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West Valley City Journal

Superheroes hand out Halloween treats at Make-A-Wish event

Nov 08, 2023 10:02AM ● By Tom Haraldsen

The dancing pirates from the Grassroots Group entertained and handed out candy at the event. (Tom Haraldsen/City Journals)

For a couple hundred children and their families, Halloween came early on Oct. 25 when Make-A-Wish Utah hosted a Trunk or Treat event in the parking lot of the Maverik Center.

Despite the windy conditions, volunteers and corporate partners worked with MAWU to set up 20 stations, each staffed by colorful—and in some cases scary—characters who teamed to hand out about 2,000 pounds of candy. And the kids and their families didn’t have to leave their cars.

“This was our fourth year of partnering with the Maverik Center for this event, and it really speaks to the heart of our mission,” said Summer Erhmann, director of development for MAWU. “We’re here to grant wishes for children with serious illnesses, and who doesn’t love watching the smile on a child’s face on Halloween?”

The theme was superheroes, and all the usual suspects were in place from Spiderman to Batman to Pirates of the Caribbean characters, as well as local heroes from the West Valley City Fire and Police departments. The children and their parents were delighted by up-close and personal visits with some of their favorite characters, all while getting a booty of Halloween goodies.

“Most of our partners begin planning their costumes in mid-August, when we send the invitations out,” Ehrmann said. “This is a good way to show these children and their families that we’re all part of a community that cares.”

She said there are currently 257 Utah kids still waiting for a wish of theirs to come true. The Trunk or Treat event helps offer something to the wishers in the meantime. Ehrmann said MAWU “casts a wide net for those we serve. Everyone loves this Halloween event.”

The main sponsor was the Maverik family of convenience stores and gas stations. One other popular support group was the Grassroots Giving organization from Utah County. They provided the dancing pirates and buccaneers who delighted the children with their dancing.  

“We love coming out to these types of events, just giving of ourselves and our personalities to bring smiles and laughter to others,” said one of the pirates, who wished to keep his name private. “Make-A-Wish is such a great organization, and we’re honored to be invited to this. I think all of us felt like we were the ones getting the treats more than giving them.”

Other sponsors and participants included Mondi, Sizzling Platter, Chartway, Pesci Financial, Beddy’s, Destinations, Complete Recovery, Strong Auto, Alpine Garrison, Wish Upon a Party, Walker Edison, Jersey Mike’s, America First Credit Union, iHeart Radio, Crimson Collective and Balloon Bonanza.

“I liked the dancing pirates the best,” said Jacob, who rode in the backseat of his parent’s SUV. “They were funny and they danced really well.”

“This is such a fun way for children to enjoy trick or treating in a safe way,” said one father who accompanied his daughter to the event. “Everything about this was great. It was in the daytime, the actors handing out the candy were great with the kids, and it was nice to keep everyone out of the wind—which got cold at times.”

MAWU is already planning next year’s event, hoping this tradition will continue as long as there’s a need and a want to bring children happiness. λ