Youth pick up candy bags as cars roll by during the daytime Halloween cruise in King City. (Sean Roney/Staff)

KING CITY — Halloween festivities were plentiful this year in King City, ranging from community-organized cruises to a city-planned Trunk-or-Treat at Salinas Valley Fairgrounds, in addition to virtual house decorating and costume contests for residents to get in the spooky spirit.

An estimated 14 cars came to the fairgrounds with decorations ready for the city’s third annual Trunk-or-Treat, this year being altered in format to a drive-thru due to Covid-19 safety concerns.

A total of 700 bags of candy were handed out to area youth who showed up, which exceeded expectations and past years.

“The Fairgrounds parking lot was backed up at times, as was Division Street in both directions, and we estimate maybe 400 cars came through,” said Andrea Wasson, recreation coordinator for King City. “In years past when we’ve hosted the traditional Trunk-or-Treat, we had over 500 children attend.”

To remain safe, children remained in their cars with their families rather than get out and tour the decorated trunks. The trunks were socially distanced and cars were controlled to move through without a crowd forming.

“Everyone had good things to say and was very appreciative that we could put on an event and still follow the county’s guidelines,” Wasson said. “Our families need activities and friends and we are happy to be able to provide something fun to do. It was wonderful to see all the kids in their costumes, and we are already planning for next year.”

Numerous groups came together to make the Trunk-or-Treat a possibility, including the donation of 200 pumpkins by King City Rural 4-H and bicycles for a raffle from King City Police Department. Volunteers also donated their time, from assembling candy bags to directing traffic and organizing the event.

Two cruises were also organized within the city, with an afternoon cruise taking a planned route with decorated cars throwing out candy to youth who waited for the procession at areas where they could safely distance. The evening cruise was a way for the decorating contest judges to drive around and view decorations.

Five decorated cars showed up for the daytime cruise to kick off Halloween in the city. They used the Independence Day Cruise map with some modifications to get to parks and lots where youth could wait to watch the cars and receive candy without forming packed crowds.

“We saw lots of families out at the parks dressed in their costumes and big smiles on their faces. It was a great turnout,” said Elaine Rosales, the cruise organizer.

The candy tossed out to children during the cruise was bagged with Covid-19 safety in mind. Those throwing the candy wore masks and gloves.

“With the new normal, it’s important to find new ways to still keep holidays alive, fun and safe for the community,” Rosales said. “We are able to do that with the drives we are putting on. It’s great to have the community together and working together to come up with solutions, and sometimes it requires some great thinking outside the box.”

Rosales said the community members she spoke to were thankful for the cruises and asked to make it a tradition in town.

“We know now that we have the best community support ever and will continue the holiday drives and cruises as long as we have the continued help and support from our great King City community,” Rosales said. “It’s all about keeping it positive, fun and safe for all.”

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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