Pandemic or no pandemic, many kids have one thing on their minds this Halloween season — candy.
To bring back a sense of normalcy to families, several churches in Hall County are hosting trunk-or-treat events. However, as with most activities planned this year, they’ll look a little different.
Assembly of Praise
Cars will line Carter and Charlotte Streets in Lula for Assembly of Praise’s Hallelujah Harvest trunk or treat from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.
Adam Reynolds, pastor of the church, said instead of children walking past open trunks and grabbing handfuls of candy, the event will transform into a drive-thru to limit the spread of COVID-19. Staying inside their vehicles, kids will hold their buckets or bags out the window for volunteers and other participants to fill with treats.
Reynolds said the first 100 cars will receive a gift, which includes a children’s Bible and a personal devotional.
“Our job as a church is to reach the community and have a positive impact,” Reynolds said. “This has been running for over a quarter of a century. We didn’t feel right taking that away from them. We want kids to load up on candy and have a fun time.”
All local children are invited to attend. People interested in volunteering for the event can contact the church at 770-869-7632.
What: Drive-thru trunk-or-treat event
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
Where: Assembly of Praise, 6158 Carter St., Lula
More info: 770-869-7632
First Presbyterian Church Gainesville
The First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville is hosting a modified trunk-or-treat event; however, church members won’t be decorating their vehicles this year.
From 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, families can pull into the First Presbyterian Church’s parking lot and have their buckets or bags filled with candy. Ali Thompson, the congregation’s children’s director, said only a few volunteers will hand out goody bags to kids while wearing masks.
Thompson said kids are encouraged to wear face coverings and non-church members are welcome to attend. Children who dress in costumes will receive an extra prize.
“We’re doing a drive-thru to keep everybody safe,” she said. “It’s always been a community event, so we’re trying to keep a little normalcy.”
What: Drive-thru trunk-or-treat event
When: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville, 800 South Enota Drive NE, Gainesville
More info: 770-532-0136
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church in Gainesville will put on its annual outdoor Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, which includes a traditional trunk or treat, photo booth, bouncy houses and other kid-friendly activities.
Kristina Willis, the congregation’s administrative assistant and communications coordinator, said people won’t be required to wear masks; however, all attendees’ temperatures will be checked with a no-touch thermometer.
“People can keep their distance, and we have hand sanitizer out,” Willis said.
Instead of the church preparing free food for families, The Barbecue Depot, a local catering company, will set up its food truck on the church’s property. Willis said all the meals’ proceeds will be donated to Operation Christmas Child, a nationwide initiative run by Samaritan’s Purse to distribute Christmas gifts to children in need.
“It’s free of charge to anyone,” Willis said. “We always have some fun trunk-or-treat games, and we’re encouraging costumes.”
What: Event with trunk or treat and other kid-friendly activities
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17
Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1397 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville
More info: 770-534-1078
Oakwood Baptist Church
Although Oakwood Baptist Church won’t be hosting a trunk or treat or other Halloween-themed activities, it will have its annual Fall Festival at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
Brian Evans, the congregation’s senior pastor, said the outdoor event will encompass a range of seasonal fun like hayrides, a chili cook-off and a miniature train ride for children.
Adults and older teenagers will have the option of participating in a “lumberjack” competition, which includes a timed log sawing contest and axe throwing.
“It’s not a substitute for Halloween, but it’s an activity,” Evans said. “It’s primarily designed to cater to our folks, but people are welcome to bring friends. If somebody shows up dressed up, that’s fine, but we’re not really participators in Halloween and we don’t emulate that either.”
What: Event with fall-themed activities
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24
Where: Oakwood Baptist Church, 4263 Martin Road, Flowery Branch
More info: 770-965-3736