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

Posted by
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.

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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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).

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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….

    • ZOMBIE BABIES! I Love You!!! We put out feirce jack-o-lanterns, a few ghost and don’t forget the tombstones and still no kids.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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

        • Own a condo trick or treater still goes to condo and some time apartment. I heard some place get 200 and 400 trick or treater in Canada and USA

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

Read more comments

Comments are closed.