In rural Gibbs Woods, a fun, spooky start to a trunk or treat tradition

Natalie Prescott, 6, dressed as a scarecrow, trunk-or-treats at the Mary Richardson Community Building in Gibbs Woods, N.C. With her is Linda Prescott and Chris Prescott, Natalie’s father, who has his arm around Dora. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

GIBBS WOODS, N.C. — Trunk or treating, growing in popularity in a variety of places, also is a Halloween solution for communities in which neighbors are spread out and sidewalks scarce.

Gibbs Woods fits that bill.

The rural community, just south of Blackwater in Virginia Beach, is divided from the rest of Currituck County, N.C., by water. Though postal addresses suggest otherwise, it’s even more divided from Knotts Island to the east.

Locals say they sometimes avail themselves to Halloween festivities in nearby North Carolina and Virginia communities.

But Gibbs Woods families, friends and neighbors joined together at the Mary Richardson Community Building on East Gibbs Road this year for their own spooky fun. 

The building is a Gibbs Woods hub for yard sales, dinners, even voting.

“They’ve done a bunch of stuff out here,” said Chris Prescott, who brought his family to the Halloween gathering.

And now there is this.

Jessie Ward organized the trunk or treat gathering on Saturday, Oct. 27. Dozens of locals showed up to visit decorated automobile trunks, golf carts and pickup beds. Even a hayride from a nearby party, a tractor lugging a load of kids and parents, stopped by.

Ward said members of the community are trying to increase the number of events here, many of them tied to holidays.

Among the reasons offered by her daughter, 7-year-old Hailey Ward, dressed as a unicorn: “It’s fun.”

But there’s more to it.

“I want the community to be closer,” Jessie Ward said, adding that events such as this reinforce the sense that Gibbs Woods neighbors are there for each other. They create more activities for young people, too.

“I want the kids to look back and say, ‘We used to be able to go there and have so much fun,” Ward said.

She’s already thinking about how to make next year bigger and better.

“Usually, we go to Blackwater,” said Amanda Spahn, who attended with her family, James Sorey and Hailee Sorey, who is 6.

“People are always saying, ‘How can you drive 20 miles everywhere?’” Spahn said, but she appreciates the sense of community.

“These are my neighbors,” she added.

Hailee was dressed in the garb of “The Day of the Dead,” including a skirt made by Mom, who also did her makeup. 

She asked her mother whether she could make another loop around the lot, and a partner in candy-hunting backed up Hailee’s plan.

“You’re allowed to go two times,” offered Natalie Prescott, 6, dressed as a scarecrow. “I went three times.”

They headed off to a nearby trunk.

“I think they probably went five times,” Spahn said later. “They had a great time.”

Hailee Sorey, 6, in costume during the trunk or treat gathering in Gibbs Woods. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

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