I want to get more trick-or-treaters but I live in a zero-fun neighborhood

Updated Oct 29 2016
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Light up trick or treat bags!
Light up trick or treat bags!
Last year, my house had only one trick-or-treater.

Our lights were on and we were ready, but most of our nearest neighbors don't do anything for Halloween, so I think families went to other streets.

There are plenty of families in the neighborhood — what can we do to make sure they come to our house? -Alena

Here's how some non-fun neighborhood having Homies got more trick-or-treaters to get out and about in their hood…

I think what helps is an active neighborhood group, block parties (Halloween is a great time to have one), and big household parties. My kids are teens but cosplay and love dressing up. And we invite friends with young kids too, to come trick or treat and to help give out candy. Why not start by having a get together at a local pub or cafe, pass out invites to your neighbors. Listen to their concerns and interests, and express that you'd love to have fun holiday spirit in your neighborhood. If that seems daunting, start with your block, or street. We used to have a neighbor who would give a magic show at the end of trick-or-treating (8:30pm). maybe there are talented magicians, clowns, cosplayers, librarians, storytellers in your neighborhood who could do something fun like that?

Check and see if there is a Nextdoor group for your neighborhood. I got a notice that our neighborhood's has a trick or treat map option, so can add your house as a location if you are handing out treats. I'm hesitating about adding our place because Halloween is my SO's birthday and I can we are usually out celebrating. You can find your local group over here.

Have a conversation with your neighbors. If everyone gets together to offer a fun street to t.o.t on, then the kids will come. But if there-s only one house, they won't.

My mom's neighborhood, where I usually go to hand out candy since I live in an apartment complex, has the same problem. We would always hand out candy, but between the couple of houses that put up signs saying "NO CANDY," the families who don't celebrate Halloween (calling it "Satan's holiday" and all that), and the folks who just weren't at home that day, we didn't get many kids. So I usually dress up and sit outside with the bowl of candy if it's warm enough. If it's cold, I leave the screen door closed but open the wooden door. And decorate, decorate, decorate so people see an open and inviting house. Halloween's my favorite celebration so it bums me out when we have all this candy (and the good kind, not those nasty ass orange and black peanut buttery things :p) and no kids to give it to.

We get decent kid turnout because we and our next-door neighbors both decorate a lot. We bust out the lights, fog machine, etc. but try not to make it too scary. We've thought about giving out alcohol to the adults (my parents' neighbors did when we were young) but it's tough to know how that will go down in our neighborhood, plus a good portion of the parents don't speak the same languages so that might make it harder to pull off.

  1. We run into the same problem. My boyfriend is completely obsessed with Halloween and spends the entire month decorating for a giant, blow-out party at the end of the month and is always SO excited for Trick r Treaters to come admire his outside decorating work.
    Last year I think we had about 7 kids show up, and only about 2 were in costume.
    Our other dilemma is that on the years when we have had a bigger number of treat-seekers, they are high school aged kids with no costume, who shove pillowcases at us without so much as a "trick r treat".
    I can't say I can offer you any advice, but I do feel your pain. I love Halloween and it's always so disappointing when no one comes to celebrate!

    • Yeah, no. I trick or treated all the way through college and don't mind older kids doing so, but you have to work for your candy!

  2. Wow, there is no way I'd give out candy to non-costumed kids, especially high schoolers! We've never run into that before!

    • While I agree, I would be weary of the older kids getting revenge and egging your house, so I give non-costumed, older kids a hard time before I give them candy. "At least say you're a homicidal maniac!"

      • haha we do the same thing. "What are the magic words? Are you a mute for Halloween this year? I bet the chicks dig your sweet hipster costume!"

    • I agree with your sentiment, but keep in mind that there may be a real reason they aren't wearing a costume. Sometimes sensory/spectrum kiddos just CANNOT wear one, but still want to participate in the fun. And they're also more likely to keep going when they are older.

      But, they are also more likely to have a caregiver with them, not go out in a group with a bunch of other teens (though I suppose that is possible as well).

      Anyhow, I just try to give people the benefit of the doubt. It's a little annoying maybe, but, no reason to ruin the holiday.

