My husband and I live in an old neighbourhood with a Public School located one block away. There are plenty of kids who live in the neighbourhood, enough to warrant a “children at play” traffic sign just one lamp post away from our house. But, one odd thing we’ve noticed living in our small town that seems to escape us: kids in my neighbourhood hardly trick-or-treat on Hallowe’en. Where do the kids go?
In all honesty, tonight is not a great night for trick-or-treating…at least in my neighbourhood. It has been spitting rain off and on all night. I was on candy duty tonight, and didn’t have a single ghowl or goblin knock down my door. But, before you go blaming the weather, the trick-or-treating turn-out has been this way consistently since we moved to this town almost 9 years ago.
Our first Hallowe’en in our current town of Stouffville was a shock to the system for us. We had just moved from Barrie, Ontario about six months prior. Our neighbourhood in Barrie was a newly built subdivision that saw a lot of children move in. If you ever want to see a feeding frenzy on Hallowe’en, you needed to witness South Barrie’s kiddos go loco for rolos* (and everything else you had that was edible). This created a very active (not to mention expensive) Hallowe’en. That last Hallowe’en in Barrie saw 160 children come to the door within a one hour period. I basically sat in the hallway with the door open as the succession of Spideys, Batmans and Princesses paraded past my front door, hoping to get in on our Caramilks and Crispy Crunches. When I ran out of candy, down to the basement I went for the cans of cola. After all of that was depleated, I almost reached in for the apples and baby carrots before I came to my senses, and just turned off the lights. “Sorry, we’re closed!”
My husband would always insist on us getting candy that we would actually enjoy after the trick-or-treating was over, so single serving chocolate bars and bags of chips were preferred to sugary gummy bears and Skittles. Our first Hallowe’en in Stouffville, we weren’t sure what to expect, or how much candy to buy. I started with a box of 95 mini-chocolate bars, but my husband and I kept thinking this wouldn’t be enough, probably the stresses of living through a Hallowe’en in Barrie – we will need more! I ended up getting the last of what was left of the candy at Shopper’s Drug Mart, which was 2 boxes of chips and another box of 45 chocolate bars. We decorated the stairwell, poured the candy into a pumpkinhead bowl, and got ready for them kiddos.
We waited, and waited…
…and the streets were eerily silent…I didn’t hear anything out there…
At 8 PM, I stuck my head outside to see what was going on. The wind was brisk, and was howling through the bare tree limbs as the fallen leaves scurried down the street. I could hear no one outside. No excited screems from children… no cars, even! Weird!
We got zero kids that night, and we were surprised.
There was a lot of candy left over from that night. We gave away some of it to our co-workers, and ate the rest in stages.
Since then, trick-or-treating numbers have fluctuated. Two years ago we saw a whopping 10 children, which was a record number. Overall, we’ve probably had about 30 kids max come to the door since we moved to Stouffville.
Where are the kids going on Hallowe’en? Maybe to parties? Creating their own traditions that don’t include door-to-door solicitation? I don’t know.
A similar scenario happened this year – we had hoped we’d have kids to the door and thus bought a honking box o’ bars. The weather was not co-operating tonight, so I suppose we’ll use that as the excuse for why I had no one come to my door. I guess there is always next year.
In the meantime, pass the chocolate, Hubs!