MMI's Trunk or Treat draws 500 visitors

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | November 13, 2018

Image with caption: MMI staff was out in force to make sure the Trunk or Treat was fun for visitors.

MMI staff was out in force to make sure the Trunk or Treat was fun for visitors.

The UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute recently hosted its second annual Trunk or Treat for children with disabilities and their families.

Nearly 500 people enjoyed the trick-or-treating fun on Oct. 28, which organizers estimated was more than double the turnout for the initial event in 2017.

MMI and community partners distributed treats from the trunks of 18 parked cars in an area designed to provide the maximum amount of fun with the least amount of distance to travel.

MMI Director of Community Engagement Melonie Welsh attributed the increase in interest to expanded activities and increased word of mouth about the event, including pre-event publicity and an aggressive social media campaign.

"We were excited to have a clown this year -- retired UNMC faculty member James Turpen, Ph.D. -- who had a line for the whole event to have balloon animals made," Welsh said. "It was wonderful to have Dr. Turpen taking part in this event, and he was a big hit.

"Additionally, we had cotton candy, Halloween games and MMI's coffee cart to elevate this year's event."

Many MMI staff members, from departments that included education and child development, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology, dressed in colorful costumes, decorated trunks and handed out candy for the event.

Participating community partners included Skutt High School, United Healthcare, Family Fare, the Munroe-Meyer Guild and the MMI Board of Directors.

"Inclusivity and acceptance are two things that have to always be at the top of our minds," Welsh said. "Having an activity that was family centric and met communication and mobility challenges in a trusted environment is something that not all families would have access to, unless we initiate it."

View the Flickr album of Trunk or Treat photos and find out who, from MMI, dressed as a jester.