Does anybody drive their kids to different (better?) neighborhoods to do their trick-or-treating?
November 1, 2007 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Did anybody drive their kids to different (better?) neighborhoods to do their trick-or-treating?

I walked downtown last night, through a casual middle class neighborhood, an uptight (fancier front yards) middle class neighborhood, a young-adult-and-some-hipsters neighborhood, and a commercial neighborhood. There were hordes of trick-or-treaters in the casual middle class neighborhood, a few in the uptight middle class neighborhood, and none in the other neighborhoods. I just figured that some little kids must live in the other places, and they must be bugging their parents to go trick-or-treating.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord to Society & Culture (46 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I actually drove myself to the middle class neighborhood to hand out candy at a friend's house. I don't know what it's like where you are, but here there are certain neighborhoods that are trick or treater friendly [sidewalks, lights, lots of people home, thickly settled, decent parking] where a lot of people go. It's become enough of a tradition that the nearby hospital opens up their parking lot to people from more rural areas (where the trick or treating is difficult or dangerous) who drive in and all trick or treat in one place. There's even daylight trick or treating in the business area downtown for the really teeny kids. It sort of becomes self-fulfilling because ease of access and a ton of other kids makes the neighborhood more fun for kids who want to see their friends etc.
posted by jessamyn at 6:43 PM on November 1, 2007

Inner-city kids in Chicago, where most people live in apartments, tend to go along commercial streets and to their trick-or-treating in stores.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:47 PM on November 1, 2007

No kids trick or treat in my neighborhood but there are kids. I see them pile in to the car in their costumes and I assume they are going to better neighborhoods to trick or treat or a community based party. I live in the kind of neighborhood where surly teenagers with pillow sacks might ring your costumes. I make sure I am somewhere else on halloween.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:50 PM on November 1, 2007

Phoenix, Arizona here. I took my daughter to my mom's house to hand out candy and trick or treat there. Her house is in more of an upper-class area. Not only did people drive their kids to the neighborhood, but they were too lazy to get out of their cars and followed them around from the comfort of the driver's seat, creating, in my mind, a huge hazard. I cannot believe how lazy people were this year. I have been in Phoenix all my life and have never seen anything like this year.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 6:53 PM on November 1, 2007

When I trick or treated it was pretty routine for kids to go to the nicer neighborhoods. They also trick or treated in the neighborhood, the more territory covered=more candy.
posted by philcliff at 6:59 PM on November 1, 2007

In my small town, the two main streets are the place to trick-or-treat. All of the residents on those streets get together and create a kind of carnival atmosphere with lavish decorations and great treats, so most of the kids stick to that area. Also, the local nursing homes organize elaborate Halloween parties and place ads in the paper encouraging the kids to come by and trick-or-treat from the residents. So, between the two main streets and the nursing homes, the rest of us on the side streets barely get any trick-or-treaters at all, but it works out pretty well. When my kids were little enough to need parental supervision, it was nice to be able to ferry them to the main areas and have them be guaranteed a good time.
posted by amyms at 6:59 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, you go where the candy is. When I was a kid, the people in the nicer neighborhoods let you reach into a candy bucket and take as much as your greedy little hands could hold. The one year I stayed in my own neighborhood, I came home with a dozen or so fun-size Snickers.
posted by aiko at 6:59 PM on November 1, 2007

Definitely - when I was young in New Haven, I'd travel up the hill to go trick or treating at an apartment complex where friends lived. Here in Oakland, seems like Piedmont is the place to go, and loads of parents take their children up there.
posted by migurski at 7:08 PM on November 1, 2007

We have tons of kids coming to our neighborhood from surrounding apartments, many of which are Section 8. I honestly don't have a problem with that.
posted by beezy at 7:09 PM on November 1, 2007

I live in a large condo complex and while there are resident kids, I've never, ever gotten any trick-or-treaters in all the time I've lived here.

My city downtown has an organized trick-or-treat/party event for kids, and my local mall lets kids go trick-or-treating from the merchants there. Between these two events, I surmise that many of my local kids don't go from house to house anymore.