  3. I'm new to my neighborhood this year, and I really want trick-or-treaters to come to my door! I'm making sure I"m visible early … I have purple lights on my banister outside that I make sure to turn on every night, I keep my porch light on late so that it shows the Happy Halloween sign on the door, and I have the king of all pumpkins sitting on my front step. Hopefully, people will see it as they go by throughout the month and remember this is a Halloween-friendly house.

  4. We live in an area with lots of kids, but our particular block is a little barren–not a lot of houses face our street and most don't participate in Halloween. We still get plenty of trick-or-treaters, though, because we decorate: lights, cobwebs, pumpkins, etc. We also sit out on our porch. I think it helps that one next-door neighbor also decorates for Halloween. We're the only two on the block, but we've got enough spirit to draw people in.

    This is a great excuse to meet your neighbors and conspire together. Maybe others used to participate but have given up due to lack of visitors. Offer to extend your lights and decorations over to their yard. Team up to make a couple of houses look extra-inviting. If you know some of the parents in your neighborhood, chat with them beforehand and invite them to come by your block. Make that personal connection and they'll want to come show off their cute kids.

    Also, there was one house in my childhood neighborhood that served wine to the adult chaperones. The adults loved having a treat for themselves and we usually stuck around to chat for a few minutes. That could be a good way to meet more neighbors and guarantee that parents are coming by your place next year!

    • Our house is decorated to the point where people slow down as they drive past, but we still can't seem to get kids to stop.
      I pointed out this may be because they are terrified to come up to door, so we "kid-friendlied" our decorations a little bit and saved the really bloody/scary stuff for the inside where the adults are.

      The serving grown-up drinks is brilliant!

    • Our neighborhood is small- we got the mayor and the neighborhood paper to print a map with houses that were participating.

    • We also have a hard time getting kids to stop because our house is on a slightly-busier street without a lot of houses that face that street, a lot of our nearest neighbors don't participate, and we have some apartment buildings on the block, making it even harder for the trick-or-treaters.

      We get decent kid turnout because we and our next-door neighbors both decorate a lot. We bust out the lights, fog machine, etc. but try not to make it too scary. We've thought about giving out alcohol to the adults (my parents' neighbors did when we were young) but it's tough to know how that will go down in our neighborhood, plus a good portion of the parents don't speak the same languages so that might make it harder to pull off.

  5. Wish I could help you, we live in an apartment in the middle of town with only one kid in the building and a locked door at our entrance so no strangers that can get in. Bo-ring.

    • One of the residents in the apartment building down the block sits outside his building to pass out candy. If you get street traffic but not indoor traffic, that might work!

    • I am in this situation as well. There doesn't seem to be any foot traffic on the street either, so sitting outside would do no good. If possible, I go to my parents house for Halloween. They live in an established residential neighborhood with lots of trick or treaters. My sisters always go there with their kids for the festivities, so it's like a big family party too.

  6. I think fewer people in general are trick-or-treating. I live half a block from an elementary school and there are 3 playgrounds within walking distance. There are tons of kids in our neighborhood, but we see very few trick-or-treaters. It makes me sad. We do get quite a few no costume teenagers, but I don't give out candy to them. (If our house gets egged or wrapped, this is probably why.) I just wonder if parents are hesitant because of a perceived safety issue, even though kids play unsupervised in our neighborhood all the time on normal days. I'm not sure what the reason is, but I'll still have my candy ready and my decorations up.

          • Ugh, I was raised Christian and that still gives me the icks. Why wont they let Halloween alone its for costumes candy and getting the creeps(within reason). We live in a very small town and live less than a block away from the main shops where everyone goes to trick or treat in this sad long line of people it breaks my heart. I still give candy out but we too only get a few kids.

  7. Throw a party. Invite the parents, or just invite a lot of your friends, especially any that have kids. Be sure it's a tame party (minimal intoxication) with lots of outdoor activities.
    Advertise in your neighborhood, including any churches you think might welcome attendance at a Halloween party, that families are welcome to stop by for trick-or-treating and hors d'oeuvres.
    It's possible your stick-in-the-mud neighbors won't show up, but then you'll have fun with your friends. And if they see you having fun this year, maybe they'll come next year.

