For the past several years, Converge Church has hosted a Halloeen trunk-or-treat that encourages families to bring kids to its parking lot for a safe celebration of the holiday. The event has grown in popularity, with one year drawing nearly 1,000 attendees.
But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced church members to get creative with safety measures. So this Halloween, they will host a contact-free, drive-thru trunk-or-treat event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Kitty Bowen, director of the children’s ministry at Converge Church, said church members were closely monitoring guidelines from the state and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in order to host a Halloween event that will observe social distance and encourage mask wearing.
With that in mind, they came up with a contract-free way to distribute candy. The drive-thru will feature clotheslines hung between plywood stuck in water jugs. Families can pull up in their cars and grab prepackaged bags of candy, and 6 feet away, each stop will have a vehicle decorated for Halloween.
The event is free to attend and open to anyone in the Moorestown community. Each year, members of the church community donate the candy for the event, and Bowen said this year, they shipped candy donations to the church via Amazon.
The plan is to have members assemble the candy bags beforehand, and on Halloween, one person will be tasked with refilling the clothing lines with treats as supplies run low. Bowen estimates the church parking lot can accommodate somewhere between eight to 16 cars.
Organizers are asking the community to be patient if there is traffic or a line. Bowen said church members are curious to see what kind of interest they get from the event.
“This is going to be totally new for us,” she said.
In speaking with church members, Bowen sensed a bit of a divide between those who want traditional trick or treating this year and those who feel that involves too much of a risk amid the pandemic. She explained that Converge always tries to reach out to the community, and Halloween is just another opportunity to provide something positive for those who feel uncomfortable.
Given that Converge is a Christian institution, the trick-or-treat event will include a “Gospel House” at the end of the drive thru to discuss the life of Jesus as well as give attendees a sense of what the church is about. Bowen said while current operations are limited because of state guidelines on gatherings, the church wants people in the community to know it is still there for them.
“This is just one of the ways we reach out to them, and we hope they’ll reach back out to us,” Bowen said.
Converge Church is located at 802 N. Lenola Road in Moorestown. Trunk-or-treat will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Halloween. To learn more about Converge, visit www.myconvergechurch.com.