October 15, 2012
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."