    The other option is to make your house a big enough attraction that people from outside your neighborhood will go out of their way to swing by. This usually happens over the course of years as you accumulate cool decorations, but you can speed up the process by a) buying lots of stuff this year and b) letting your local newspaper know you'd like to be on any decoration tours they're promoting.

  8. Hmm. I really don't know. We have the same issue, because we live right on a vey busy street and there are many quiet little side streets just the other side of it. This will be our third year there and as far as I can tell (we go out with our kids so I put the candy on the porch – can't be sure), we haven't had a single trick-or-treater yet!

    I still always buy candy just in case, though. This year I've finally cut back so far that it's just a bag of Reese's cups and a small bag of Hershey's miniatures. So sad.

  9. I suggest going to a friend's house that DOES get a lot of trick-or-treaters, if possible. It's hard to lure kids to your house if the block is a bust.

  10. We live in a giant subdivision with tons of kids, yet last year we got only three TOTers. Sad trombone, indeed.

    I think the advent of all the school and church "Fall Festivals" is edging out a lot of the traditional TOTing.

  11. If you don't know your neighbors, they may not be comfortable with their kids trick-or-treating at your place.

    It's been a LONG time since I trick-or-treated, but I CLEARLY remember my mom being a stickler about us ONLY going to houses where we knew people. Plus, if your neighbors know you, and know you'll have candy and treats, it's incentive for the kiddos to trick or treat at your place!

    • I remember growing up it was "If the house has Halloween decorations and their front porch light on, go for it. If the blinds are drawn close and the front porch light off, leave them alone." It's kind of sad that the tradition of trick or treating seems to be dying off 🙁

      We just moved to a new neighborhood with lots of kids so I'm hoping we'll get more than the 2 trick ot treaters we had last year. It's the sort of neighborhood where everyone waves hello to each other and stops to talk if you're in the yard gardening so I have high hopes!

  12. Last year we didn't get a single trick-or-treater. It seems parents don't take kids out anymore – they go to church or school sponsored parties instead. LAME.

    The one street I lived on that got a TON of treaters, actually threw a block party that night. People had bands on their front porches and the street was closed to traffic. Maybe it's too late for this year, but you could try organizing with your neighbors to make it more of an event.

  13. We do get lots of trick-or-treaters, but we also make up special treat bags for the children of our friends. It's not quite the same, but you still get to buy some fun Halloween things. The kids may even put on costumes if they know you're coming over to deliver treats! (We do this right before or after Halloween day.) If you do it for neighbor kids this year, perhaps they'll know to stop by next year.

  14. A bunch of neighbors here decided to hold a trick or treat and "pumpkin glow" at the local park since the individual neighborhoods weren't getting a lot of trick-or-treaters. They advertised it as a safe alternative in playgroups and around the neighborhood, hung signs in coffee shops, etc. All the neighbors bring their pumpkins and set up stations with their goodies and decorations, and it ends up looking really beautiful and spooky-lite. It might not be at your door, but this event turned into something that now gets hundreds of trick-or-treaters every year, so it would definitely bring the spirit of the season back for you!

  15. This is the first year we get to give out candy on Halloween (no creepy roommates and we now have use of the front porch) and I really hope we don't have this problem. We live on a long road with kids, but there's no sidewalk on our end and people drive like morons, so I'm worried.

  16. I live in a penthouse condo in the middle of downtown…so children are a rareity. But I know my parents went a few years with a lot less Trick or Treaters. Here were reasons why:

    1. A lot of the children on the block had grown up or young families had moved on. Less children = less Trick or Treaters

    2. Children got greedy. It was becoming a common trend to go to the so-called "rich" neighbourhoods because of "better" candy (totally not true, those stingy rich people gave out the shitiest candy).

    3. Parents AND kids are EFFING lazy. A lot of children nowadays are going Trick or Treating in malls more and more. I know I had a friend back in junior high and high school that had to take her neice Trick or Treating at a big mall because "they don't do street Trick or Treating". It was a way to keep kids warm (in my city in Canada, more often than not there is lots of snow on Halloween and below zero…not this year though!), and keep the parents from getting bored.

    Also, kids and parents don't like walking anymore, so they drive to more "popular" spots. I remember seeing kids getting driven to EACH HOUSE one year.

