Monday, October 26, 2015
Tips For a Great Halloween
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.
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. You can now also add your house to the Halloween map on Nextdoor.com.
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. Squirrel problems? After the squirrels ate one of my gourds this year I ground up a chili in some water, added a tiny bit of oil and rubbed it on my pumpkins and gourds. No further damage yet. I've heard that vinegar works well on the carved ones.
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.