Cheerful crowd enjoys Parkrose ‘Trunk or Treat’

NOT-SO-SCARY VIDEO INCLUDED | See throngs of families enjoy an early Hallowe’en at this brought-back-from-the-dead tradition in outer East Portland …


Volunteers decorate their vehicles for the reanimated Parkrose Trunk or Treat, now held at Parkrose Middle School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After being absent for three Hallowe’en seasons, on October 15th the Parkrose Trunk or Treat returned at a new location – Parkrose Middle School – and with new a new sponsor – Elevate Oregon.

For years, the Parkrose-based Trunk or Treats have provided a safe and family-friendly trick-or-treating opportunity. However, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the last one was held back in 2019. CLICK HERE to read about it.

Long before the gates open, a line of participants forms to eagerly await entry into the 2023 Parkrose Trunk or Treat festivity.

Parkrose Trunk or Treat history
The idea behind the first Parkrose Trunk or Treat celebration, which was started in 2015 by members of the now-dormant Parkrose Business Association, was simple:

Association members, community organizations, and personnel from governmental offices and nonprofit organizations would fill their vehicle trunks with candy – and then park in the Parkrose High School parking lot and wait for families to come by.

Even in a deluge of rain, the first one was a success. CLICK HERE to read about it.

Here, waiting in line, is the Clayton family.

Volunteering at the pizza station are Jen Blew – who has “middle school kiddos”, as she puts it – and her friend Alma Rosa.

Fast-forward to 2023. We haven’t able to learn how October 15th happened to be the date selected for the return of the Parkrose Trunk or Treat, but throughout that afternoon, vehicles were streaming into the Parkrose Middle School parking lot.

Watch the fun everyone was having as this Trunk or Treat event comes back to life:

“Today, we are doing a Trunk or Treat, serving the community,” Michelle Braxton-Williams told East Portland News. She’s Elevate Oregon Program Manager for Elementary Schools.

Early participants in the event are the skeletal Ransonet family, with their princess.

Candy flies from the hands of donors – scooped up by the passing crowd.

“As you know, they used to do this over at the high school, and then they stopped,” Braxton-Williams said. “I just decided to pick it back up.”

They were expecting about 1,200 people to show up; but from the number of excited kids and parents that were already lined up on the sidewalk from the parking lot entrance back to NE Shaver Street and down the block, it was clear that they’d attracted a lot more folks than they’d imagined.

Working at the popcorn stand is the donor, Samuel Hampson from Miller Paint, helped out by Parkrose High School Student volunteer Xavier Cardenas.

An additional feature of the day is selecting free Hallowe’en costumes.

“We, at Elevate Oregon, just want to show unity,” commented Braxton-Williams. “Elevate Oregon is a nonprofit organization serving youth in marginalized communities; we’re supporting students in the Parkrose neighborhood.

“This helps us fulfill the mission of our organization – we build relationships, and change lives,” Braxton-Williams said. “The best part of this for me is seeing everybody smile!

“I feel like if we do stuff in the community, it’ll be a better place,” concluded Braxton-Williams.

“Madame Zaltana” predicts the future for a guest: “I see you’ll be having a very good time this afternoon,” she says with assurance.

© David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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