    In the last couple of years, Trick or Treating has picked up at my parent's place. I remember one year they almost ran out of candy! In their neighbourhood, I think parents are realizing the fun and value of "ol' skool" Trick or Treating.

    I would try and get together with your neighbours to discuss concerns and ideas! Maybe if there's a dialogue, something will happen!

  17. One thing you can do, tho it may be a little late for this year, is to get a hold of your neighborhood association if you have one. We have a neighborhood that is a mix of families and college kids so a good portion of houses don't have candy. So our neighborhood association makes a map of houses with candy and distributes it.

    Another thing is decorations. Make sure there are lots but are kid friendly. Nothing too scary or gory because, tho that is fun for us big kids, it can be intimidating to the little ones. Also make sure they are semi-welcoming. My parents have an extremely long driveway and one year my dad put a gargoyle at the end with a sign that said "Keep Out" in fake blood. They didn't get a single trick-or-treater! The next year he put up a lighted sign that said "Enter….if you dare" and they had way more!

    • We are fortunate to live in a VERY spirited neighborhood –gave out 700 pieces of candy, on a slow year (wet and soggy weather). Not only the neighbor kids come, but people drive here to trick-or-treat — have to admit it was one of the things that drew us here. I think what helps is an active neighborhood group, block parties (Halloween is a great time to have one), and big household parties. My kids are teens but cos-play and love dressing up. And we invite friends with young kids too, to come trick or treat and to help give out candy. Why not start by having a get together at a local pub or cafe, pass out invites to your neighbors. Listen to their concerns and interests, and express that you'd love to have fun holiday spirit in your neighborhood. If that seems daunting, start with your block, or street. We used to have a neighbor who would give a magic show at the end of trick-or-treating (8:30pm). maybe there are talented magicians, clowns, cosplayers, librarians, storytellers in your neighborhood who could do something fun like that?

  18. I was going to suggest the party thing too…
    If you're up for it. Invite your neighbors (and ze kids) over for a Halloween bash either the day of or a few days before to get the neighborhood in the spirit. Carve/paint pumpkins together, bob for apples, have toilet-paper mummy races, etc. Maybe they are all just USED to not having trick or treaters around and you guys could get them excited about Halloween again! Good Luck!

  19. I have a suggestion to anyone that lives somewhere that will never get trick 'r treaters… check with your community centers like the park district, chamber of commerce, or schools. Some group usually host a kind of Halloween shindig and are probably looking for volunteers.

    I lived in coastal community for two years where most of the homes & apartments near us were summer rentals. Regardless of how much we (including my two neighbors) decorated we would never see any kids. The community was so spread out that this was the case for most of the town. So the local parks department hosted an annual haunted house and carnival. They were desperate for volunteers to help them out with making costumes, creating sets for the haunted house, and needed volunteers to help run the event. It was awesome fun and gave me the Halloween fix I was looking for.

  20. I also live in an apartment, so can't help you – it's a little sad each year!

    I do think it was after 9/11 that trick-or-treating started going on the decline, because, you know, THINK OF THE CHILDREN (or something….I know, I didn't quite get it either). And it has not picked up since then.

    That is particularly sad given that (as of last year because I looked it up last year…) there have only been 2 cases of children "poisoned" by Halloween candy, and in both cases it was relatives trying to target them. (Nice, huh? You're more likely to be "terrorized" by someone you know…).

    This doesn't help with your question per se, sorry 🙁 , but I do think after 9/11 is when trick-or-treating declined/halted – and when the "Safe Alternatives to Being Outside!" such as malls started emerging.

  21. It would probably only work in a small town but I loved what Tybee Island in Georgia did for Halloween. One street (conveniently the one I lived on when I was there) got closed off and everyone on the island went trick or treating, or generally celebrating, there. The police were out to keep things safe, people living on other streets and the city government donated candy and everyone went all-out with decorations (or maybe it just seemed that way because I'm used to Britain where a pumpkin and lights is a lot of decoration?).

    The best part was even though the whole thing was highly organised it didn't feel that way, it just felt like Halloween the way you see it in the movies, with everyone out trick or treating in the same place at the same time.

