Trunk or Treat: A Church Halloween Alternative Idea

I had never heard of a Trunk or Treat until I became a children’s minister a year ago. To be honest, I thought the idea was blasphemous to encourage trick or treating. I found out quickly that it was an excellent outreach event to our community.

For those of you who have never heard of this or want to know more, then this article is for you! Trunk or Treat may be a great option for a Fall church party or carnival. It could be just the right family friendly outreach event. Keep reading to learn the basics…. you can also view some trunk or treat decoration ideas on my Pinterest board.

Update 10/31/2011 In some communities, church based Halloween alternatives are becoming more popular than traditional Trick-or-Treating.

More Free Ministry Resources for Halloween

"Do Not Fear" Halloween Coloring Page

Do Not Fear Coloring Page

Fear Not Sunday School Lesson for Halloween

“Fear Not” Bible Lesson

Jesus is not afraid of Halloween

Jesus Is Not Afraid of Halloween

“Faith Overcomes” Lesson

How To Do a Trunk or Treat at Church

First, make sure your church is on board with this. Some churches have Reformation parties, others have autumn events or a Fall Festival. As I said, I had never heard of Trunk or Treat before and can only assume it is a regional phenomenon–at the very least it has yet to hit the St. Louis area where I grew up.

Second, you will want to get enough trunks (cars) to make at least two aisles of cars in your parking lot. This will depend on the size of your parking lot, but I found that 6 or 7 cars in two aisles facing one another makes for a smoother operation. It keeps the children on your premises a bit longer and allows you to speak more with them and their families.

Third, provide hotdogs, chips and sodas. This is an extremeley cost-effective way to keep the families around that much longer to be able to evangelize, invite and minister to them.

Fourth, have some games to play. (See our Fall preschool games for ideas.) They do not need to be big or involved games. The kids just need to be able to win more candy. You can also hand out gospel tracts as part of their winnings. Make sure that everyone wins every time!

Fifth, and finally, rent a bounce house. Inevitably, the church children are going to get bored. This will give them something to do during the festivities. The children from the community will not want to stick around too long because they want to hit as many houses as possible.

Be sure you have enough candy and make certain you have fun while doing this. Have fun and redeem the time for the Lord!

Share Your Trunk or Treat Ideas

If you have experience with this type of event, please leave a comment to share your thoughts. What type of games worked best? What other attractions did you offer? Was your congregation uneasy about connecting the church and Halloween?

Need More Help? Then read about Trunk or Treat on Kidology or read some tips for planning a church trunk or treat on the Memory Cross blog. Children’s Ministry Magazine also blogged about the Fall Festival idea.

Trunk or Treat Decorations

Click above to view these ideas on

Trunk or Treat Video

Another Trunk or Treat Video


  1. Jason says

    So, if this is “harmless fun at a ‘Church’”, why am I seeing Jack-O-Lanterns and Ghosts on the trunks?

    We are called to be “Different” and the ‘Light’ and ‘Salt’ of the earth, not cheap copies of Satan’s perversion. :(

    Why did you NOT at least mention “forgo the evil symbols” when decorating the trunks in your article?

  2. Peter says

    Every year we have our daughter dress up in a Halloween costume and take her trick-or-treating. We tell her not to believe in spooks, so there’s no problem.

  3. K Gray says

    That would be great!! Love your idea for being united in Christ and drawing the community.

  4. Jennifer says

    Just me again…thoughts on Trunk or Treat. Granted, I’m not a Christian so I don’t know whether this would work or not. Has anyone ever thought about getting a bunch of local churches together and doing a HUGE Trunk or Treat? You could all be united in Christ and with a large event, you would be more likely to draw in more community members. Just my 2 cents. :)

  5. K Gray says

    That said, this weekend is a great time to teach our kids what God has said about spiritists, mediums, the occult, and seeking guidance from anything or anyone other than Him. And then go to T/T and enjoy. This year we are taking prayer requests – a great way to continue to minister after T/T!

  6. K Gray says

    I feel that Trunk or Treat often functions as a church fellowship. It is fun, informal, imaginative, and everyone laughs a lot. It is a good time for everyone! As for outreach and evangelism? Here are my real questions: Is there more praying than planning? Do we honestly expect people to come to Christ; do we expect and plan for it? Are there people available to counsel or talk to anyone? Do we know or find out anything about the people who come? What is the followup? If a relationship is begun at T/T, how is it continued? Are the tracts in English only; how about Spanish? Do people keep or look at the tracts? How many other T/T’s and festivals are on the same night? How many churches are putting resources into the same activity, same timeslot? Does anyone do a post-T/T review of TT as evangelism and outreach? Do we teach our own kids why we are having T/T, and educate them on Halloween, or do we just tell them that our church is dressing in costume and handing out candy? We need to look at what we do very honestly.

  7. Jennifer says

    Of course it is the parent’s responsibility to remove anything they would not want their child to have, but for me it is more a matter of respect. Religion is so personal to everyone, I find it a bit disrespectful…not in the general handing out of tracts but in the experiences I’ve had, where the people attempt to hide them. Last year, one was folded very small and stuffed into the middle of a bag of tootsie rolls, where I can only suppose, they hoped I would not see it. So, perhaps it’s not the handing out of tracts itself that bothers me-I’ve been giving this some thought over the last few days-it’s the way I’ve experienced it. With people trying to hide them and sneak them. That’s what I find disrespectful. Thank you all for the great input! I always appreciate different points of view, it keeps me grounded. :)

  8. Kristine says

    I am disappointed in the many churches that celebrate halloween. I don’t see anything Godly about this so-called holiday. Why do we have to have an alternative for our children? Why can’t we teach them to not participate at all? I feel having a substitute is only putting a Christian label on something that has nothing to do with pleasing the Lord. There are 51 other weeks of the year we can celebrate the harvest season or dress up. I don’t think we need to do it at the same time as this secular “holiday”.

  9. Lisa says

    Our Church has what we call Light the Night. It is similar to this trunck or treat but we have food, games, entertainment, hayrides, and bounce houses. It is always a great turnout.