As the leaves begin to fall, college football is the go-to Saturday event, and temperatures start to drop (kind of) it is a clear indication that fall is upon us. Many churches host Fall Festivals or Trunk-or Treat events as a safer alternative. This can be a great opportunity for your ministry to reach the community. With that in mind, safety is the number one concern with large groups of people attending your church many of them being children.
Trunk-or- Treat/Fall Festival Event Safety:
- Have designated parking and use volunteers to direct traffic.
- Make sure to have an adequate number of volunteers who are capable of performing the tasks at hand. It can be hard to predict the turn out when the public is involved and you would rather have too many than not enough.
- Require decorated vehicles to arrive ahead of time.
- Inspect the area for any tripping hazards such as potholes, unmarked curbs, or lack of lighting.
- Try hosting while it is still daylight to avoid increased risks.
- Require all children to have parental supervision.
- Only allow prepackaged treats.
- Keep all participants within the designated boundaries of the event.
- If providing food and drinks make sure to keep foods at their appropriate temperatures to avoid spoilage and not to cross contaminate.
- Coordinate with local law enforcement and emergency services so they are prepared for your event. They may even want to participate or volunteer.
- If your church has a security or “courtesy” team make sure there are CPR certified members and a clear understanding of how the event will unfold. This allows for better communication and being proactive in the safety of the participants.
- If you will be having any inflatables or bouncy houses call our office to discuss if coverage is provided.
Food allergies are another issue involved when handing out treats and candy to the public. Many people participate in the “Teal Pumpkin Project” by simply setting out a teal colored pumpkin visible to potential trick-or-treaters. The teal pumpkin represents a safe place for trick-or-treaters to stop who have food allergies. Having a non-food treat in a separate bowl away from candy is a great way to involve all children. Also, many events provide allergy bands. Each color of band represents a different allergy such as nuts, peanuts, and/or dairy. This can help let the ones giving out candy know exactly what allergy a child may have.
If you plan to host a wagon or hay ride there are certain safety tips to keep in mind:
- Assign a spotter to assist with boarding and exiting. If steps are needed, utilize steps with handrails.
- Implement a no-standing rule while in motion.
- No horseplay.
- Keep all limbs and body parts in the ride at all times.
- Conduct a pre-trip inspection of the wagon or trailer being used. Only use wagons or trailers with rails along the side and back.
- Require slow travel speeds.
- Stay off of public roads.
- Avoid trails that are bumpy or have large hills.
These events can be a good way to reach out to the surrounding community but can also prevents hazards. Being proactive and having a solid game plan going in can help alleviate some of the risks. Call our office to go over any questions you may have or about your coverage.
Sources: Church Mutual, Food Allergy Research & Education