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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trick or Treat: Halloween Tips

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Every year I like to publish a brief guide to trick-or-treating around here. I think it can be useful to those who are new to the area. If you've experienced a Halloween here before, feel free to add your tips.

1. Do kids trick or treat around here? Absolutely. It is a fact that many parents will take their kids over to Capitol Hill, but there are still plenty of kids north of H Street, & up in Trinidad. Some kids might start to come as early at 5:30, but peak time is definitely going to be 7-9pm. If you really enjoy giving out candy, you might want to consider leaving work an hour early.

2. I bought candy. Why aren't kids are coming to my house? It's dark out there. Turn on your porchlight/light your pumpkin. Otherwise kids don't know you are home. Not getting the turnout you expected? Maybe your neighbors have dark houses. Kids will skip a mostly dark block. Try attracting them with a lit jack-o-lantern or some big decorations & lights.

3. Is someone going to smash my pumpkin? Probably not. I grew up mostly in the midwest. People always smashed our pumpkins (sometimes even before Halloween!). I've not had a single pumpkin (carved, or uncarved) smashed since I move here in 2001. I've heard a few stories of smashed pumpkins in DC, but I think it's rare. Some readers report that it has happened to them.

4. Why the hell aren't those kids wearing costumes? Yes, that seems weird (and lazy) to me too. There are lots of cheap or free ways to dress up for Halloween, but it's not uncommon for kids to trick or treat sans costume. Particularly true for the older kids. That said, I think almost every kid had a costume last year.

5. Why are there a bunch of teenagers on my porch with bags? See the above note about costumes. Some teens here trick or treat until they are pretty up there in age. Something else you'll likely encounter is the parent who has their own bag for their own candy. Yep, it happens.

6. Hmm, anything else I should know? I'm glad you asked. Let's talk transportation and Halloween party safety.
A. If you drive on Halloween please watch out for others. Kids in costumes, and for adults who may have had too much to drink (or can't see well in their masks) are going to be out tonight.
B. Cabs are hard to get on big Halloween party nights (probably less of an issue since we're talking a Thursday). Keep this in mind when making plans.
C. Metro runs, use it. Seriously. It's cheap, and probably faster than a cab. Alternately you could just stay close to home.
D. Keep your pets inside. Kids (and drunk people) aren't always nice to animals. Plus, your dog might escape when someone opens the gate hoping for candy, or he could bite a kid. We're also not so far removed from July 4th. Face it, someone still has leftover fireworks.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I usually like to take my child to the east end of H St. Things are a little more established that way, and you're less likely to encounter crack houses.

Anonymous said...

I was really disappointed last year in the number of kids and teenagers that didn't bother to put on any kind of costume at all. And the shamelessness of the (un-costumed) adults who demanded some of the candy that I, in my naivete, had purchased for kids wearing costumes.

Anonymous said...

I'm an adult who likes candy. Sometimes I throw on a mask and collect a bunch from my neighbors, and it lasts me a couple of weeks. Hey, it beats paying for it myself after all!

Le-ah aka LeDasha said...

Remember - 'y'all got candy???' is the new 'trick or treat'

Anonymous said...

Also, in my experience, the hours I have had kids come by seems to be from 5-8:30.

Anonymous said...

we bought 2 types of candy, good and generic/cheap, so we can give the no-costumers a single tootsie roll, we had A TON last year.

Anonymous said...

Kingman Park neighbors - how's the trick or treating there?

Anonymous said...

Kingman Park neighbors - is there much trick or treating in our 'hood? Trying not to travel too far w/ a little one. Thanks!

Robert Mann-Thompson said...

Please be careful with the teenagers. One year I had about 80 kids. Most were dressed up and cute as can be, but then there were these older boys about 15+ in age. I gave them candy, but it felt strange. Be safe out there.

curmudgeon said...

Don't forget the minivans with Maryland plates that come to the block, stop, let out a bunch of kids that circumnavigate the block for candy, load the kids back on-board, and move on to the next block.

Anonymous said...

If you're not planning on being home during the trick or treat hours, make sure you turn off all your lights! You're begging for some eggs if the kids ring the bell and you aren't home...

ro said...

i'm handing out avocados this year

Anonymous said...

@ anon 11:15-- always lots of trick or treat-ers on Gales Street in Rosedale. Not sure about further east.

Mike Jones 2813308004 said...

from experience, the best Candy can be found in the 16th and Levis area.

Anonymous said...

16th and Levis is *scary*.

Anonymous said...

@10:39, that's a great idea. Did you get much pushback when all you gave them was one tootsie roll? Two years ago we made the mistake of letting the kids select their own candy from a "caldron." This resulted in people (namely uncostumed teens and adults) taking handfuls of said candy. This year I'm wising up and handing it to each person!

Anonymous said...

If a kid isn't wearing a costume, he isn't getting any candy.

Anonymous said...

We have candy for costumes, and raisins for no costumes. We get loads of "t shirt men" south of H.

Anonymous said...

Heh, I live at the "scary" intersection. We got plenty of trick or treaters two years ago. Not as many last year for some reason, but I've got 3 bags of candy ready just in case.