My parents live in a very nice upper-middle-class suburb and they do get trick-or-treaters, thankfully without parents following them around in cars. (Incidentally, my mom noted that all the parents accompanying the kids were dads.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:14 PM on November 1, 2007

Once we wised up as kids, we always got our parents to drop us off across town. Our neighborhood: long driveways, no sidewalks, lots of dark houses where they'd given up on trick-or-treaters. Fun neighborhood: lots of nice middle-class houses, close together, sidewalks and streetlights. Safer, more fun, and more candy because of the density.
posted by bassjump at 7:33 PM on November 1, 2007

here in the philly area there were definitely people that traveled to nicer parts of town... i don't have a problem with that at all. i do have a problem with the fact that a lot of the kids who did this didn't bother wearing a costume and then acted like they were entitled to more than one piece of candy.

im sorry, im giving you FREE CANDY, the least you could do is pretend to appreciate it. i don't need rude back talking kids in their normal clothes calling me names.

next year i think im going to offer anyone who isn't wearing a costume the chance to sing/dance for a piece of candy. and ill video tape it and put up a compilation video on youtube.
posted by hummercash at 7:40 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yes. Every nice (not fancy, but clean; owner-occupied; well-lit streets; decorations on houses) neighborhood I've lived in as an adult has been a destination for kids from other parts of town (not sure if this is because those parts are poorer, or more dangerous, or have houses farther apart, or what).
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:45 PM on November 1, 2007

I live in one of those casual, middle-class neighborhoods and we get tons of trick-or-treaters. I could give out $50 worth of chocolate if I wanted to. They usually come to the door in groups of 5 or more, too. It's been this way the whole sixteen years I've lived here. It's kind of cool until we get tired of it at about 8:30. Then, we pretend to run out of candy (if we haven't for real) and turn off all the lights and doorbell but they keep coming.
posted by found dog one eye at 7:46 PM on November 1, 2007

It happens here. I heard a woman complain about it tonight on some AM talk show. She uncharitably referred to the out-of-neighborhood kids as "carpetbaggers".
Personally, I don't care who comes for the candy as long as they quit around 8:30 or so. After that it's a chore.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:56 PM on November 1, 2007

I lived in a nice neighborhood as a kid but my folks took us to an even nicer neighborhood to trick or treat. My friend lived there so we went together, and so did my dad's friend, so Dad could stop in for a glass of red at the halfway point of the evening.
posted by crinklebat at 7:57 PM on November 1, 2007

We're in a suburban college town. One year, we thought that driving over to an upper class neighborhood might be a good idea. Wrong. Bigger houses and yards mean that you cover more space for less reward.
Last year, we achieved a high yield of Tier 1 candy from hitting a newer, tightly packed middle class housing addition.
This year, we stayed on the block with friends. Because of the high college student population, the yield was lower (in the candy sense; my son did score some cash from a candy-less college student when he crashed their Halloween porch party) but the experience was better overall for us because we got to interact with friends and neighbors - people we knew. The whole experience reminded me that Halloween isn't just about kids getting candy - it's an opportunity to socialize with the neighbors and enjoy the one night of the year when people tend to welcome strangers.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:05 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

My neighborhood is a bit of a "destination", too. In addition, a nearby church puts out a table with hot coffee and such for the parents who are tagging along with their kids, which is a great idea.

Some Minneapolis neighborhoods have a lot of apartments in security buildings--it might be easier to come to a neighborhood with little houses in neat rows.
posted by gimonca at 8:09 PM on November 1, 2007

Apparently, a lot of kids here now go to the mall, where stores stay open and hand out candy. Really very sad.
posted by Rumple at 8:13 PM on November 1, 2007

As per Jessamyn's comment, I drive a bit to get to a denser residential area. Around here there are so many pockets of people who are really into decorating/giving out candy that you don't need to go far or try to figure out what the "better" part of town is.
posted by mikepop at 8:36 PM on November 1, 2007

To be clear, we go somewhere and park and then walk around for a couple of hours.
posted by mikepop at 8:38 PM on November 1, 2007

Slightly off topic, but in response to some other answers - The town I live in now actually has a siren to go off signifying the start and end of trick-or-treat time (5:00 to 7:00).

