Asbury UMC staff ‘astounded’ at Halloween Parade turnout

NORTH SHELBY – Despite having a different format in keeping with COVID-19 safety guidelines, a popular fall event at Asbury United Methodist Church saw an even larger turnout this year than in previous years.

Asbury’s drive-thru Halloween Parade – the 2020 version of the church’s annual trunk-or-treat event – drew hundreds of people to the campus on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 25 and featured decorated trunks, candy for children and free boxed hot dog meals.

“We were absolutely astounded by the number of cars that came through,” Communications Director Amy Gonzalez said. “Some folks waited up to an hour and a half in line to go through the parade. We tried to keep the parade moving. People were so sweet and patient.”

Instead of getting out of their cars and walking from trunk to trunk to collect candy, families remained in their vehicles and drove through the parking lot, where church members and other participants stood near their decorated trunks and brought candy to children in each vehicle as they passed.

“We had about 40 trunks that participated in the event,” Gonzalez said. “We had so many cars that we feel like it was more successful than our other trunk-or-treat events.”

Asbury’s in-house chef prepared about 730 individual hot dog boxes to hand out free of charge to attendees while supplies lasted.

Church staff and volunteers followed all health and safety guidelines, such as keeping the candy in a quarantined area until the time of the event.

Winners of the trunk contest were: Trunk No. 41 Harry Potter, first-place winner of a $200 Topgolf gift card; Trunk No. 37 Jurassic Park, second-place winner of Wednesday night dinners for the rest of the year; and Trunk No. 24 Dia de los Muertos and Trunk No. 4 Halloween, who tied for third place to win $50 Chick-fil-A gift cards.

Positive feedback about the parade poured in afterward via Asbury’s social media pages.

“People just need to feel a sense of normalcy right now, and they need to still encourage fun for their kids as safely as possible,” Gonzalez said. “We saw so many more faces from the community, and that’s what makes our hearts happy.”