Tuesday, November 09, 2010

More Of Your Halloween

First off, I received additional costume data from Washington and Iowa that put us well over 600 costumes. Next year, we break 1,000.

Halloween in the UK has turned somewhat ugly, apparently (thanks to Miles Osborne for the links). First, a Hampshire Constabulary posting, and here's an excerpt:
If you do not want to be disturbed by trick or treaters this Halloween, download and print out a copy of the 'No Trick Or Treat' poster to display by your front door.

Every year Hampshire Constabulary’s force control room receives calls from people who have been frightened or disturbed by trick or treaters in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

...Local shops are also displaying posters, reminding shoppers that eggs or flour will not be sold to under 18s in the days leading up to Saturday, October 31.

Then, from Dorset:
Halloween can be a busy time of the year for Dorset Police, and to ensure that residents and visitors are kept safe and feel safe, Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be carrying out extra patrols.

Lots of people like to dress up and have fun on Halloween, but for some members of our community it can be quite a distressing time.

It is important that trick or treaters appreciate that some people – particularly vulnerable members of our community – may be scared or intimidated by groups of trick or treaters knocking on their doors.

If residents do not want to answer their doors, then the trick or treaters should respect this and move on. All residents have the right to say no to trick or treaters.

You can download a poster from this webpage that informs trick or treaters that you do not want any calls from them. Simply print this poster out and display it on a door or window over the Halloween period.


Next, better news from Scott Hillis:
I think you might be trapped in a local circular eddy of stagnant Halloween sentiment. Where I live, in Lynnwood, WA (about 15 miles north of Seattle), my 8.11-year-old son went out with the neighborhood kids for nearly two hours, and we ran across dozens and dozens of other kids within a couple block radius. I ran into a nearby father who said he had just dropped off his oldest son at a friend's neighborhood about a mile away and he said there had to be 200 kids on the streets there. A few years ago, I lived in Albany, CA (just north of Berkeley) and there were tons of kids out for hours on end.

As for candy, this year my son collected probably 10-15 pounds of candy, with a final tally of close to 300 pieces of loot. It was pretty disgusting. There were several houses where I could hear the occupant telling the kids, "Go ahead, take a handful!" or, "That's it? C'mon, take some more!"

10-15 pounds. That's respectable.

From Greg A.:
I'm from a small town in British Columbia, Canada, population ~10,000.

I live in a crescent of newer houses; we seem to get quite a few more kids than other neighbourhoods, probably because it's quick and easy to walk the outside and then the inside of the crescent and come away with a big pile 'o goods.

We had 140 kids this year, about the same as last year. That's triple my parents total (they're only 2 blocks away, also a nice neighbourhood) and 10 times my grandparents (older neighbourhood, beautiful location).

Adam W. sent in this slightly disturbing note:
Another data point, this year was the first year we have ever seen an un-costumed adult trick or treat. Used a large black plastic garbage bag to collect candy also.

I'm stoning the grown-up. No soup for you.

Next, from David:
I am struck by how different my experience has been this year (with some caveats) to your other stories. We live just outside a middle sized city (25kish) in middle TN, so we don't get any Treaters at all, but we drive 15 miles to go to church in Monterey, TN (population: 3,000, elevation: 1900ft). There are 4 churches there in Monterey all in a row just off the main drag (2 stoplights!). Each year at Halloween they all set up cars with decorated trunks and give out candy. The Baptist church at the end of the row sets up games in their parking lot and serves free chili and hotdogs. There are also about 5 residences on this road, all of which were decorated and giving out candy.

We carved two pumpkins to go with our trunk decorations (and fog machine!), and all 5 adults with me dressed up (Monk, Cat, Rock Star, Wolverine, and Abby from NCIS). Daughter 3.5 (Curious George) and Son 0.3 (Bumble Bee) as well.

There must have been 500+ kids (that's just counting kids). We got there a little late (5:30ish) and gave out 5 bags of candy. We were turning folks away at 8 and left at 8:30.

Almost all the children (15 and under) wore costumes, and many of the adults as well.

Chili? On Halloween? Ladle that right into the plastic pumpkin, please.

Rob Cigan sent in a terrific and poignant story:
When I was younger, around 9-12, I used to go trick or treating with a group of friends. The costumes didn't matter as much to us, we were just thrilled to get to run around at night yelling and having fun and collecting candy. We used to take 3 average sized pillow cases and generally fill up two, and always be disappointed we didn't get three full each. We'd complain about it, and remember the glory years of "last year, or the year before" when we easily pulled in three pillow cases worth (even though it never happened). We used to TP houses as we got older and get into more trouble but it was still just about having fun as kids together at night. I don't think we all grasped why it was fun, but looking back, it was the unity of it. The bonding done at a time when we were all usually indoors, awaiting the next school day. Did I mention collecting candy? That was the sweetest bonus.

We had a friend with a November 1st birthday, so we'd all sleep over at his house Halloween night. As we got a little older, we used to play a game we devised with cap guns and full maps and boundaries, in which we'd split up into two teams and hunt each other down. Couple of hours of trick or treating from about 6-8, then when the sun went down, the war was on. We'd sneak in the shadows, communicate over impressively powerful walkie talkie units, all while the neighborhood trick-or-treaters acted as unknowing decoys. Afterward we'd all crash off of our sugar highs playing video games in a basement. His parents wouldn't allow all the bags downstairs while we slept, and for good reason, so naturally we sent the two most ninja-silent of us upstairs with flashlights to locate and obtain pocket fulls of goodies. We'd get completely buzzed and crash, spending the next day cramming our faces with more and gaming all day long.

These days we hardly draw any doorbell rings anymore. Granted one of the reasons I think is that we're slightly out of the way, in a corner off of a road no one walks across much, we naturally don't get many people on average but this year was especially low. As I'd mentioned earlier, there are so many other options and I do believe as someone else pointed out, that in time, the idea of ringing a stranger's doorbell and expecting candy, will be as foreign to children as home phones, pagers and arcades.

It's an odd concept, that trick-or-treating might not exist someday.

Finally, from Tim Jones:
We live in Olympia, WA in a newer neighborhood, as most of the houses are newer than three years old.

In the newer neighborhoods around here most of houses are very close together(as in 20 ft between sides). There is a main street Balistrade that runs straight through the middle. The total neighborhood has around 600 homes. Even before it gets dark around 5:30 the kids start coming. There are hundreds of people out on the streets by dark. You wouldn’t believe it unless you see it. There are groups of sometimes 10 kids together. It’s crazy and they even have police patrols.

Me and my six year old went out for about 1:45 and we filled up one of the little size pumpkins and she was done. On the main street we even had to wait in line to get up to a couple of cool decorated houses.

That's a wrap on Halloween for this year. Thanks very much for the costume tabulation and the excellent stories.

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