Unofficial ‘World’s Largest Trunk or Treat’ set to provide Halloween fun to children with disabilities

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Shops at South Towne

SANDY, Utah (ABC4) – For families with children with disabilities, going out to trick-or-treat can present a number of challenges.

The loudness of the doorbell, the spooky decoration, and the scariness of roaming the streets in the dark of night can make an evening where nightmarish figures are celebrated, into a more literal nightmare of unpleasantness.

As an alternative, Giv.care, a new startup that aims to bridge the gap between technology and care-giving services, and The Utah Parent Center, a resource center that helps parents learn to enable their children with disabilities, is hosting a massive trunk-or-treat gathering at The Shops at South Town next Saturday.

Aiming to set the unofficial record for the world’s largest trunk-or-treat, Giv.care’s vice president of marketing, Alec Fowler, tells ABC4.com, that over 200 cars and more than 1,500 treaters are expected to turn out on Oct. 30.

According to Fowler, these kinds of events, which are free with registration, are a way of giving back to the community, especially to the kind of families Giv.care hopes to serve.

“We want to give these kids the closest experience they can have to what other kids experience,” he explains. “A lot of them have sensory triggers, and so going house to house with doorbells, or scary houses, that kind of thing is kind of difficult. So we thought this would be an awesome way to let these kids have you know, the trick-or-treating experience that’s in a lighted, safe, and controlled environment.”

The event, which will be held in the mall’s parking lot from 1-3 p.m., is set to feature not only a few creatively decorated trunks, filled to the brim with candy, but also a number of surprises to delight the treaters. A group of classic car collectors is planning to attend, as well as a backhoe tractor from a local construction company with its gigantic bucket packed with goodies.

Fowler also adds that many of the vehicles that are perhaps a little less awe-inspiring have been registered by folks who don’t have a vested interest or a child with a disability. These people just want to have a good time and see the smiles on the kids’ faces.

“We’ve had a lot of people say they’re going to go out all out on their trunks,” he says, mentioning that there are still spots available for both trunkers and treaters to register.

Utah Parent Center’s fundraising spokesperson, Jessie Dennerline, says her organization is thrilled to be a beneficiary of the event. As a parent of a son with a disability, and a daughter who is ‘super scared’ of Halloween, these kinds of activities are great for the families of kids who struggle during traditional trick-or-treating.

“For some kids being out at night, or just the idea of trick-or-treating during a pandemic, it was all kinds of reasons to be a little scared,” she says. “It’s just a little bit easier and safer for some parents to do a trunk-or-treat.”

Families of children with physical impairments may also find a trunk or treat to be a lifesaver.

“I think being able to trunk-or-treat will be easier for people in wheelchairs than going from house to house in a neighborhood,” Dennerline imagines. “The logistics of it will be a little bit simpler for kids with higher disabilities or younger kids.”

Even though her daughter is terrified of the scary stuff around Halloween, Dennerline laughs that she is still excited about the dressing-up part of the holiday. She changes her mind every day about what she wants to be, the latest idea is inspired by the Disney movie, Coco, even though they already did that costume a few years ago.

“She likes to do face paint, so she paints her face like a sugar skull.”

Time will tell if she sticks to that theme when the trunk-or-treating time rolls around next week.

Registration for treaters is available here. It’s available here for trunkers.

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