Trick-or-Treating, Staying Home, and the Value of a Neighborhood

obi-wan-kenobi-01-largeLast night I walked through my neighborhood with two Jedi knights. Yes, my boys both dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Halloween, and their light sabers protected my family as we trudged through the streets of our tract, visiting with neighbors, and of course collecting and passing out candy. 

Halloween can be a fun and bonding time for a community, but when it comes to trends I see in society, I’ll admit I feel concerned that traditional trick-or-treating is seeming to be outsourced to other local venues instead of experienced in the local neighborhood.

It’s become very popular in recent years for families to enjoy Halloween outside of a neighborhood setting. For one reason or another, people will travel to a big Halloween event at the local mall, enjoy a “Harvest Festival” at a church down the street, or find something else to do on the evening of the 31st besides spending time in the neighborhood. 

179Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying households should feel ashamed for leaving the neighborhood for one night. There is absolutely a place for a Halloween party elsewhere, a dinner with friends, and other fun and festive events. All I’m saying is it’s worth reflection to consider the outcome of the dynamic we’re seeing – residents being less involved in neighborhood life and kids going elsewhere to celebrate Halloween.

When we begin to replace traditional neighborhood events with other things outside of the neighborhood, or we get too busy or un-inspired to participate in community life, our neighborhoods begin to suffer. A sense of community in a neighborhood is about all the little things – waving to residents, talking to neighbors, watching out for crime, and even things like passing out candy. 

What do you think it would do for your community if more residents kept their lights on and passed out candy next year? Why do you think third-party Halloween events hosted outside of the neighborhood have become so popular in the past few decades? Feel free to share your thoughts. Trick-or-Treating, Staying Home, and the Value of a Neighborhood


  1. Sac Ryan says

    For the record, I’m proud of the way many residents in my neighborhood were available for kids on Halloween. My kids were very happy with the candy they received, and I think it was a great time of community building for them to visit with so many other residents.

  2. Nancy says

    Yes, Ryan, I agree with the value of a sense of community for Halloween. I’ve got fond memories of going out as a kid, as well as when my kids went out, and now my grandkids. There is something to be said about the personal touch when a child goes to a neighbor’s house all dressed up and the neighbor “recognizes” him/her. It’s part of the experience that may be lost at one of the venues. However, in our community, the venue driven celebration is necessary. We have no street lights and homes are not close enough together. Our community gathering is a close knit one, and may be the exception to the rule. From reports that I’ve heard from several friends/family, many homes are opting for the “no porch light” route. I’m with you, hoping that we all rise to the occasion and keep those porch lights on!! The kids will be the one to benefit……and I think that us grown-ups will be blessed in the process too. 🙂

    • Sac Ryan says

      Great thoughts. It sounds like your community is indeed the exception to the rule. An event outside of the neighborhood would make really good sense in your instance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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