November 1, 2004
Julie Thompson of Queen Creek handed out Almond Joys, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Heath bars Sunday from the back of her van to hundreds of kids dressed as Power Rangers, angels and Superman.
"Our houses are too far apart for trick-or-treating," said Thompson, who moved to Queen Creek in August and owns an embroidery business. "This is just too much fun. We would never have something like this in California."
That scene was played out Sunday throughout the East Valley, where parents and their little trick-or-treaters talked with neighbors, enjoyed the chilly October weather and had some Halloween fun.
Thompson was in one of about a dozen vehicles that lined up at Founder’s Park for Queen Creek’s Trunk or Treat event. To hand out candy, neighbors sat on the backs of their trucks or with back doors open, which provides for a "safe, controlled environment," said John Lichtenberger, a Queen Creek neighborhood preservation manager.
Dressed as an Arizona ranger, he handed out paper bags filled with candy and crayons as his trusty deputy, his dog Willy, stood patiently by, relishing the many children patting his head.
With Queen Creek’s rural atmosphere, there are few streetlights, sidewalks and close homes, so trick-ortreating is a little bit harder for the young ones. The free event was also a way to get neighbors together, enjoy the cool weather and have fun.
Longtime Queen Creek residents Mary Brooks and Mary Gloria handed out Tootsie Rolls, lollipops and M &Ms while representing the Pan de Vida Foundation, a local nonprofit organization.
"We’re here because we do things to be involved in the community," said Brooks, who was dressed as a happy clown. "I think it’s a great idea. It’s a safe way to still enjoy trick-or-treating. It’s also a new community, and neighbors still don’t know each other."
Tony and Jennifer May sat outside their Chandler home with their neighbors, handing out candy from their driveway. Tony May was dressed as a scarecrow, while his wife and 8-month-old, Tatum, were pumpkins.
"This is a chance to unwind from our stressful jobs and just have a good time," said May, a federal law enforcement agent. "This neighborhood is kinda dead, so we’re hoping this will catch on to more neighbors."
Their neighbors also had tables set up on their driveway and handed out candy.
Alyssa and Phil Ferraro stood outside their Gilbert home while costumed kids walked from house to house.
"We’re usually the talk of the neighborhood," said Alyssa Ferraro, whose house was decorated with a large, lighted, blow-up Frankenstein and four lighted pumpkins on the roof, while strings of orange lights hung around the house and a fog machine made for a spooky atmosphere.
"It’s all about the kids and enjoying the variety of costumes," said Phil Ferraro, a project manager for a metal framing and drywall company.