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Halloween: stay in your 'hood or commute to another?

On our neighborhood yahoo-group, I recently asked the question: "how many trick-or-treaters should we plan for?"  As I am one year new to this neighborhood, I didn't want to be left with a million bags of extra Twix (what will YOU give out this year?).  Goodness knows I still have a few baskets of candy from last year.

Schools might ban costumes, but many families will still head out into the night to enjoy the fright of the ghouls and gobblins begging for candy.  A neighborhood long-timer emailed: "do your kids a favor, take them to the other nearby neighborhoods to enjoy the decorations and sights!"  Last year, our first in our new neighborhood, indeed we went out-of-bounds.  We went to the neighborhood about a mile away (maybe less), which is well-known to be the place to go for any holiday.  Every single home on that street invests countless hours of planning and concocting the most elaborate displays.  Many, many families commute to that area to gawk.  Lines from the front door trail to the street, just to see first-hand the great work of those residents.  It was stressful.

To me?  The crowds are not worth it.  What's wrong with our own neighborhood?  So what if our houses aren't as big or decked out?  Residents who have been around for a few years say: "no one has come by in the past three years" or "a bowl of my jumbo Snickers were untouched all night".

There's still something to be said for staying in your own neighborhood, though, right?  In the name of getting to know others, in the name of community building, in the name of building momentum?

I just asked the kids, "Do you want to stay in our neighborhood to trick or treat this year?"  They didn't respond right away.  They thought hard about it, but they ended up saying: "No."

Your take?


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I am all for staying local. Driving somewhere seems ludicrous to me! I am new to our suburban neighborhood and hoping for a better atmosphere than we got in nopo. I also hope to meet some neighbors on our trek.

We are new to our hood, and we've given the kids a choice whether to go to our old neighborhood to hang with their old friends, or to stay local. They chose to stay local. I am excited, as I hear it's a fun time in this neighborhood.

As an aside - to the question about what you are giving out... I never ask for people to accommodate my food allergic kid, but it's always nice when there are a few pieces of something non chocolate in your bowls... smarties, starbursts, skittles, laffy taffy, dum dums, nerds... all ok for kids with allergies to peanut, treenut, egg, gluten and dairy.

And again, my kid never expects to find something safe for her. We trade a few pieces from our stash and then donate the rest. But she does love the festivities on halloween and is always giggly and surprised when she comes across something safe for her allergies.

We have always gone to my sister's suburban neighborhood that reminds me of the good old days (picture the movie ET). Big crowds of kids, parents strolling along, most of the houses decked out with decorations and friendly people at the door, and great street lights. This year we moved to NW and I'm tempted to stay close, but we're still on the fence. The streets are not as well lit and I can foresee an urban snobbery towards Halloween down here. I guess it's all about how a family likes their holidays (busy, quiet, over the top). And we really like sticking with traditions when they are good ones.

I'm in the Sw hills. On a hill, on a dead end. I put out my best decorations , have a bowl full of candy and maybe four trick or treaters come all night long. Most of the kids walk down to a subdivision that is flat. The moms there know to buy enough for a hundred kids.

A few mamas and I are trying to start a revolution in Woodlawn. We knocked on all neighbors doors from 13th to 22nd on Rosa Parks, and urged them to leave the porch light on for Halloween--and decorate! Almost all were thrilled that we pledged to bring more kids than usual. We mamas have six, collectively--with three not even in pre-school--and that's more than the neighbors usually see. We're also flyering in greater Woodlawn to encourage kids to hit this strip (spread the word!!). It makes me so sad to think of our kids trekking to other (wealthier) neighborhoods. Hopefully we can turn it around for our kiddos!

Even in Woodlawn, that's a bit of a trek for us (we are at 7th and a block off of Rosa). Hard to justify the extra hike when we can get candy enough on our own section of Rosa and surrounds. Why not extend in each direction, so everyone can be close to part of it?

I love the Woodlawn movement! We are down in Piedmont and have always stayed local. Each year we see more kids on the streets, neighbors giving out treats, and love running into friends on our way. I wish I could make it up to your section but I'm with you all in spirit!

