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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sixth edition of Trunk or Treat an unqualified success again

Two cowboys take on the sights at the Trunk or Treat event of the American Memorial Park on Wednesday last week. (Clarissa V. David) Some 2,500 Halloween revelers put on colorful and elaborate costumes Wednesday night last week for the Annual Trunk or Treat tradition at the American Memorial Park.

Costumed characters visited all the Halloween-decorated trunks, majority of which gave away candies, while others handed out fruits and school stuff.

This is the sixth year that organizers hosted the free trick or treating event, which was also a contest for who had the best decorated trunk based on AMP’s Recyghoul theme.

Park Ranger Susan Fishman-Tudor said the trunk competitors were evaluated by three “impartial” judges based on criteria such as most eco-friendly and Halloween-spirited.

The Division of Environmental Quality took home a dinner gift certificate for four after winning the Best Decorated Trunk award for a giant black spider sitting atop the trunk that was filled with cobwebs and candy decorations. The creature’s body was created out of old trash bags stuffed with used newspapers while the legs were made of rolled up old posters.

Watershed coordinator Kaitlin Mattos said the eight-legged beast was the original idea of staffer Juliana Mendoza, with employees from the Non-Point Source and Marine Monitoring branches helping put together a week’s worth of hard work.

Mattos said the Coral Resource Management Office was their closest contender, but DEQ’s “scary edge” made the agency stand out. The DEQ trunk gave away lollipops and other hard candies to children.

“It wasn’t too scary for the little kids but it was a lot of fun for the older kids that came out here in their costumes and really like to be scared a little bit on Halloween,” she added.

Youngsters and grown-ups alike roamed the AMP parking lot from 4pm to 7pm for the biggest Halloween trick-or-treating event on island, wearing costumes from princesses and cartoon characters to little ghouls and monsters.

At least three concert bands, including Saipan Southern High School’s Manta Ray Band, performed while clad in their Halloween costumes. Several of the trick-or-treaters, meanwhile, watched family-friendly movies or indulged their artistic talents with the arts and crafts activities inside the Visitors Center.

The spooky celebration was also graced by about 60 to 80 flash mob dancers composed of DEQ and CRM teams, Hopwood Jr. High School students, and the “Trash Bin Monster” to boost efforts for the Our Laolao Campaign, which seeks to protect Laolao Bay and keep it litter-free.

DEQ’s Mattos said that even during Halloween, they want to encourage the public to pick up after themselves and take care of the environment while enjoying their treats or wearing their costumes.

While the bulk of Wednesday’s trick-or-treaters were old-timers at the annual event, Trunk or Treat was particularly exciting for first- timers like Elizabeth Cruz, who brought her son Tristan Sablan in a Captain America outfit, nephew Eric Cruz as a white ninja, and 11-year-old brother JBoy Cruz as a Corrections prisoner.

“We wanted to experience this event for the first time and we’re having fun. It’s a great event to have a good Halloween and spend some family time,” said the Dandan resident.

Fifteen cadets of the Saipan Southern High School Manta Ray Battalion and Department of Public Safety staff helped facilitate traffic flow.

Besides DEQ and CRM, other groups that hosted trunks at the event were the Rotary Club of Saipan, Girl Scouts of the NMI, Public School System Headstart Program, 302nd QM Det. 1 and 442nd 100 BN Family Readiness Groups, Transpacific Group, Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration-CNMI, Marriage Encounter, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Compsron Three U.S. Navy, and three residents.

Park Ranger Fishman-Tudor said they are pleased that the annual event had another fantastic turnout and that everything worked out well once again. “We hope to see them all again next year,” she added.

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