PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In 2020, traditional Halloween trick-or-treating was canceled all across the country, but The Berkshire Eagle and Carr Hardware wanted to save the fun of the beloved costumed revelry, and Trunk or Treat was born.
Families all around the Berkshires dressed up in their Halloween finery and drove to their nearest Carr Hardware to receive plump pumpkins, overflowing candy bags and to connect with each other after being isolated by pandemic-caused cancellations and closures.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, The Berkshire Eagle and Carr Hardware are partnering with many more organizations and businesses to expand the event and keep some Halloween traditions alive.
Another “drive-thru Halloween, aka Trunk or Treat’’ will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at Carr Hardware’s locations in Great Barrington, Lenox, North Adams and Pittsfield. The Lee location will be part of a community-wide event at the high school on Oct. 29.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic is still happening, so we wanted to continue to provide a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating,” said Amy Goddard, director of marketing for Carr Hardware. “With so much uncertainty, being able to do this is exciting for us.”
To increase excitement there will be surprise visitors at each location. Goddard said that some locations may have a zombie dance troupe, another may have firefighters. “I’ve got to level up my own costume game,” she said.
“When the police department and the fire department want to be involved, you know you’ve got a winner on your hands,” said Bart Raser, owner of Carr Hardware. “The inspiration for this event is really the kids and families of our community. As a hardware store we’re all about connecting to our community, and we’re excited to continue to build on (Trunk or Treat) in all our locations in the Berkshires.”
Building up they are. This year there will be more Halloween goodies to be distributed, including more pumpkins. But get there early because only the first 50 cars at each Carr Hardware location will receive a pumpkin.
Additional community sponsors include Vermont Confectionery, which will be supplying most of the sweet treats; Berkshire Dogs Unleashed, Animal Inn and Meow & Growl, which will be supplying pet-centric gift baskets featuring all kinds of treats for the winners of the Pet Costume Contest portion of Trunk or Treat.
For the second year, Alluring Balloon Creations worked with Carr Hardware and The Berkshire Eagle to provide reasonably priced creative displays. Please stop by a participating location, and you can see them for yourself.
We asked community sponsors to give us some insights as to why they elected to participate in this year’s fun and here is what they had to say:
“We choose to sponsor local events as a way to give back to the Berkshires,” said Kaitlyn Kohlenberger, owner of Berkshire Dogs Unleashed. “We value coming together with other local businesses in support of our community. The support we have received in our first year as a small business has been amazing!”
For owners of Klaus Roofing systems, participating is even more personal.
“Jason’s dad and original roofing mentor passed away this past spring,” said Katie Smegal of Klaus Roofing Systems. “He was the biggest candy lover I’ve ever met and had candy stashed in every room of his house. He always had Swedish Fish or a chocolate bar for our boys when he’d visit and our youngest son, Wesley, apparently inherited the candy-loving gene.
“So not only were we proud to be a part of something that would make so many children happy, but it also provided a bit of personal nostalgia to help sponsor the event this year, in his honor. Not to mention the community has been so great to us, it was the least we could do!”
This second annual Trunk or Treat will continue to take advantage of the Carr Hardware footprint, Raser said. “This is such a truly community event,” he said. “It’s receiving a lot of traction, and we’re being contacted by lots of people who’d like to also be a part of it. It’s great that creating fun is a big deal.”
And creating fun with our family pets is a part of the event, too.
“We believe in supporting not only your fur kids but your human kids as well,” said Shannon Petersoli, of Animal Inn. “These types of events help the community come together to provide some much needed fun during a difficult time. We are very happy to be a part of making some memories for the kids and seeing some of the animals dressed up for the occasion as well.”
Difficult times create learning opportunities to help make things even more creative and dynamic, Raser added.
“We learned so much from last year,” Raser said. “Like making sure we have many more heaters and hand warmers for the event staff. Also that we need to have more than 600 bags this time around. It’s awesome that we built this from thinking Halloween was going to be nothing, to now even more participation.”
Raser added he is planning on dressing up as Frankenstein’s monster.
Part of the fun is not just receiving goodie bags on the night of Oct. 28 but also includes virtual contests of Halloween art (you pick up the coloring sheet at the Trunk or Treat event), best children’s costume, best pet costume, and best pumpkin carving.
All of these costume contests, the coloring contest, and the pumpkin carving contest happen from the comfort of your home and outside the drive-thru event on the 28th. These contests allow you to show off your creativity and Halloween spirit and be entered to win more Halloween goodies. See https://halloween.berkshireeagle.com/ for more details on the contests and the prizes for each.