The People’s Church experiences unexpected turnout at Trunk or Treat event

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Children and families wait in line for treats at The People's Church Trunk or Treat event.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The second annual Trunk or Treat event hosted by The People’s Church in East Lansing had an unexpectedly large turnout on Saturday, Oct. 28. Many members of The People’s Church gathered on Saturday evening to celebrate Halloween with their community. The Trunk or Treat event was described as a safe alternative for families to enjoy in addition to the classic trick-or-treating tradition. Some attendees said this alternative to trick-or-treating has become increasingly popular. 

Elizabeth Reed has worked with The People’s Church for 32 years as choir director. She was described by others as being famous in the community for her Halloween parties. 

“It’s easier for parents because it’s all right here in a smaller space. You’re not walking for miles and through wet leaves, and it’s just a safe thing for the kids to do,” Reed said. 

East Lansing resident Elizabeth Reed gives candy to children while they wait in line for apple cider and donuts.

Reed was surprised by the large turnout and said it may have been because the event was advertised much better this year compared to last. She said the event was a conversation topic among community members and therefore brought higher attendance. 

Many other attendees were also surprised by the amount of people at the event, and those giving out candy ran out of treats shortly after the event began. 

Kristin Schuette, assistant director of I.T. at Michigan State University, ran out of candy to give to the children and had to borrow from others. She attended last year’s event, which was the first held at the church, and said it was much calmer than this year’s event. According to Schuette, only a few people attended, and they mostly all sat together around a fire pit, while this year’s event drew a much larger crowd. Schuette estimated attendance jumped from 15 attendees to 200. 

“This year, I don’t know where all these people came from but this is great! This is fantastic!” Schuette said. 

Schuette and her two daughters brought Halloween-themed games for children to enjoy in addition to candy and treats. 

Kristin Schuette and her daughter M.J. Schuette decorated their car trunk with pumpkins and other decor for the event.

Rev. Dr. Shawnthea Monroe, pastor at The People’s Church, handed out candy to the children from her car’s trunk with her husband Neil Mueller, a music professor at Central Michigan University and Lansing Symphony Orchestra musician. 

The People’s Church pastor Rev. Dr. Shawnthea Monroe and husband Neil Mueller interact with a child dressed as Grogu before giving him candy.

“We don’t have children at home anymore,” Monroe said. She added that the event was an opportunity for the couple to be their usual, silly selves like they did when their children were younger. 

Paul Jenkins, MSU alumnus and member of the People’s Church, attended Trunk or Treat along with his wife and daughter. He said their family loves Halloween and goes all-out each year with costumes.

“It was never a thing when I was a kid,” Jenkins said of trunk-or treating events. But, to Jenkins, events such as this are great for bringing community members together from across the city.

East Lansing resident Paul Jenkins hands out candy to one of many families.

The popularity of trunk-or-treating events might be on the rise throughout the next couple of years, with 26 events scheduled this October in the Greater Lansing Area, according to event listings on And for those who missed the event this year, The People’s Church plans to hold the Halloween event next year as well. 

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