New Halloween bash begins a spooky tradition

By Douglas McCulloch | Oct 28, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Megan Breault plays in a makeshift sandbox set up at Parks and Recreation's trunk-or-treat station.

Dartmouth Fire District No. 1 and Parks and Recreation may have invented Dartmouth’s newest Halloween tradition: a pre-Halloween trunk-or-treating night.

Although firefighters and Parks Department officials were not sure what to expect in terms of turnout, hundreds of costume-clad kids and families stopped by the Bridge Street firehouse on October 28 for the district’s Halloween bash. The event featured trunk-or-treating from a dozen decked-out tailgates and trunks, kids’ activities, and a chance to explore a fire truck.

According to Parks Director Tim Lancaster, the idea came about when the department was searching for more holiday events to host. Building off the department’s successful yearly Easter Egg Hunt at Apponagansett Park, it was decided to introduce a Halloween event to the mix.

“It’s a great collaboration between Parks and Recreation and Fire District No. 1,” Lancaster said. “This is a great family oriented event.”

Lancaster and Becky Amaral pitched the idea to officials from Fire District No. 1, who quickly signed on board. Working with the fire district, the idea of a trunk-or-treat featuring decked out and spooky car trunks was soon born.

Firefighters, their families, and community members stepped in and provided plenty of cars for kids to stop and pick up candy at. The Parks Department even came prepared with a sand play area on its display.

“It originally started with four cars, and we have more than 10 now,” added Deputy Chief Jake Bettencourt. “It’s really a community effort.”

Kelly Kelly decked her car out in colorful yet slightly creepy Halloween displays as her daughter Kailynn handed out candy.

” I was going for spooky, but not too spooky,” Kelly noted.

Others, like Skott Rebello, came up with a spooky trunk-or-treating idea on the fly. He formed a mouth on the hatch of his car, and Sydney Rebello and Avahlyn Faris sat inside handing out candy.

“I thought it up this morning; I wanted to make my trunk look like a mouth,” Rebello said.

Amaral, who helped plan the event, added it would not have been possible without the support of the fire district, which dipped into its firefighters fundraising account to buy candy for the kids, and decked out the fire station in Halloween attire. The Emergency Management Agency and Dartmouth Police also pitched in for logistics and parking management.

With a resounding success, officials hope to continue the event into next year – and hope to add more Halloween components, like haunted rooms, to the mix.

Andrew Poente wears a skeleton mask at his trunk-or-treating station. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
A pickup truck decked out in Halloween decorations. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Kailynn Kelly, 4, sits on a trunk-or-treating station. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Sydney Rebello, 11, and Avahlyn Faris, 7, hand out candy from inside the "mouth" of a car. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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