Remember when Halloween was nothing more than a single night every year when little ones went door-to-door in search of treats, willing to risk the occasional innocuous trick to gather their sweet booty?
That’s so yesterday’s newspapers. Today, Halloween has risen to ubiquitous holiday status, a monthlong marking of things that go bump in the night that’s swept past child-only events with something for pretty much every age group – replete with scares, gore and horror.
Halloween night also has seen a change. Once neighborhood streets were filled with wee trick-or-treaters knocking on nearly every door, but now many parents are wary about sending their children out where speeding or distracted drivers could be a threat – or even more nefarious dangers could lurk.
Enter churches and communities that host harvest fairs and trunk-or-treat alternatives that take the horrors out of the equation. These give kids a chance to play some games and show off their creative (non-scary) costumes while they gather up the sweet stuff.
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The Modesto region has plenty of the communal Halloween-lite activities planned for families, some leading up to Oct. 31 and some before; here’s a look:
MODESTO TRUNK OR TREAT – Oct. 27: Family event with classic cars, games for the kids, trunk-or-treating, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin painting, music and more. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tenth Street Plaza, 1010 10th St., Modesto. Free. 209-529-9303.
TRUNK OR TREAT – Oct. 28: Family event with a costume contest, candy, face painting, petting zoo, games and more. 4 to 6 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 850 16th St., Modesto. Free.
FALL FESTIVAL & TRUNK-A-TREAT – Oct. 28: Food, photo booth, face painting, games, prizes for best costume, best carved/decorated pumpkin (pumpkins provided), drawings. 5 to 8 p.m. Calvary Baptist Church, 1732 Miller Ave, Modesto. Free. 209-524-0922.
LAKES CENTER HALLOWEEN PARADE AND COSTUME CONTEST – Oct. 28: Contest in four age groups with prizes and candy. 3 p.m. Lakes Shopping Center, Floyd Avenue and Oakdale Road, Modesto.
HARVEST FESTIVAL – Oct. 29: Potluck, games, activities. Noon. Livingston United Methodist Church, 11695 Olive Ave. Entrance fee is one nonperishable food item; proceeds go to UMCOR. 209-394-2264.
OAKDALE TRICK OR TREAT – Oct. 31: Community event with a haunted hospital, music, inflatables and more. 6 to 8 p.m. Downtown Oakdale. Free. www.facebook.com.
TRUNK OR TREAT – Oct. 31: All are welcome to event. 6:30 to 8 p.m. Emanuel Lutheran Church parking lot, 324 College Ave., Modesto. 209-523-4531.
HARVEST CARNIVAL – Oct. 31: For children sixth grade and under and their families. Carnival games, bounce houses and candy. Hot dog dinner available for $4. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Calvary Chapel, 4300 American Ave., Modesto. 209-545-5530.
WONKALICIOUS CHOCOLATE FEST – Oct. 31: Candy, inflatables, children’s characters, more. Three kids shows at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. For ages 12 years and under. 5 to 9 p.m. The House Modesto, 1601 Coffee Road, Modesto. Free. 209-529-7346.
TRUNK OR TREAT – Oct. 31: Candy, inflatables, food vendors, live characters. 6 to 8 p.m. One Church Bethel Campus, 2361 Scenic Drive, Modesto. Free. 209-521-5440.
TRUNK OR TREAT – Oct. 31: Food and snacks along with trunks filled with goodies. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Geneva Presbyterian Church, 1229 Coffee Road. Free. 209-524-6841.