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Church hosts one-stop setup for trick-or-treating

Emmanuel Evangelical Missionary Church in Elmira is getting into the spooky spirit with their annual Trunk or Treat event.

Forty volunteers are setting up a one-stop-shop for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31, starting at 6 p.m. There will even be a little taste of the Madagascan jungle.

“Right now we have 40 tables signed up and they decorate each table to a theme. We have a dirt bike theme, we have fairy tales, we have Olaf – anything they want to do, they get to decorate. Instead of them handing out candy at their homes for that night, they hand it out just at the tables,” said Maddie Hockley with outreach and administration at the church, adding that there will also be some exotic animals for kids and their families to come and visit. “We booked a Madagascar theme, so they are going to bring animals from Madagascar. They are going to have a kind of petting zoo, so the kids can just come and meet the animals and hang out with them. The guaranteed a lynx and a lemur.”

The event has been a huge success in the past, with around 450 people walking through the church doors last Halloween, and Hockley hopes this year is just as successful.

“It was insane. It is a lot of fun. We really like doing it and people in the church get behind it and that is what makes it work. It is our church’s biggest community outreach every year,” she said, adding that members got the inspiration for the event from other churches in the United States, but put their own spin on it. “Church members decorate their trunks (of their cars) in the parking lot and kids go around the same way. But, the first time we tried it, it was pouring rain and freezing. We were forced to move inside and we found that this works much better.”

Organizers and church members continue with the event every year, now, because it is a fun evening of activities and give families a place to spend Halloween together.

“(We) want to provide opportunities for parents and kids to come out and do something safe and fun. Why not do it on Halloween when everyone is out anyways?” she said, mentioning that parents and their kids have raved about the event in previous years. “In 15 to 20 minutes you technically go to what would be 40 houses and you get 40 pieces of candy. People at the church have been really generous, so their whole bags are overflowing by the end. All the parents were so grateful that it was warm and dry. They just loved it.”

The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Halloween night, and families are welcome to drop in anytime. For more information, visit the church website, www.makingfaithlive.com.

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