We realize Halloween just passed, and it seems like it might be a little late to be writing about how to have a worry free Halloween. But, before you stash this article away to be read next October, you need to hear us out.
We're not talking about some kind of quick tip to make sure you don't come across any last minute costume malfunction. Or the secret to quick and easy decorating. Or even a foolproof way to make sure you have exactly the right amount of candy for the kids.
No. This week in the Why Be A Better Neighbor Series, we're talking about how neighborhood relationships over the next 356 days will make your next Halloween more enjoyable.
Let us start by telling you how we celebrated Halloween in our neighborhood this year.
Two days before Halloween
A couple that lives a few blocks from us is from New Jersey. And, apparently, where they're from, everyone celebrates Halloween on Saturday. Regardless of what day it actually falls on. So, They talked all the neighbors on their block (people they knew) into passing out trick-or-treat candy on Saturday.
And, they invited all the kids from the surrounding block to jump in a bounce house, eat pizza, and run around like crazy people in their costumes. There ended up being about 30 kids! And when it got dark, all 30 of those kids went door to door getting candy.
One day before Halloween
Joe's mom lives in a retirement community. You know what that means on Halloween? No kids in the neighborhood equals no kids trick-or-treating. So what does she do every year? She asks all her neighbors (people she knows) if they would like to hand out candy to her cute little grandchildren in their cute little costumes the day before Halloween.
So, we went to her house before noon with the kids all dressed up, and they got to trick-or-treat for the second time...before it was even Halloween!
Just as the sun was going down, a group of neighbors gathered in front of our house in costumes. And, we began our walk through the neighborhood.
We only walked about 10-12 blocks, but that was plenty of houses for our kids to all have heaping buckets and bags full of more candy than any human should eat in an entire year. And you want to know what the kids' favorite part was? When we got home, we let them eat whatever they wanted out of their stash.
We didn't make them wait while we checked the homemade goods for razor blades. We didn't dig out and discard everything with an open wrapper. We didn't have to make sure the candy was safe before our precious children ate it.
We don't think so. And you know why?
There wasn't a single door our kids knocked on that had a stranger behind it. Somebody in our group on all three days of trick-or-treating knew the people living in every house we stopped at.
How many houses could you take your kids trick-or-treating to before you ran out of people you know and trust? If you're like most families, then you wouldn't go very far. Which could be a good thing if you're trying to limit your kids' candy intake.
But, chances are, if you have kids dressed up in costumes, you're going to let them trick-or-treat at enough houses to get a bag full of candy. And if you don't know very many of your neighbors, that means you're going to have to be a little cautious about some of the candy they receive.
You have less than a year
So, now you know what your goal is for next Halloween. You need to get to know your neighbors. Not just the ones next door. You need to meet the people that live within trick-or-treating distance from you.
We know. That probably sounds like a big task. But you still have a lot of time. Use some of the ideas we gave you in Porch Sitting And 7 More Excuses To Engage Your Neighbors.
Then, once you've started to meet some new people, move on and try one of our 8 Secrets to Building Great Neighborhood Relationships.
Trust us, you and your kids will all be happy you did it.