Not de rigueur, for a Mormon ward, but increasingly ubiquitous is the ward Trunk-or-Treat. Every American ward I has been in for the last decade have hosted one, and I know lots of other wards do as well. Whether it is strictly a parking-lot based event, or an entire Halloween festival started in the cultural hall, we Mormons seem to have grabbed on to this questionable American holiday with vigor. From best-decorated-trunk to haunted house in the Primary room to jack-o-lantern carving competitions, All Hallows Eve has made an oddly warm impression on us. In fact, I’ve never even heard the same kind of objections some have to popular children’s novels with wizards in them expressed about this pagen/old world revelry at the church.

But why? It makes sense when Halloween falls on a Sunday, that interested parties might host an alternative to breaking the sabbath if, indeed, walking around your neighborhood sharing candy is heretical. And sure, some geographical areas are harsh to trick-or-treating: urban areas that feel unsafe or are simply full of people who do not buy candy for your kids, or rural areas that make walking from house to house an actual difficulty for small children. Frankly, if your area of the U.S. is anything like mine, and I guess it is, there are ample alternatives to begging door-to-door on the night of the 31st; malls, libraries, schools, even grocery stores in my area host opportunities to don costumes and be rewarded with candy.

Last night at our annual Trunk-or-Treat and Halloween Carnival (!) I looked around the room at all my ward members who I know do not need more candy or other opportunities to Trick-or-treat, eat donuts, or collect small prizes. What draws us? I decided: we like each other. It’s as simple as that. We enjoy seeing each other’s kids dressed in costumes and complimenting the creators on their ingenuity or creativity or sewing skills. While we all live in nice neighborhoods and likely will trick-or-treat again next Monday, we mostly won’t see each other to ooooh and awwww over the children. It is also one of the few (only?) ward activities about which there is no guilt about NOT attending. That is a major draw.

What do you think of Halloween at Church?