Fire ravaged Coffey Park improvises with 'Trunk or Treat' Halloween

On Halloween, children in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park didn't have doors to knock on, but still got together to trick or treat.   

Their neighborhood is among those devastated by fire a year ago, but residents didn't let that stop them.  

"The kids are scattered all over Sonoma County, if not even further, " organizer Tricia Woods told KTVU, as cars and trucks lined up for a "trunk and treat" event. 

A year out of the Tubbs fire, there aren't many doorbells to ring in Coffey Park, so vehicles were decorated and laden with candy so children could prowl their old streets.     

During re-building, Woods says, everyone feels split.   

"People keep asking me when I leave work, 'are you going home?'", said the Coffey Strong board member, " but I'm going to my rental, because this is home. Until I'm back here, I'm not home."

By next Halloween, they expect to back in their familiar haunts.  

"It's a cool once in a lifetime thing," said Melissa Geissinger, a fire survivor who noted, the trunk or treat gathering was as much for adults as children.   

"We're living out in Bodega Bay right now, and we don't have a neighborhood really, so we just wanted to be a part of this."  

Last Halloween, many say, is a blur.

The fires happened just three weeks before, and survivors were in shock, barely contemplating first steps, a holiday  overwhelmed by disaster.     

"We finally remembered what we did," survivor Alex Oglesby recalled, " we went trick or treating with some other families, everyone was welcoming us into their community."

Returning to Coffey Park in costume, said Oglesby, was good for her and her children. 
"Even though we lost the house, not all is lost, there's still the community here, there's still people here."

So far, 32 families are in new homes, with another 150 moving in by February.

"After what happened here, life will always be 'before the fire' and 'after the fire', it will never be the same, said Mike Williams, on the porch of his  newly rebuilt home. 

He and his wife Tanya moved in a month ago with their daughter Moana, 8.

Wednesday night, they had Halloween candy in a dish in case anyone knocks, and the outside of their new house was decorated for Halloween, but they admit it's a spooky neighborhood, too quiet at night.  

"You close the blinds and forget there was a wildfire in our neighborhood," said Tanya, " but then when morning comes and you look around, it's oh yeah, it's really sad." 

Mike Williams showed two scorched posts given prominent spots on his new front gate. 

"They were all that's left," he noted, describing how the wooden posts, from his original picket fence, were found after the fire. 

"And I got those two pickets out of the top of the tree that used to stand here, how they got in the tree I don't know." 

That's the essence of moving forward- survivors say- blending the present with the past.
Many remember Coffey Park's Halloween heyday, when they were raising their own children, now grown. 

"We would run out of candy, there would be hundreds of kids," recalled Michelle Poggi, alongside husband Vincent, and an open car trunk full of candy. 

With their new home, will come new memories.   

"We have to make new traditions, reflective of the old ones, but we have to go with new things, because nothing is the same," said Poggi.