I live in a small town with plenty of families where I receive trick-or-treaters. The young children are accompanied by their parents and teen agers have fun going through the neighborhood with their friends.
This year, I noticed almost every child said “thank you” for the treats they took out of my orange pumpkin basket. The face makeup was more artistic than I ever remember, even on the youngest faces, and the costumes ranged from intricate glittery mesh and skins from some new Halloween store to creative homemade outfits.
But, I had loads of friends who had no trick-or-treaters. They said children don’t go through their neighborhood anymore. Parents are fearful and would rather take their children trunk-or-treating. I learned this meant the child was taken to a parking lot where lots of vehicles are decorated and their trunks are open for taking treats. Children apparently traipse around a parking lot instead of walking through their neighborhood. I can see this in rural Nebraska or Iowa where the houses and villages are miles apart. And I think this strategy is great for a neighborhood fraught with crime or safety issues but that is not the norm.
What made me consider these different experiences, neighborhood trick-or-treating vs. trunk-or-treating, was this; several of the small children and teenagers recognized me when I answered the door. One teenager said, “oh, you’re the lady who came to teach our creative writing class” and another child said, “hey, you’re grandma’s friend!”
I was instantly aware that trick-or-treating in neighborhoods does build community. I was transported back to my young days of trick-or-treating when I decided where to go when I needed to pee or if I wanted to ask for a glass of water. I knew so many people throughout my area of town and I knew I’d be welcome if I needed anything.
Trunk-or-treating may be great for some areas of the country but I hope the masses don’t get too lazy and let the drive-through mentality rob all our children of another aspect of a close knit community!