    • Our town does almost exactly the same thing; one long street gets blocked to traffic and the whole town turns out, lots of the side streets get overflow as well. You let the town council know that you want to be a house that hands out candy, and they provide it, bought with donated funds. It works really well.

  22. If there's potential problems with giving out candy, or with everyone going to organized parties/malls instead, why not try something a little different like All Hallow's Read?
    http://www.allhallowsread.com/
    Neil Gaiman has been encouraging people to give spooky books on Halloween – maybe let it be known to parents that there will be books (or even just spooky tale readings on your porch!) or organize something with neighbours/other groups! a spooky treasure hunt based around a story sounds mighty fun…

    • invite friends with young kids too, to come trick or treat and to help give out candy. Why not start by having a get together at a local pub or cafe, pass out invites to your neighbors. Listen to their Have a friend in a neighboring town who does this. It's great, unless you have 7oo trick-or-treaters, like we do. Organizing a neighborhood event, any kid, is great. Maybe if several neighbors pitched in 10 books?

  23. all of these ideas are great, im going to contact my apartment managers and see if we can organize a list of participating apartments this year, hopefully its not too late.

  24. I live in an apartment as well but each year i go to a friends house all excited to hand out candy but each year we get less and less. Last year I ended up at our local mall and found it crawling with children in costumes. there is something seriously wrong if trick or treating is being done in a mall. .

  25. Yes, the sad, sad fate of traditional ToTing. My husband and I are in our 20's and still go door to door (with my 13-yo brother), but participation in general (kids and houses) is dwindiling. Last year we made the big mistake of waiting until night fall to head out and everyone was done! This year we're going out earlier, far more prepared, and putting on zombie fire-breathing shows in our cul-de-sac to attract kiddos.

    I really like the idea of giving out "horrors d'oeuvres" to parents to keep 'em going.

  26. If you want to give out candy but can't attract the kids to your house, our local YMCA summer camp organises "trunk or treating"
    You show up at the organised time and place (this yr they are doing it on the Sunday before halloween) with your car trunk decorated just like you would decorate your own porch. Kids can then "trunk or treat" from car to car

  27. Oh man, this is our neighborhood. In years past, pre-baby, we would walk around talking to everyone about how stoked we were for halloween, and how we were going to have the BEST candy. It worked ok-even though our house is not visible from the street, we had a fair flow of visitors, and made sure they were loaded up with candy. Now with the kid, we do lots of events, but always show love to the neighborhood, even if it's just going to all the same few houses that still trick-or-treat. Last year we made enough candy to hand it back out to the late-comers before going to bed.

    I second the idea of getting together to conspire with neighbors. We have neighborhoods in our city that do it BIG. People come from miles around to visit and trick or treat. Roads are closed off. It's huge. So if you wanted to do something like that, get with your neighbors, plan ahead. Take out ads! Invite friends. Make it a block party.

  28. We used to live in a house with a winding quarter-mile driveway uphill through the woods. In order to get more trick-or-treaters, my mom would get HUGE candy bars to give out and tell all the neighbors beforehand. E still didn't get a ton, but it was better than nothing!

    I'm having the opposite problem now. My boyfriend and I moved this summer to an area that actually gets kids; I asked my neighbor and they said to expect around twenty or so. It's not much, but way more than we're used to, do we're trying to figure out how to decorate and how much candy to buy. I can't wait to see the costumes, though!

  29. Our town's mall hosts some kind of event, which I guess is either advertised as or considered safer than trick-or-treating in your neighborhood. It sucks most of the families in. Last year, we had about 25 trick-or-treaters, which was the most I'd ever had in my four years in this town (prior to that, we'd had 0, but it was a different neighborhood).

  30. Having heard from so many people in my community how they try hard not to have anyone bother them on Halloween by making their houses as boring and unwelcoming as possible, I am thrilled to hear from so many adults who do want to encourage ToTers!

  31. From what I can tell in my experience is that it's either laziness (I had a fair run of kids in sports jerseys) or that many of my neighborhoods were first generation immigrants. From my interaction they may have been curious about Halloween, but that curiosity only extended to making sure kids fit in at school.

  32. I live in a country where we have had Halloween for about 10 years now, but has not really gotten big yet. The pubs throw parties for adults and the shops are full with halloween-stuff, but many people/parents don't get it or think it is unsuitable for children.

