Local nonprofit celebrates Halloween with ‘Trunk and Trails’ event supporting survivors of trauma and abuse

Photo illustration of kids trick-or-treating in Halloween costumes and face masks. | Photo by FamVeld, , iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Trick-or-treating will look different this year thanks to COVID-19, but there are ways to stay safe and still have fun hunting for candy. Local nonprofit Trauma Help for Women will host a “Trunk and Trails” scavenger hunt on Saturday to support women who have survived trauma and abuse. 

The hour of fun will begin when participants download the scavenger hunt map, which will lead them to seven locations in St. George where a parked car will be waiting with goodie bags full of candy. At the end of the scavenger hunt, participants can hand in their completed map for an extra prize. The scavenger hunt map includes clues to all seven locations and families must fill in the answers to the clues before they can receive their final prize. Participants must also agree to wear masks the entire time and stay in their vehicles to receive candy. 

“I was talking to my daughter, and I know that her and her friends are kind of bummed because of COVID, and I was like, well hey, other teens might be feeling like this and other families in the community,” Tracy Walker, president and founder of Trauma Help for Women, said. 

From there, Walker thought of the scavenger hunt idea and started asking around at local businesses to see if they would be interested in hosting a trunk-or-treat vehicle in their parking lot. The purpose of the event is to provide a safe, fun and community-oriented Halloween for victims of abuse and their families, according to a news release from Trauma Help for Women.

“All of our events are created to build self-esteem and a sense of community amongst these women,” Walker said in the release. “It is easy to not heal the mind, body and spirit after an escape from a domestic violence situation or as an adult leaving an abusive childhood.” 

Trauma Help for Women has only existed for about as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has. When the country shut down, Walker noticed there weren’t many resources in St. George for victims of trauma. 

“I wanted to give back and I was like, what can I do?” Walker said. “And finally the pandemic hit and everybody was indoors, and I just saw so much stuff happening and I wanted to do something.”

Halloween trunk-or-treat event in a parking lot near 500 W. 400 North, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 31, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Walker has been doing all of her business online, which has been a benefit because it allows her to help people anywhere, she said.

Misty Christmas is a volunteer with Trauma Help for Women who lives in Las Vegas and does all of her training and sessions virtually. She came across the organization a month ago on Facebook and said it’s been more helpful to her than any other support group. 

“It’s really valuable to me in my life because it’s a journey, it’s not linear,” Christmas said. “(Tracy) does it in a very empowering, positive way. She always has a plan. It’s really nice that it’s not just venting because I could do that with my best friend or my therapist.”

When it’s safe to meet in person again, Walker plans to make more face-to-face visits and group sessions. But Christmas said it’s been nice to meet new people over Zoom and get their perspective. It also helps that there is a sense of a shared experience among the women, which is sad, but helpful, Christmas said.

The Trunk and Trails event will lead into the holiday season, which can be a troubling time for trauma survivors. The holidays can bring back painful memories, Walker said, particularly for survivors who can’t spend the holidays with the people they normally would and just want to get out of the house. Because of the pandemic, getting out of the house is no longer as safe as it used to be, which can bring up more anxiety. So having a safe, new way to celebrate is that much more important. 

“Now they don’t have anything that’s safe, and they might be afraid to let their child go door-to-door, so we’re just offering a safe yet more community-friendly way to enjoy this holiday,” Walker said. 

Event details:

  • What: Trunks and Trails Drive-Up Scavenger Hunt.
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 31 from 6-7 p.m.
  • Where: On the corner of 460 N. 2070 East, St. George.
  • For more information contact [email protected].

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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