@Spottie - rallying the neighbors from 13th to 22nd is about all the four of us could bite off this year. :) I hope it's a small spark that extends next year. But first, we have to make this successful, so we can build on it!

I hope your street is excellent. If it's a little quiet, we'd love to see you. 13th is just five or so blocks away; maybe trick-or-treat in that direction, and see how far you get?

@Amy: YAYYY!! What a wonderful positive step, and happy-making for everyone, too (kids, homeowners, etc)

We stay local, period, for going out. But, after the locals have hit us up (we know they're local because we recognize the parents and neighbors, who wave and shout hello to us or refer to our kids' costumes; we're talking about a three-block radius of families), and after a lull, there's a second wave of people in cars at about 10pm. I can't imagine our fairly run-of-the-mill block is all that exciting; in fact, most of the kids seem bored beyond belief and don't say anything but "hey" and "thanks". Adults ask for candy, too (the ones not idling the car in the middle of the street). I have no clue about these families. Usually I get grumpy around 10:30, because the knocks wake our kids. We extinguish the candles, turn off lights, ignore the knocking, etc., and still they come, usually until 11pm. Once in a while curiosity will get the better of me and I'll peek and see the (rare) small child looking up hopefully at our house...I'm a softie...those knocks I answer :)

We've done it both ways but in recent years preferred to stay local even though our n'hood (King) is hit and miss. Sometimes we only knock on one house per block. But the chance to actually knock on neighbors' houses--something that is just hardly ever done anymore!--I don't like to pass up. Also, in the crowded/busy n'hoods kids are practically waiting in line at doorsteps and that is no fun, to me at least.

The safety factor of tons of people driving around while kids are out walking is enough to make me wish everyone would stay in their area. We stay local anyway because I like the chance to meet our neighbors, and my daughter is small enough that a few houses on each block and a few blocks before we get tired is more than enough candy.

I've done both. I've lived in areas where there were not many people who participated in Halloween and so drove to a different area or gone to another area so that my child could trick or treat with close friends who didn't live in our neighborhood and have lived in places where trick or treating was popular and so got to stay in the neighborhood.

We've lived in Woodlawn for 9 years and always stick around here. The kids have to walk a bit more for their stash, but that is part of the pay off. We'll make our way toward 13th and Rosa Parks this year. Thanks Amy!

Trick or treating in Ladd's Addition is magical!

I do not see the value in driving somewhere to then walk around and get candy. Not a ton of people participate on our street/neighborhood, but my kid enjoys hanging out with his neighbor friend and hitting a few houses; we see some friends and neighbors and get a few pieces of candy. We then spend time together passing out candy and watching a Halloween video. Multnomah Village (the closest business district to our house) has a great (but very crowded) event on Halloween. And our school has a carnival where kids can dress up. Much prefer participating in anything local and in our neighborhood.

Last year we moved right off of Alameda and was shocked at how many trick or treaters came by! There are not many kids that live in our immediate vicinity, so these kids were obviously transports. I loved having them so it works great for us. It will make for an easy decision when my daughter is old enough to go out.

"I do not see the value in driving somewhere to then walk around and get candy."

Obviously, you've never lived in graduate student housing in a college ghetto.

We've done both, each has thier own appeal. While our block does some stuff, it still isn't as elaborate (or fun) as Reed College Drive or Laurelhurst.

I think for a very small kid, your own neighborhood is more than enough. For a bigger kid, it depends. But at 12, my daughter might not even go out this year----unless she's invited to join other friends, like last year.

In any event, it's a fairly "first world problem"---as a kid in NYC, I only trick or treated in my apartment building!

Oh, I totally miss that! Indoor trick or treating, no coats, no rain, full view of costumes and total independence. We lived in a 39 story building, so my friends would often come to my house for trick or treating. We'd ride the elevator up to 39 and work our way down to 5, where I lived, taking candy breaks in the stairwell every few floors. With 15 apartments on each floor, we had more than enough doors to knock on!

@ema - I know, right? Though my building wasn't nearly as big as yours! Then, later, as a teen going to the Village for the parade. NYC in many ways is just the BEST for Holidays (cause Christmas, back in the day...amazing!)

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