Oct 31, 2021

A castle with a moat and a van backseat decorated like a gumball machine were just some of the sights at Friday and Saturday’s Salvation Army Trunk or Treats, which took place at the Maplewood and Gateway corps.

“We really just want to open our doors to the community again after COVID,” Capt. Marisa McCluer, who oversees the Gateway corps with her husband, Capt. Matt McCluer. “We want to promote family, safe fun, and telling people about Jesus.”

Cars were lined outside the parking lot for their Halloween Trunk or Treat bash, which took the form of a maze inside the Gateway corps with handmade spooky designs, free hot dogs, lots of Marvel costumes – and, from a train conductor, reminders of safety, an important lesson during the Halloween holiday for kids.

A castle setting with king and queen costumes was built by Lts. Matt and Virginia DeGonia, complete with a blue moat and drawbridge on the floor. The spot was one of the first displays the kids saw upon entering.

The display came together in a resourceful morning earlier in the day, Lt. Virginia said.

“My daughter was Elsa (from ‘Frozen’),” Lt. Virginia said. “So, we went castle!”

Candy was handed out through the building, and kids ran high energy through the halls.

Across town at the Maplewood corps, costumes were imaginative, as kids enjoyed themselves socializing and comparing dress-up.

One boy’s costume was the Joker, as he was in a purple suit with moving eyebrows on the mask when he talked. Another boy was dressed in all gold as C3PO.

Our word for the year is outreach,” said Capt. Jeanette Jensen, who runs the Maplewood corps with her husband, Capt. Shane Jensen. “We are reaching out to our community before they can reach out to us.

“Tonight is about letting people know that we’re here to stay, we’re here to be friends, we’re here to be a support, and we’re here to be of aid, if they need that,” Capt. Jeanette said. The captains came to the Maplewood corps at the end of spring.

“My jam is kids,” Capt. Jeanette said. “I would love it if we just had kid programs here. The fact is that my three children are the ones who come consistently. We’re just letting people know what we’re about.”

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