Good ole' small town livin for you there.
posted by davey_darling at 8:51 PM on November 1, 2007

I went over to my parents house to hand out candy because no one trick or treats at my apartments. They live in a well lit, middle class neighborhood in Phoenix. I took a break from handing out candy and walked around the neighborhood to see what other people had done to decorate (we usually do a big yard scene and I like to check out the competition) and while on my walk saw 4 or so cars park and trick or treaters get out. However, this was about 8 at night, so I'm assuming they had hit another neighborhood as well. My little sister, on the other hand, went with her friends to an upper class neighborhood nearby and said it was THE place to go, easily 3 or 4 times more crowded than our neighborhood. As a side note, this was one of the slowest halloween nights in our neighborhood in years. Last year we ran out of candy (two big costco bags), this year we maybe only had 30 tots. I guess they all went to the upper class neighborhood.
posted by lizjohn at 8:56 PM on November 1, 2007

In my old neighborhood, we had tons of kids walk in from the nearby lower-class neighborhoods because it was safer. In my new neighborhood, I walked my kids into the nearby upper-class neighborhood, because I was nosy and wanted to look into people's houses.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:04 PM on November 1, 2007

In my old neighborhood, we had tons of kids walk in from the nearby lower-class neighborhoods because it was safer.

I think that's what's going on in my new neighborhood, too. My neighborhood is distinctly working-class but a step up from some of the surrounding areas. I lived only a few miles west of here and got no one for years. Last night we had at least 60 kids and would have had more if we hadn't left around 8PM.

So are kids actually getting ruder or am I just old? Some of those kids were downright nasty - asking for money, sneering at my candy offerings.
posted by cabingirl at 9:18 PM on November 1, 2007

San Fernando Valley in CA here, and carloads of kids regularly pull up to our street on halloween, because we're a great pocket of single family homes and lots of the homeowners here put on a great show for the kids (like the guy who plays quiet, spooky music through speakers until the kids walk past them, then he jumps on a microphone and goes BOOOO! really loud -- always gets 'em.)
posted by davejay at 9:40 PM on November 1, 2007

I grew up in this neighborhood I'm in and we always did it right here. But we only get about a dozen t-or-t parties nowadays during the two-hour official window, and my nieces were taken by their bio-mom to their grandma's neighborhood in the nicer part of town, because there are so many houses open there.

Personally, if I were forced to hand out candy to kids from across town, I'd be a little miffed, but how can you tell?
posted by dhartung at 10:56 PM on November 1, 2007

I live in military housing, and the base opened up to local trick-or-treaters; some of the off-base households were handing out their candy door-to-door as they trick-or-treated.
posted by Cricket at 1:20 AM on November 2, 2007

cabingirl writes "asking for money, sneering at my candy offerings."

Wait, people give out money?

We didn't drive my daughter to a different neighbourhood (well we drove to my mother's place but it was just the one house) but we did take pains to plan our route so she would be on a sidewalk the whole way and we wouldn't have to back track.
posted by Mitheral at 2:13 AM on November 2, 2007

Our trick or treat time suck now, 6-7 is all they get. Our town is weird, pockets of middle class surrounded by the filthy rich, with neighborhoods of extreme poverty distributed between them. There's one ritzy subdivision near us that's very well known for giving out whole candy bars and dollar bills, and lots of people who don't live there take their kids there. We just had this very same conversation yesterday, as one of my employees and her family took about 8 kids there.
posted by TomMelee at 4:10 AM on November 2, 2007

here in the philly area there were definitely people that traveled to nicer parts of town... i don't have a problem with that at all. i do have a problem with the fact that a lot of the kids who did this didn't bother wearing a costume and then acted like they were entitled to more than one piece of candy.

It was exactly the same way here in Syracuse. I'm really happy to give out candy to children wearing costumes who are reasonably polite. I gave those children lots of good candy. The adults, people who couldn't be bothered to put on some semblance of a costume, and rude people (often the same people!) got the butterscotch disks.
posted by Melsky at 4:39 AM on November 2, 2007

Someone in my family has a special bowl full of leftover candy from last year for the people and older kids who come to the door without a costume.

