WASHINGTON – It was Halloween night, and tiny goblins and ghouls, witches and pirates scurried along the streets of southeast Washington. However, they weren’t headed door to door. Instead, they were headed car trunk to car trunk.
Trunk of Treat had come to Anacostia.
This year, residents joined a slow growing trend across the nation in cities from Sioux Falls., S.D., to Detroit to Johnson City, Tenn., in which adults bring their vehicles to a parking lot or other location where children go from vehicle to vehicle collecting treats and being scared or wowed by fun events.
In Washington, cars decorated as monsters and spiders filled the parking lot behind the Big Chair in Anacostia as live music played and children dressed as Power Rangers, Queens of Hearts, doctors and superheroes went from car to car screaming “trick or treat” in expectance of candy from the trunk.
Jonathan Silverman, brother of at-large City Councilwoman Elissa Silverman joined the crowd.
“I wanted to do something creative,” Silverman said to describe his car decorations. “Part of this Trunk or Treat idea is so that kids can all come together and meet each other. I wanted to make it kind of like a house. I wanted to make it a welcome place to come in.”
Councilwoman Silverman and Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May sponsored the night’s events with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s help. Bowser came to watch the children have fun and to see May dance.
In between eating their picked up Twizzlers, Mike & Ike and Kit Kats, children stopped to create arts and crafts, snack on popcorn, play in the bounce house or take a trip into a mobile trailer that had been turned into a haunted house.
They took tours through a Halloween Metro bus decorated complete with spider web and skeletons and climbed atop a huge yellow steamroller to blow the horn.
“I thought it was a great concept and a great idea to have everyone together and there’s a real sense of community here,” said Nicole Luke, who blogs about community events using the name D.C. Thrifty Mom.
Luke said she came to hand out candy and allow her two daughters to trick or treat.
Dorothy Wortham and her son and daughter traveled from Clinton, Md., to participate in the event.
“LaRuby May is a member of my church at Allen Chapel AME Church,” she explained. “We did it last year on a smaller scale on our church parking lot. So, Ms. May wanted to make it bigger and invite more people so they moved it out here. I love it and I think it’s a great idea.”
Wortham’s son was dressed as a Star Wars character.
“My son is having a ball,” she said. “We’re trying to get him to leave, and he doesn’t want to. We’re having a great time.”
For many, the key element was that the event was a safe space for children to enjoy Halloween.
“This is a safe way to do things,” said Denise Monroe who came with her husband and their three grandchildren. “I heard about it and here we are.”
Ro Zebina, president of the Deuces Wild motorcycle club, and his members, dressed in emblem-covered hoodies and vests, brought along about 20 motorcycles. They handed out candy and posed with children for pictures.
“I hope that there are more events like this for the kids to come out and see that there’s positivity and different things going for them,” Zebina said.
“I think it’s been great. We know how this area used to be, so just keeping the kids safe and giving them something to do in a place where back in the day it used to be real rough.”