Trunk or Treat to move to new MMI building this year

by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications | October 12, 2020

Image with caption: Masks will be worn and windows will be rolled up, but the spirit of Trunk or Treat, personified by this group from the MMI Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the 2019 event, will live on in the new

Masks will be worn and windows will be rolled up, but the spirit of Trunk or Treat, personified by this group from the MMI Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the 2019 event, will live on in the new "drive-through" format.

Editor's note: The Munroe-Meyer Institute will announce on its Facebook page if weather forces the postponement or cancellation of the Trunk or Treat event. The announcement will be posted no later than 1 p.m. Sunday.

The Munroe-Meyer Institute is going on the road for the fourth edition of its popular Trunk or Treat event, set for Oct. 25 from 2-4 p.m.

Not only will the location shift -- to the parking lot in front of the future home of MMI at 6902 Pine St. -- but the event will be set up as a drive-through, with candy deposited in bags hung on the side mirrors of cars as families pull past elaborately decorated trunks staffed by brightly costumed volunteers.

The goal, said organizer Jacqueline Hankins of the MMI Community Engagement Office, is to create a fun, entertaining event in a safe environment for MMI families. The event has become one of the institute's and community's most popular.

This year, Trunk or Treat will be set up as a winding road in the parking lot in front of the new MMI building. Groups from MMI departments, MMI board members, community partners and others will take part by handing out treats and candy alternatives. (Other groups and supporters sponsor the event by providing candy or small toys to give away.)

"We'll have a separate bag on the side mirror for each child in the car - siblings are welcome to join in the fun -- and as the families drive past each trunk, staff will drop their goodies inside the bags.

Participants will remain in their cars and are asked to wear cloth masks. Volunteers will wear and gloves, utilize hand sanitizer and maintain social distancing to optimize the safety of all individuals taking part in the activity. Families and volunteers are asked to stay home if they are not feeling well.

Last year's Trunk or Treat drew approximately 300 people, Hankins said. This year, organizers expect 500 or more.

"From the very first one, we have been elated by how many people have participated in it and enjoyed it," she said. "Parents have consistently told us that they enjoy a safe accessible event that children of all abilities can enjoy. Additionally, MMI staff and community partners relish the opportunity to interact with the families.

"In light of the current public health crisis, we knew that Halloween would not look the same in 2020. Adapting the event to this drive-through format with strict adherence to UNMC's safety guidelines allows us to provide the families MMI serves the opportunity to engage in our annual event."

In a way, the event will be the first public event "at" the new building.

"Although new building is not officially open, we are pleased to host this popular event there," said Karoly Mirnics, MD, PhD, director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute. "The size of the parking lot at our new home gives us greater flexibility and has allowed us to reconfigure Trunk or Treat to present it safely in the COVD-19 era. We are excited to be able to do this, and this is only a taste of the new possibilities the building will provide when it opens in 2021."

Hankins said that for MMI staff and volunteers, the excitement is seeing the families having fun.

"In a year of unprecedented challenges, we hope this event will bring joy to participants and staff, and we are excited to see how the event will transfer to the new site and format," she said.

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UNMC Today editor
October 24, 2020 at 8:46 AM

MMI will announce on its Facebook page if weather forces the postponement or cancellation of the Trunk or Treat event. The announcement will be posted no later than 1 p.m. Sunday.

Jennie Reed
October 23, 2020 at 9:18 PM

Is this still going to happen if the weather is bad Sunday?