[NOTE: This article was originally published after Halloween 2010, but it’s a worthwhile reminder for this year’s event.]
My neighborhood is either the Disneyland of Halloween or the Ivy League of Halloween for our area (our streets are called Yale, Princeton, Harvard, etc.!). I strongly prefer the latter. I should explain.
We have a reputation for being so fun on Halloween that lots and lots of trick-or-treaters come by who would never pass by our house the rest of the year. We handed out a few hundred treats last night, and we would have handed out a few hundred more if we hadn’t shut down at 8pm.
You “Halloween Tourists” know who you are. Well, I have a message for you:First, I welcome you, provided you’re respectful to our neighborhood, and provided there aren’t too many of you. Last night was fine on both counts. Thanks for sharing in the joy of our neighborhood.
Halloween is the most outstanding indicator of the quality of life our neighborhood offers our children. Your attendance in our neighborhood last night helps us appreciate what a truly great neighborhood we’ve built with our neighbors.
We don’t charge you admission, nor do we attempt to screen you in any way. However, I’d like to ask you to ask yourselves some hard questions, now that that wonderful night you had in my neighborhood is behind you.
- Why isn’t your neighborhood sufficiently interesting for you to spend Halloween night there?
- Why aren’t you working with your neighbors to make Halloween in your neighborhood better for your kids?
- Do you consider your visit to our neighborhood last night mere Disneyland-like entertainment for you and your kids, or do you consider it to be a learning experience that will help you make your neighborhood and its Halloween better?
- If you feel like your neighborhood does not have the potential to be a great place for your kids on Halloween night, as well as the rest of the year, do you think you will make this your highest priority the next time you move? If not, why not?
I sincerely hope you came here because you want to learn, not because you want to be entertained. I want our neighborhood to be your Ivy League of Halloween, not your Disneyland.
I want you to soak up everything you can about why our neighborhood works for kids, and then I want you to go home and make your neighborhood better. I want you to spend next Halloween at home with your neighbors, making it a better place for kids.
Or, if you conclude that your neighborhood can never be a great place for kids, I want you to make the huge decision to move. In your new home search, I want you to make quality of neighborhood life for kids your top priority, above the quality or size of the home itself. Then, once you find that home, buy or rent it, and move in, I want you to join with your new neighbors to make it the best place possible for your kids.
If you do one of these two things, you’ll be taking important steps toward making your kids’ lives better. That will make our work in our neighborhood, on Halloween and all year round, far more fulfilling than it already is. And we won’t miss you next year. Really…