Last 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.
Don’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.
www.SacramentoAppraisalBlog.com Trick-or-Treating, Staying Home, and the Value of a Neighborhood