ready to take on a new challenge and host a bit of a larger event this upcoming Halloween.

“We are trying to incorporate the things we did before, like P.N.O.s but maybe not with as many people, or soccer but with social distancing,” said Griffin. “I think this is a unique opportunity that we have to see how we can adjust to the new [restrictions] around the world.”

Every year, the teen volunteers at the YMCA host a Halloween overnight consisting of candy, movies, and even a haunted tour. However, with safety in mind, Griffin is backing Cassie Rivers, the new Youth Development Director at the Cowart Family YMCA, to combat this problem by holding a Trunk-or-Treat event instead, with candy-seekers traveling from car to car instead of house to house.

“We are going to have tables set up in front of each car, and on those tables will be individually wrapped treat bags. As the children walk through, they can grab a treat bag, thus eliminating everyone putting their hand into the same candy bowl,” said Rivers.

Rivers, a Halloween enthusiast, originally struggled with the idea that the holiday may not happen this year. Rivers knows the value of the ‘spooky season’ for so many families, so she decided to spread the joy and take the lead on creating an event as similar to Halloween as possible.

“Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I was hoping to be able to share my excitement with our members,” said Rivers.

Rivers has been safely working as a camp counselor at the YMCA throughout the pandemic and is very proud of the fact that there wasn’t a single outbreak at camp all summer. Rivers and her team are confident that they can safely execute the same precautions into the Halloween festivities.

“Everyone who attends or works the Trunk-or-Treat must be wearing a mask,” said Rivers. “We’re going to cap registration [at 30] to comply with the CDC guidelines. To keep everyone six feet apart, we’re going to place the Trunk-or-Treat cars two parking spaces apart. There will be signs directing one-way traffic so there won’t be big bunches of groups. […] We will also have hand sanitizer set up throughout the event.”

Overall, Rivers is very optimistic that everything will go smoothly.

“The event is as safe as it can be, while still including the Halloween factor,” said Rivers. “This is a great way for little kids to get involved while staying six feet apart and safe. With all the precautions in place and pre-planning, this is shaping up to be a pretty safe event.”