ASA Now is aiming to make sure that kids impacted by foster care get to take part in one of the reasons it’s fun to be a kid in the fall — trick-or-treating on Halloween.
2020…the year of cancellations. As the fall approached and COVID-19 pandemic continued to be our reality, our advisory board came together and discussed how we could adapt our 3rd Annual Trunk-or-Treat Fall Celebration in a safe manner for children and youth in foster care.
We knew from past experience that many caregivers have depended on the costumes we receive through our partnership with Gem’s Dress-Up Closet and community donors who provide costumes for children and youth in care. Whether costumes are used in taking part in the Halloween tradition or in dressing up and playing make-believe where they can pretend to be whatever and whoever they want to be, we know that dressing up in costumes holds therapeutic benefits for children. Dressing up allows children to momentarily forget about the trauma, abuse and neglect they’ve experienced, and empowers them to see themselves in a new and more positive light. They can go into an imaginary world where they are superheroes or characters from their favorite shows. In this imaginary world, they are fed, clothed, treated with dignity and respect, and loved, but above all, they are safe. They begin to process their loss and grief. In these moments as caregivers, we see the children that we love begin to gain confidence and find their voices, and we see healing.
Knowing how special this event is, we made the decision to hold the event outdoors with ample precautions in place to combat the spread of the virus. This year’s theme will be “A Maze of Halloween Excitement.” Attendees will arrive at staggered intervals to limit group size and allow for distancing, in accordance with state and county guidelines. Families will be guided through the maze, where they will play games, have photos taken, visit the trunk-or-treat area, and receive books, snacks, and treats to take home. All attendees and volunteers will be asked to wear masks, maintain physical distance from anyone outside their household, and use good hand hygiene throughout the evening. Hand sanitizer will be available at each stop throughout the maze. Each activity has been planned with safety and fun in mind and we are looking forward to another memorable Trunk-or-Treat Fall Celebration!
It can be stressful to put together holiday events under normal circumstances, and even more so during a pandemic. It would have been easier to just cancel the event, but in our hearts, our board felt that it would be worth whatever extra efforts would be necessary so that this event could happen, and happen safely. This story, shared with us by Deana Wright, illustrates perfectly why events like this are so memorable and important. “I attended the 2019 Halloween party as a new foster parent. When my foster daughter found out that others attending were foster children as well, she whispered under her breath “I’m not the only one”. Raising children from hard places presents unique challenges, which can feel very alienating. For both my foster daughter and I, finding a new foster community who shared much of our reality was priceless. I will be attending again this year, with new foster daughters. They will enjoy picking out costumes, participating in the activities, and getting treats. However, the best part of the evening will be connecting with our community, and feeling a little less alone as we make holiday memories together.”
Another parent, Jen Christianson, shared, “We are so excited to be able to attend ASA Now Trunk-or-Treat to help provide some normalcy for our kids while they can also see other diverse families!” At ASA Now, seeing the joy and excitement on the beautiful faces of the children in our foster and adoptive community is what we look forward to the most about our events. COVID-19 or not, we cannot wait to see everyone at our Trunk-or-Treat Fall Celebration!
Mama of 10 and President at ASA Now