Luverne to host ‘Trunk-or-Treat’
LUVERNE — Ghosts, goblins, action figures and princesses will be a little safer in Luverne on Halloween after the community’s businesses came together to offer an alternative to the traditional trick-or-treating.
While businesses along the community’s Main Street have offered treats to children for more than a decade, this year the community is hosting a Trunk-or-Treat, closing off two blocks downtown so children can safely seek out candy.
Luverne Area Chamber Director Jane Wildung-Lanphere said 43 businesses have signed up to participate — including several without a downtown storefront. The event is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday and is open to everyone, Wildung-Lanphere added.
Some of the businesses will hand out candy inside of their store, while most will be on the street, with trunks of cars propped open and filled with treats.
“We’ve invited all of the businesses that want to come down to Main Street to put some sort of thing out there that kids can grab their candy from,” Wildung-Lanphere said. “We’ll have trunks open, or if they have a little Bobcat, they can put the candy in the Bobcat loader.”
The downtown businesses traditionally hand out hundreds of pieces of candy for Halloween, but with the new, safer option this year, Wildung-Lanphere is hoping even more families come to town for trick-or-treating.
“It gets dark so early, so I think it’s accommodating the new lifestyle,” she said. “When I was little, I went trick or treating by myself. Now, parents don’t allow that. This creates an atmosphere where kids can do it safely.”
Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge encouraged the Chamber to try the Trunk-or-Treat event and close off the downtown streets.
“It’s always been a safety issue for me,” he said.
In the past, children would run from store to store on Halloween, somewhat oblivious to the vehicle traffic on Main Street. Few would use the crosswalks, and with children darting out from parked cars, he viewed it as a hazard.
“I was afraid someone was going to get hit,” Verbrugge said.
This year, instead of policing the street and fearing for the safety of trick-or-treaters, Verbrugge will park his squad along the closed street and hand out candy to the youngsters. He even plans to decorate his sheriff’s vehicle with a few cobwebs and spiders.
As for a costume, Verbrugge said he’ll stick with his sheriff’s uniform.
“It’s a great opportunity for law enforcement, and for kids to see (us),” he said.
Meanwhile, Scott Wessels of Smiley’s and Computer Tutors said his staff will be rolling with the “Duck Dynasty” and camoflauge theme.
“We’re going to decorate our pickup truck and be dressed up like hunters,” Wessels said.
Wessels, who has handed candy out to kids in years past for Halloween, said he likes the new Trunk-or-Treat format.
“We have a clothing store up front, so it’s kind of nice that they’re not coming into the store,” he said. “If the parents want to go shopping, then they can let the older kids go without concern for safety.
“It will be nice (for businesses) and a safe way for the kids,” he added.
In addition to Trunk-or-Treat, Wildung-Lanphere said the Chamber is conducting a decorating contest for all of the businesses who participate. The two businesses deemed to be the best decorated for Halloween will receive $50 gift cards.
“It’s just an encouragement for their time and energy and putting something together,” she said. “We certainly appreciate everybody’s partnership. We encourage people from out of town to come. They’re going to be extremely safe.”
Luverne’s Trunk-or-Treat isn’t meant to take anything away from any of the other venues or neighborhood trick-or-treating in the community. Wildung-Lanphere said there is a local church doing a Christian-themed Trunk-or-Treat, while the nursing homes and assisted living facilities will also be waiting with candy for the little trick-or-treaters to stop in.