    I LOVE Halloween, but have a hard time getting friends to come to our parties and don't get any children trick or treating to our door. How can I sell this holiday to my community and get children to come to our door (we also live on the 3 floor)

  33. My mom went the other way: bring the candies to the children. When I was young, my parents had to come with me to trick or treat around my neighborhood. She still wanted to distribute candy so she used to put the candy in some enormous cauldron and gave it to children as we walked on the sidewalk.

  34. our house is usually pretty barren. last year we got two or three groups, all of whom were car trick-or-treating. normally i would judge that, but it seems like there is only a house every block or two participating in our neighborhood, so…

    i think it is directly related to the number of rental houses in our area. i think we are the only non-rental in our block, and turnover is fairly high because it's a college area.

    oh, well, i still try. maybe i'll try sitting on the stoop or keeping the door open to look extra-welcoming.

  35. Give out full size candy bars! Word travels fast and you will eventually see more trick or treaters.

    I agree with the hanging outside. Our best trick or treat year we sat in the driveway, lit the chiminea, handed out candy to the kids, and hors'dourvers and wine or beer to the parents (most we knew by sight). My husband also dressed up the dogs and took them trick or beering to our friends houses.

    This year we are in a boring neighborhood – I just found out that only my next door neighbor hands out candy. I don't think we quite fit in. Everyone has tasteful harvest decorations. We have zombie babies on the front porch….

  36. My boyfriend and I have recently moved to our small apartment in our small set of flats in a small, out of the way neighbourhood… My plan to get trick or treaters actually buzzing the doorbell is thus:
    1. Decorate window with handmade back-lit monsteeerrrrsssss!!
    2. Buy sweets!
    3. On the night, put our house number in the window with a sign saying TRICK OR TREAT!
    4. Commence aliens movie marathon.
    5. Enjoy constant interruptions from trick or treaters!!

    Side quest: uphold the laws of the land and NEVER give candy to uncostumed kids. Have water pistol on hand for such occasions. *nods* buahahahahahaaaa!

  37. We decorate the yard and the front of the house AND the inside of my home is ALWAYS decorated 2 months before Halloween. I have to decorate so early because I have SO much decor, it would be time to take it down before I got it all up. I moved to a Mississippi subdivision from a tiny town in Louisiana where my home was old, lovingly beautiful and even spooky looking where I went all out for Halloween also. I might have gotten lucky to get 5 Trick-or-Treaters then. Now, in the subdivision (which is about 5 years old) I am having a ball. We have 82 last year and this year promises to be way more now that new families have moved in this last year. Our homes are spaced out a good bit but we see lots of people running, walking their dogs and biking with their families so our decorations get enjoyed and they know we are fun and happy to have a little scare time and fun Halloween night!

    If you don't get Trick-or-Treaters, look in to finding out if there is a mass spot where parents can take their kids for trick-or-treating. The outlet mall, the coliseum, and some schools set up a group of people who set up little spots for their cars and kids are in a safe environment to go from group to group to trick-or-treat! I hope you get more as time goes on!

  38. There is house just outside the town where i live that have a small and free "Haunted Area" in their garage and yard every year. It's outside of city limits in a neighborhood where they would normally not get many trick-or-treaters. They sit up signs on the main road guiding people to their home. They've been doing it since I was a child (25-30 years or so) and every year people come from farther and farther away to see it and trick-or-treat in this otherwise hidden, overlooked area. The kids also go to all of the neighbor's houses now.

    Also,a bit of encouragement, I ALWAYS take my kids to neighborhoods where I know they people there don't get many kids coming to their house. Think of places that are out in the country or on semi-busy streets. (Not dangerously busy like highways, etc.) It's a lot of fun to see and hear how excited people get when they only get 1 or 2 kids, or groups of kids, each year. I've heard several other parents say that they like to do the same, and I would recommend it to anyone.

  39. sad to hear trick or treating is on the decline! ive been in apartments for the past few years, so we always had one bag of candy just in case, but i have never had a single TOT-er… now this year im in a townhouse in a pretty "regular" neighborhood with houses and school bus stops and things, so im thinking ill get a few… but now, maybe not! oh well, atleast i got good candy this year (gummy worms and gummy bears), so the candy wont go to waste!

