Churches offer Halloween fun without fear

SNOHOMISH – This Halloween, the Snohomish High School gym was transformed into a place of joy for 1,700 children, parents, and probably a few dentists.

Hundreds of pounds of candy; roughly 18 large garbage cans full of sweet-tooth euphoria. 20 carnival style games. Nine giant inflatables.

If you do the math, the Snohomish Children’s Carnival equals one big night of family fun.

“We’ve only been doing this for three years and it’s already a Snohomish tradition,” Shawn Wilkerson said. “Kids are already looking toward next year, even my son is eager to play a certain game he missed out on this year. And it’s the same with the parents. This is something that everyone looks forward to.”

Wilkerson, an associate pastor at Snohomish Faith Assembly, has been organizing the event since its inception three years ago. The carnival started out as a church harvest festival, but recognized that the church and the people in the community had a larger need.

“There is only so much an individual church can do, and there is so much that needs to be done that can only be accomplished when the churches stop acting individually and act as one,” Wilkerson said. “So the model is to pool resources, coordinate and try to make as big an impact on the community as possible. And right now, that’s the Snohomish Children’s Carnival.”

Even though there are still Smarties and candy corn that have yet to be eaten from this Halloween, Snohomish churches are already planning for next year. Participation is open to any and all churches in the community; the only requirements being to bring along two 30-gallon trash cans of candy, 10 volunteers and two carnival style games.

“For a church, joining is a no-brainer because it is such a huge win for everyone,” Wilkerson said. “It’s a win because everyone is doing something bigger than themselves. It’s an opportunity to show the community that we are here for them and that we can come together.”

What makes the carnival such a huge draw, besides the obvious heavy doses of sugar? For kids, it’s candy, candy, and yet more candy. For parents, it’s a safe Halloween night for their children.

“You are in a single location, not walking on the street at night and worried about traffic,” Wilkerson said. “Coming here is safer than sometimes going door-to-door.”

Wilkerson says all 200 carnival volunteers have received background checks. The gym itself is patrolled by security with its own dedicated communication system, and the candy is checked for tampering.

“The idea is to create a place where parents can come and let their children eat candy and play,” Wilkerson said. “But also make a place where parents can feel safe with their kids.”

Reporter Justin Arnold: 425-339-3432 or

To learn more

For more information on the Snohomish Children’s Carnival or to learn how to volunteer, call 360-568-5100.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Sherman Pruitt 2020
Edmonds mayor picks Sherman Pruitt to be next police chief

He currently serves as chief of police for the Sauk-Suiattle Police Department near Darrington.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Jail employee charged in drug smuggling

Alexis Wafstet was charged with drug possession. Several inmates were allegedly in on the plot.

Linda Redmon
Snohomish council leader announces early for mayor campaign

City Councilmember Linda Redmon is the first to file in the race. Mayor John Kartak has not said if he will run again.

Break on surface water fee means less money for environment

The Snohomish County Council voted to nix an annual fee increase that funds preservation work.

Pair of Nikes leads to bank robbery arrest in south Everett

The suspect allegedly took $1,000 in cash from a KeyBank. He was found a few blocks away.

Man, 80, who died in hit-and-run near Lynnwood identified

Jung K. Moon was on the sidewalk when he was struck by a pickup truck. The driver has been arrested.

Deputies: Armed man dressed as cop attacks man near Everett

The suspect allegedly wore police badges and aimed a gun at a man after pushing him to the ground.

Sarah Calvo pours icing on to a cinnamon roll at the Maltby Cafe while Kylie King checks take out orders on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 in Maltby, Washington. A GoFundMe fundraising page continues to grow, raising more than $80,000 from 1,200 people in just a few days. Owners Tana Baumler and Sandra Albright thought they were going to closed before the website donations made them pause their decision. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Miracle in Maltby: Community support saves small-town cafe

Owners of the Maltby Cafe feared closure, but a wave of business and donations has thwarted the end.

16,000 fentanyl pills, pounds of meth, heroin seized in bust

Eight suspects were indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle, including five from Snohomish County.

Most Read