A large turnout of families packed Fourth Street on Halloween night during the first annual Trunk-or-Treat Festival sponsored by the city of Ceres.
Ceres residents, businesses, civic groups and churches broke into their candy treasure troves held inside of vehicle trunks, pickup beds, trailers and motorcycle compartments and booths.
“For our first-time event it was very successful,” said Matt Lohr, the city’s new Recreation Manager. “We had over 28 community booths that volunteered to give out candy and prizes to kids and we think the attendance was between 1,500 and 2,000 people, so a great success. We received nothing but positives about the event from the community groups that had booths or trunks or participants from the community.”
The Ceres Womans Club group participated with a booth to hand out treats.
“The turn-out for participants and trick-or-treaters was great,” said Barbara Brown of the club. “Fourth Street was packed with families with children of all ages. Everything was well organized and we had a very happy crowd.”
The women bought five 100-piece bags of candy and ran out by 7:25 p.m.
“Luckily we had extra candy so we were able to pass out candy to the booths that were running out so then nobody ran out,” said Recreation Coordinator Crystel Aguilar.
Brown said the women in their booth had fun passing out the candy and seeing the costumed children, remembering “the days when we could do this in our homes and feel safe opening the door in costumes ourselves and greeting the kids and admiring their costumes.”
Businesses also participated, including State Farm Insurance which brought a large bear costumed employee do to greet the crowd. Fiesta Insurance had a booth as did Modern Urgent Care and Flawless Salon and Embroidery Plus. The Ceres Chamber of Commerce set up a miniature feature of a haunted cemetery. Other groups who stepped up to help out were the Central Valley Saints motorcycle group, Save Mart, Mother Lode Mineral Society, Ceres Adult School, Elite Family Systems, Diana Schmidt, Justin May and his Nokturnal Car, Harvest Presbyterian Church, Meyers CPR & First Aid, Steps Dance Studio, EXIT Realty Consultants, Ceres Cub Scout Pack 132, A-PRO Payroll, Ceres Youth Baseball, Persephone Guild, Modern Urgent Care, California Fish & Wildlife, State Farm Insurance, Battle Zone and the city of Ceres.
Many of the adults who participated got into the Halloween spirit with their own costumes. Aguilar dressed up as a mad scientist, Recreation Supervisor Cambria Pollinger dressed as “Where’s Waldo?” and Lohr was a referee.
The city conducted a little contest to encourage creative booths. The “best booth” award went to Diana Schnidt for crafting a “Coco” movie theme while the “best trunk” award went to State Farm for its Toy Story theme.
The city emphasized that participants should refrain from scary costumes and concepts for booths and trunks.
The only negative that Aguilar heard was that one participant remarked to several teens and older kids “aren’t you a little too old?”
“The kids got sensitive about it so next year we’ll try to say that teens are allowed so everybody is allowed.”