No costume? Stale candy for you!
posted by obeetaybee at 6:13 AM on November 2, 2007

I'm a divorced, partial-custody dad who lives in a non-trick-or-treat-friendly neighborhood. We take my daughter to Boo at the Zoo every year--it's usually the weekend before Halloween, so my daughter then gets to do the actual trick-or-treating in her mom's neighborhood, too.

On Halloween, my wife and I walk over to a nearby fancier neighborhood and join in the fun there. There are some folks there who throw a party every year, with a table outside for candy distribution. There are definitely kids who come in from other areas; everyone expects and plans for that. It's all part of the fun for us.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:08 AM on November 2, 2007

Never heard of this before now, but it doesn't surprise me. Some neighborhoods just aren't conducive to trick-or-treating.

Also, to provide another data point... My brother and sister-in-law closed on their house on the 30th, and have been living in my SIL's parent's condo in the interim. And their new house is in a very new development. So they had to drive my niece somewhere to trick-or-treat.

And hummercash, I had a couple rude ones too. I gave out FULL SIZE Snickers, Twix and Smarties, and still a couple kids tried to grab an extra one. Sheesh!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:20 AM on November 2, 2007

For all of the kids that come to my door without a costume, well I stopped asking about it. Some of the kids may be coming from from some serious dysfunction, and I don't even know if they even have two sets of clothes, never mind a costume.
Something for you stale candy folks to consider.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:24 AM on November 2, 2007

We were the receivers of a driven child. Mrs. Writer is a teacher, and a student from her school (but not her class) recognized her. He lives about 30+ minutes (highway driving) away from our house.

She later asked his teacher about it, and was basically told, "He came out all that way because his mom was too afraid of him going door to door in their neighborhood, so they thought a subdivision in a whole other county would be safer." Later on, she heard basically the same story: inner-city kids were being driven far, far away to out-of-county subdivisions for safety.
posted by fijiwriter at 7:28 AM on November 2, 2007

A bit off topic, but my mom stocks Teddy Grahams and Goldfish snack packs for toddlers and now has a neighborhood-wide cult following of trick or treaters. Since she attracts the smaller kids in the cute-as-a-button, Halloween-is-so-cool stage, it's a win win. It seems to me that people who hand out dollar bills are just asking for abuse.
posted by B-squared at 7:38 AM on November 2, 2007

I lived in a small town an hour outside a small city and we'd get some of the town trick-or-treaters--not because they thought they'd get better candy but because their parents thought a small town would be safer, that there'd be no razor blades, or whatever they were worried about. It was always easy to spot them, too, since it was a small town and we knew all the locals.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:42 AM on November 2, 2007

Wait, people give out money?

We had a bunch of kids in the neighborhood I was in who were collecting for UNICEF. I can remember doing that when I was a little kid and I was so psyched to see people doing it, I put tons of change in their little orange boxes.
posted by jessamyn at 8:41 AM on November 2, 2007

We live in a large neighborhood chock full of kids of all ages and I have two friends who live in teeny-tiny cul-de-sac neighborhoods (literally: the entire neighborhood is one cul-de-sac. 20 houses in one and maybe 10 in the other) so we invited them and the six kids they have between them to our neighborhood to trick-or-treat. No one here cares (really, no one does) and my friends left bowls of candy on their front porches* for the few trick-or-treaters in their neighborhoods. The kids LOVED trick-or-treating here. Our neighborhood is pretty well known for being aces on Halloween.

