The 13th annual Philomath Trunk of Treat event will run from 3-5 p.m. on Halloween at Philomath Museum and on Main Street between 12th and 17th streets. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The downtown area may seem congested with the ongoing streetscapes project but it won’t stop the Philomath Area Chamber of Commerce from spotlighting its businesses and handing out candy to costumed cuties for the 13th annual Trunk or Treat.

The fun runs from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Philomath Museum and Main Street businesses between 12th and 17th streets. There is no admission and will be held rain or shine. The museum will be open during the event, which includes the use of restrooms.

“We’ve got quite a few businesses that are excited about it and the fact that we can still allow people to trick-or-treat,” said Chelle Krantz, chamber executive director. “I don’t want to rob the businesses of that … they enjoy it just as much as the kids do.”

Trunk or Treat dates back to 2011 when it was established by the now-defunct Philomath Downtown Association. The chamber took it over in 2015. For folks who have gone in past years, a different set-up will be obvious. Businesses handing out candy from their trunks will be set up in the Philomath Museum loop and not parked along Main Street. 

“It keeps the kids kind of confined to one space, especially for the littles,” Krantz said. “It’s the bigger kids, I think, that enjoy walking up and down the street more than the little kids do.”

Alyssa Lewis, longtime chamber board president, said the move came down to being as safe as possible with an event that draws hundreds of children.

“Our ultimate concern was safety for the kids and parents and also the participants,” Lewis said.

The chamber felt it needed to come up with a solid plan for the event based on the unpredictable nature of the streetscapes construction project.

“We had a few discussions about it and part of it was with ODOT, their schedule keeps changing, it’s constantly evolving … it’s just how construction works,” Krantz said.

Originally, Main Street was going to be more torn up so the chamber decided to move everything to the museum. However, the construction schedule changed so now, businesses along Main Street from 12th to 17th streets will be able to hand out candy.

“It’s important that the parents feel safe knowing that we’re going to have crossing guards at the intersections so if their kids are going unattended, they know they are not just going to be allowed to zip across the streets,” Krantz said.

From a business perspective, Trunk or Treat provides an opportunity to become more visible to the community.

“I know for myself, if I’m coming into town, it’s for a particular reason and I think a lot of people kind of get into that mentality,” Lewis said. “So by having these events and focusing on the downtown area, it really draws attention to those businesses that maybe wouldn’t necessarily have someone think, ‘oh, I should go in there and take a look at what they do.’ This gives them an opportunity to actually go inside the business and see what the business can provide to them.”

Lewis said the businesses are always the main focus when the chamber puts on special events like Trunk or Treat.

“That’s what the chamber is — we want to grow the economy, we want our businesses to do well and we want them to stay,” Lewis said. “The more that we can showcase them and have individuals see what they can do and what they can provide to the community is amazing.”

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.