What say you about "neighborhood hopping" in regards to trick-or-treating?

I have been neutral on this subject, but this year I helped Dad pass out Halloween candy since Mum’s out of town. My mother is an eminently practical and sensible soul, and allowed enough for the number of kids they’ve gotten in the past. This year, there were more. A lot more. The original plan was to give out one bag of potato chips and one Kit Kat bar per kid. That got changed to either-or. When I was down to one lonely Kit Kat bar, we raided the refrigerator for spare cans of pop. When we got down to one of those, we closed down, shut out the lights, and hoped for the best. A neighbor of theirs who stopped by said she’d noticed the same thing. By the way, this is the first year my parents have run out of candy, and they’ve been living in the same house for over 30 years.

To me, there is a slight difference between going trick or treating with a friend you’re visiting who lives in the neighborhood and visiting a neighborhood solely to trick or treat. If I can channel Ms. Manners for a moment, I’d say what makes the difference is the implication that one’s own neighbors are not good enough for one to associate with. On the other hand, I was a mercenary child with mercenary siblings who grew up in a great neighborhood for trick or treating and who knew exactly which houses had the best and worst stuff.


My child went trick or treating for the second time ever on friday. He is 12. We have “adopted” trick or treating based largely on American movies and sit coms. I really don’t approve of it at all but he went because he was at a friends birthday slumber party and it was part and parcel.

How do americans think sending their kids to strangers doors for lollies (candies) a good thing? it worried me no end.

All went well, though many people said “I don’t believe in Halloween” and I silently cheered them. It is a bizzare tradition and one that shouldn’t be encouraged.

I am wondering how Americans feel though. Do you feel happy sending your kids off to strangers doors?

My town hosts a downtown trick or treat event. You start at the courthouse in the early afternoon and work your way up and down two blocks of stores and offices, gathering candy as you go. Everybody closes shop early and stands outside their doors to pass out the candy, and the police direct traffic to make sure no one gets hurt.

It’s a nice idea, and it does keep the kids safe (a 3 year old got killed by a car while trick or treating a few years ago), but to me it lacks the charm of knocking on a door and giving a nice loud “Trick or Treat!” and having people make a fuss over your costume. It was like an assembly line, the kids were barely slowing down long enough for people to toss the candy in their bags. My daughter was kind of disappointed; she’s a gregarious little thing who was in it to show off her costume and meet people as much as for the free candy, so when we got done downtown I took her around my mother’s neighborhood so she could be adorably precocious to her heart’s content.

Some neighborhoods are safer than others or the front doors are easier to get to. Also families like to gather for chili while the cousins go door to door. That’s understandable. I thought it was a great idea.

Then I found out that some people spend $200 on candy. That’s crazy!

We had two spooks last night and they are the first ones to come by in probably three years.

Obviously, I can’t answer this question for any Americans except myself:) When I was growing up, we only trick-treated in our own neighborhood. They weren’t strangers. They were “those people in the blue house two doors down”, or “that family a block and a half over with 6 kids and 4 cats”. You see what I mean? We didn’t necessarily know, by name, the people of every door we knocked on, but we saw them around all the time. They weren’t strangers. If we got an unwrapped treat (one lady used to give out homemade popcorn balls every year), Mom would ask us where it came from. “Oh, that’s from old Mrs. Miller”, well, that’s okay then. If it was unwrapped and from someone we didn’t know well, it got tossed. The neighborhood I live in now, we’ve been in for almost 7 years. I’m very active on the neighborhood watch, and do know just about everyone. Can’t tell you how many comments we got when trick-or-treating on the order of: “Is that really Arielle? Look how tall she’s gotten!” or “Oh, Mariah’s getting so big. Has she started school yet?” So, you see, there was no need for stranger anxiety on my part.

As far as strangers and neighborhood hopping, there are some areas I would deem safe, others maybe not (I don’t let my kids do that, because it just seems wrong; the greed thing fits best). But if I was going to let them, Bel Air would be okay. Upper class area; people there who own their homes, and are well known in the community, etc. Frostburg, OTOH, is where the University is. Lots of people around there (colledge students, mostly), who are temporary residents from somewhere else. I’d guess that a very larger percentage of them are just fine, it’s the very small percentage that would worry me.

Oh, one more thing; while my kids were at someone’s door, I was standing on the sidewalk watching them. I wouldn’t let them go out alone, or in groups of friends til they’re maybe 12, although many parents apparently feel differently, because I saw kids as young as 9 trick-or-treating alone, and plenty of 8-10 year olds in groups. The traffic on our main road would scare me off of that!

I am shocked–shocked–that certain communities actually designate Trick-or-Treat days. I had thought that Halloween was the one holiday left (aside from Christmas) that could not be messed with.
When I used to go trick or treating, about 35 years ago, I lived in a mid-sized town and wandered, unescorted, all over the place, several neighborhoods, until well after dark, probably about 8:30.
It was part of the adventure of Halloween night. But things change. I think trust has evaporated a bit.
With my own kids, there was always a parent walking with the kids until about age 10 or 11, and they went to our neighborhood and maybe one other, and it was all over by 8:30. They covered a lot of ground in those neighborhoods;got plenty of candy. Still, their experience didn’t seem quite as magical as the one I remember having. Halloween seems more orchestrated now.

We get lots of out-of-neighborhood kids here, and that’s fine.
I did raise my eyebrow a bit at the three adults we got this past Halloween. It was a cold night, and if they had any costumes on, they were covered by coats and mufflers–but I could tell they were at least 20 years old, probably pushing 30. If I had actually taken up Guinastasia’s tampon-treat-bag idea, that might have been what those three ladies had got! :wink:

I can’t help frowning on large groups of neighborhood-hoppers; my best friend rented a house last year in the “low-end” area of a ritzy neighborhood, and I offered to hand out candy with her since I lived in an apartment at the time.

We got BUSLOADS of kids. I mean, half the city must’ve shown up that night. It was ridiculous. Carloads after carloads after carloads. None of them lived anywhere near the neighborhood; after awhile, I got curious and asked some of them.

Between that, and the 17-year-old kids with no costume, just a brown bag, I was a bit fed up with the whole thing. Halloween, when I was a kid, was all about saying hi to your neighbors.

None of these people were within miles of being neighbors.

It just seems really cheesy to me.