  40. Trick-or-treating on the streets is the new Halloween must!

    When I was younger, my parents also wanted to distribute candy but had to leave the house to supervise our trick or treats run. They found the perfect solution: Carry enormous baskets filled with candy and distribute it on the streets to the costumed kids. It was a hit!

  41. We get around 60 tricker or treater 2 year old ago . Around 50 last year when it was pouring. We probably have less now because I some sales sign and sold sign in past 8 month.

    • I will predict will get around 40 this year because there so many houses and street around our house. If you leave across the bakery you only going get around 20-30 trick or treater

  42. This year I'll be the no-fun house with no decorations. I do at least dress up, just didn't have time/energy to decorate or carve a pumpkin or anything.

    In our case the numbers are really weather dependent. We have a couple neighbours with kids so they usually come through and some others do too. Last year we had maybe 20. Before that it was 30+. But it really fluctuates and other neighbourhoods get way more. Totally agree that finding ways to get the word out helps. Decorating externally should also help but if you're the only one on the block doing it, not too likely to attract a ton of kids who could just go on past and hit another block. So if you want more kids, talk to the people on your block and see who else is into Halloween. Then talk to people you know with kids and let them know that your block is totally doing it.

    In some cases, kids are out locally only. I have a friend who lets her son go down their street where she can see him from the door so she can give out candy. So fewer local kids means fewer kids around. Unless you become a known awesome house, you probably won't see as many kids. So feel free to put out some flyers in the neighbourhood if you really want kids. That might be a bit weird, but if you're willing to sort of host a little bit of a party, could be a lot of fun.

  43. My mom's neighborhood, where I usually go to hand out candy since I live in an apartment complex, has the same problem. We would always hand out candy, but between the couple of houses that put up signs saying "NO CANDY," the families who don't celebrate Halloween (calling it "Satan's holiday" and all that), and the folks who just weren't at home that day, we didn't get many kids. So I usually dress up and sit outside with the bowl of candy if it's warm enough. If it's cold, I leave the screen door closed but open the wooden door. And decorate, decorate, decorate so people see an open and inviting house. Halloween's my favorite celebration so it bums me out when we have all this candy (and the good kind, not those nasty ass orange and black peanut buttery things :p) and no kids to give it to.

  44. Have a conversation with your neighbors. If everyone gets together to offer a fun street to t.o.t on, then the kids will come. But if there-s only one house, they won't.

  45. Check and see if there is a Nextdoor group for your neighborhood. I got a notice that our neighborhood's has a trick or treat map option, so can add your house as a location if you are handing out treats. I'm hesitating about adding our place because Halloween is my SO's birthday and I can we are usually out celebrating. You can find your local group at : http://www.nextdoor.com

    I will say that when we are home we usually don't see many kids. I think most of them in our city are driven to other neighborhoods, or to fall festivals or to events that happen in shopping districts in our city. Plus, kids (and parents) don't want to walk. When I think back, my dad and I probably covered a couple of miles over several neighborhoods. We never started before dark and we'd be out for a few hours (my mom was home handing out candy).

    Once I was a tween I'd go out with friends and we hit all the usual places PLUS townhouse developments; a little more work and a lot more candy. I trick or treated into high school, always in costume, and always hustling through neighborhoods. We all loved the relatively safe thrill of being out after dark, in costume, running around. I feel sorry for kids who are having such a tame holiday now.

    ETA: One of the worst things I've heard is that one more affluent neighborhood in our city organizes it's own trick or treating night that is not on Halloween. Everyone in the neighborhood knows that's the night to send their kids around. Then on actual Halloween some of the people in the neighborhood don't turn on their lights (and keep their kids home) because kids come from other neighborhoods (AKA lower income ones) to trick or treat there. I find that tactic to be despicable.

  46. I have the MOST kids of anyone in the neighborhood. I do minimal decorations, a couple of tombstones and cobwebs on the porch. But I promote my kidlets coming by telling everyone and anyone how much I enjoy having them. I've also gained a reputation for having the best candy. If I wouldn't eat it, I don't buy it.
    And for those, 'too old to trick or treat', I like to buy a bag of those horrible peanut butter kisses.

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