*People do it here, too; there are generally signs that say how much you can take. There aren't any roving bands of horrible kids here, and the under 12 set always has at least one parent per group.
posted by cooker girl at 8:51 AM on November 2, 2007

We live in a nicer neighborhood than we used to, and this year was the first year we stayed close to home. Before, we always took the kids to go trick-or-treating at the mall. We live in Minnesota where it can get cold this time of year, and the mall is well-heated and relatively safe. The candy there is terrible, though - all Tootsie Rolls and hard candy.
posted by streetdreams at 9:22 AM on November 2, 2007

but they were too lazy to get out of their cars and followed them around from the comfort of the driver's seat

Yes that happened here (frozen North) as well - our neighbourhood has a double-hazard though. One household does a spectacular decorated/theme event where you walk through their entire house and get spooked accordingly. This invariably attracts TV camera crews and out-of-neighbourhood attendee's/lookee-loo's, none of which seem to slow down. However, this is a charitable event, donations welcome, proceeds go to a local hospital cancer ward.

The ones that made me laugh were these two huge teenagers who were the first at our door (not bad costumes, the one had a complete biohazard suit on) - and then about half an hour later I see them driving out of our neighbourhood to hit another one... ;-) If you can drive, you shouldn't be trick'or'treating - but I had to admire them anyways.

The last of the older kids came through at about 8:45pm and then we shutdown the lights. We had to go out at 9:15pm and watched as groups of older kids were still at it.

My kids tried to collect for UNICEF (and we had a bowl of change) but here they didn't give out little boxes anymore, but envelopes for "pledging". Ugh.
posted by jkaczor at 9:26 AM on November 2, 2007

jessamyn writes "We had a bunch of kids in the neighborhood I was in who were collecting for UNICEF. "

Oh sure UNICEF. We have that too though it was in addition to getting treats.
posted by Mitheral at 9:36 AM on November 2, 2007

When I was a kid, my mom would drive me to my uncle's house and I'd trick or treat with my cousin (we're the same age.) His neighborhood was suburban, working-class, but safe. The neighborhood we lived in at the time was definitely not safe after dark. This was before the mall Halloween thingies.

In the neighborhood where I live now there aren't many little kids. We recognize the kids and a lot of them had their relatives from the city with them this year. In this case, I'm sure it's safety rather than better treats.
posted by Electric Elf at 12:51 PM on November 2, 2007

Very common in Chicago. My boss tells me they actually get church buses bringing entire busloads.

I have no objection to this. However, I stopped answering my door when the "tourists" outnumbered and started deliberately intimidating the neighborhood kids, refused to show up in costume, and in at least one case had a parent threaten me (when I objected to giving candy to 15 year olds not in costume).
posted by nax at 2:04 PM on November 2, 2007

Seeing this linked in the podcast reminded me that I wanted to post a sort of follow up. A few people here noted that there seems to be an epidemic of older kids from lower income neighborhoods trick or treating, not wearing costumes.

I work with youth from a part of town that is euphemistically referred to as "marginalized" - basically, we're talking about a lower income area with a majority of residents being nonwhite. Anyway, the group of kids I work with are ages 12-18, mixed ethnicity, all generally from working-class families. The day after Halloween, I asked what everyone had done for the holiday. About half of them said they did nothing. The other half went trick or treating (on the younger end of the spectrum). One kid went bowling (?).

Anyway, I asked the trick-or-treaters what their costumes were. And only one kid of this group had a costume at all (I'll get to that in a minute). So I asked why they didn't have costumes. I got a range of answers, which were pretty interesting. Mostly they said they didn't have the time and money for a costume, that their parents discouraged them from wearing costumes. They discourage them because people of color wearing masks/costumes which change their appearance tend to be eyed suspiciously, even in their own neighborhood and especially if they go to other neighborhoods where they do not live. I heard two kids say that "it's not safe" to wear a mask because it limits your vision, and anything else might impede your ability to get away from "bad guys" (bear in mind, a lot of these kids don't differentiate what "bad guys" are - could mean a child molester, could mean a gang member, could mean a cop).

The one girl who did have a costume to go trick or treating? She went as a "gangster", and so did her mother and sister (this is a black family, for the record). They thought it would be funny to wear baggy pants, hats and "bling" and basically be caricatures of thugs - this way they could use clothing and items they already had and didn't have to spend a lot of money on costumes. The problem? They went trick or treating in a middle-class, mainly white neighborhood nearby and most of the houses asked them why they weren't wearing costumes! Or at best, "what are you supposed to be?"
posted by SassHat at 7:48 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

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