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Families get into Halloween spirit during Community Trick-or-Treat Tailgate

Halloween came early for those donning costumes Saturday, Oct. 28 during the Welcome Place Preschool’s annual Community Trick-or-Treat Tailgate. Welcome Place Preschool is the preschool at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church.

“It’s been so fun to do this over the years,” said Jamie Knutson, the director and a teacher for Welcome Place Preschool. “It started out small, and every year we’ve gotten bigger. It’s a nice, safe time for the families.”

Children and families were encouraged to wear costumes during the event. It went on to provide parents an opportunity to get into the Halloween spirit through the car-decorating contest, with prizes awarded to first, second and third place. There were no guidelines to follow when setting up one’s vehicle, though event organizers wanted to make sure they didn’t look too scary.

“It gets the parents [involved], too,” Knutson said. “[It’s wonderful to see] just how creative people are with their trunks. It’s been very fun to see. “

Kim Koch watched her daughter, Kourtney, completed some crafts and tended to her son, Leo, who sat in a stroller.

“The little crafts that they have for the kids is adorable,” Kim said. “It gets [the kids] really excited.”

This year was the Koch’s first time attending the Community Trick-or-Treat Tailgate.

“I love that everybody’s into [costumes,]” she said. “It’s really fun.”

The Community Trick-or-Treat Tailgate tends to draw in people who come back year after year, Knutson said.

“I’ve had students that have come back that are in eighth-grade now, and they’ll come back, and they’ll help run games,” she said.

Knutson said the preschool had a number of helpful volunteers to make the event possible this year.

“Our parents help, [and] people from the church help,” she said.

Elisabeth Kaplan worked on crafts with her 6-year-old daughter, Ella.

“We planned it about a couple weeks ago, and we found out about it,” Elisabeth said. “[Ella’s] been waiting for a long time to come and celebrate.”

Ella donned a gown just like Belle from Disney’s “Beauty and Beasty.” She said her favorite part of the Community Trick-or-Treat Tailgate was trick-or-treating.

“[I] just like being able to be with the family, be with the community, celebrate Halloween and get dressed up,” Elisabeth said. “It’s nice to have the [trick-or-treating] outside, but then it’s so cold during the holiday, so to come in have the crafts [is nice.]”

Decked out as a zombie, Sara Lazzara and her family all dressed up for this year’s Community Trick-or-Treat Tailgate. The Homer Glen woman’s husband became a werewolf, and her daughter went as a witch.

“We just wanted to have a good time,” Lazzara said.

Lazzara said she is glad she and her family dropped in.

“[My daughter] has been waiting to celebrate, so this gave her an extra day to be able to dress up and have a good time with her friends,” she said.

The occasion served as a great way to bring the family together, Lazzara said.

“My niece came, [and] my sister came,” she said. “Everybody was here. We had a great time. We did it last year, and we’ll be here next year.”