When we moved into our current neighborhood, it was just us. My husband and I, in our 20s, simply eager to get out of our one-bedroom apartment and move on to a house with more than two total closets and an actual yard. We weren’t even close to having children yet and there were many things we didn’t consider when deciding which neighborhood to buy a house in. The trick-or-treating climate for our future offspring was one of those things, and that’s how we ended up as neighborhood hoppers on Halloween.
It’s something that I never thought was a big deal — until hearing from the Internet that it is. We have always trick-or-treated in other neighborhoods and thought nothing of it.
We live in a nice area. It’s safe and the houses are close together. On the surface, it seems an ideal place for trick-or-treating. In the week leading up to our first Halloween here, I mentioned to my husband that I was looking forward to a busy Halloween night, having grown up in a very rural area where no one ever came to our house for candy. I occupied myself decorating the house and bought a ton of candy to prepare for the onslaught of kids in costume.
And an onslaught it was. The town we moved to was so much bigger than the one I grew up in. Coupled with the aforementioned very-close-together houses, it seemed our neighborhood was ideal for trick-or-treating. Possibly too ideal. There was an endless stream of children starting around 6 p.m. Despite having spent $75 on candy and being relatively stingy once we saw how many kids were trooping through our hood, we ran out in under an hour and had to shut off our lights. As the night went on, the real fun kicked in. And by fun, I mean not fun at all.
The teenagers were everywhere after 8 p.m. They weren’t doing anything illegal, but they were loud and obnoxious. The streets were empty of little ones, and the shaving cream was rampant.
And silly string.
I wasn’t afraid for anyone’s safety, but it was certainly not the best situation for little kids to be around. I made mental notes and kept peeking out the window, making sure our house wasn’t a victim.
That was when I decided we would probably never take our kids trick or treating in our own neighborhood as long as they were small. It was too busy, and I was scared they would be trampled or that we would have to fight our way to every doorstep. It didn’t seem ideal for kids under six. It worked out well that a mom friend I made very early on in my motherhood journey lived in an extremely walkable and far less busy neighborhood. Once our kids were old enough to trick-or-treat, we started going with them near their house, and we’ve been doing it ever since. For whatever reason, there are far fewer kids buzzing around, and it is much easier on everyone.
Now, we do typically leave one of us at home to hand out candy. We aren’t scrooges, and we don’t want to be bad neighbors. However, our house may be dark this year as our daughter is 8 years old and we both realize our days of getting to go with her are dwindling. In a short few years, she will want to go without us, and we will let her. For now, neither of us wants to miss out. We figure that once our kids are older and on their own, we will dump loads of candy into other kids’ treat bags. We see it as paying it forward and are happy to do our share once we are done being parents of very young children.
Judge away. We abandon our neighborhood for Halloween every year and probably will continue to do so for at least a few more years. It’s what works best for us, and I see nothing wrong with it.