Special offer

Where Have All the Children Gone?

Real Estate Appraiser with Appraisal Pros in Texas

Last night was Halloween....supposed to be a fun night for the children and for the parents if you enjoy seeing the little ghosts and goblins and fairys and princesses -- oh, and lets not forget the power rangers, spiderman, wonderwoman and power rangers!

 Our light was on, jack-o-lanterns were lit and the candy bowl was full.....we had a giant bowl of candy all set to go.  I was ready and so excited.

All together we had 15 trick-or-treaters...that's it -- 15.  To add insult to injury only 4 out of the 15 were under the age of 10.  We even had one small group with an adult who was not dressed but held a candy bag out just the same.  Only about 10% of my candy is gone -- giant bowl of calories left.  I live in a nice neighborhood, quiet but nice...no reason not to come on our street.  In fact, many, many years ago we used to complain because kids were being dropped off from other neighborhoods to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood.  Where are they now?

My grandson, who is 6, was a commando and all dressed up with camoflauge make up and hair color, commando suit and all.  He went with his mother to Great Uncle Tom's (a yearly ritual) then on to the Church Halloween festival.  They came back to our house and Grandpa took Josh to a few doors on our block. Many had no light on so of course they didn't go there...some with their light on didn't answer.

I think Halloween as my generation knew it is over, gone, dead--and I am sad.  It is a sad state of affairs that we are afraid to go door to door due to crazies with drugs and razor blades.  If your child were to bring home a candy apple I am sure it would be trashed unless you knew for sure who it came from.  We have to inspect each piece of candy for pin holes in the wrapper and heaven forbid there should be an unwrapped piece of candy in the bag.

 Gosh, I am ranting!  Oh, and it feels so good to say all of this....most of all I wish it weren't true. Next year will I hand out candy? YES! I will and I will hope for more kids...will they come? I don't know...I hope so. I always hope so.







Sara Goodwin
Estimation Nation Corporation - Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon Appraiser

For years I shared your sentiments on the fading of a great holiday... until last night.

A friend invited me over to her neighborhood, which I have dubbed 'The Mayberry of Portland' to dress up, pass out candy and watch the festivities. 

We pulled into the neighborhood and as I suspected, the streets were packed with cars.... It was obvious, the secret had been out for years and my friend and I were the last to learn it... this was the place to be for a kid on Halloween night. 

Once at her house, my friend and I were immediately put on 'door duty' while the hosts went out as a family with their two children.  We did not mind at all.  We had a grand time passing out candy, complimenting kids on their costumes and refusing treats to older kids that didn't even bother to dress up (fortunately this didn't result in any pumpkin smashings).

Upon our hosts return, they exclaimed that we must go out and witness the sites.  With an open excuse to tour every house in the neighborhood, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get a bit closer to these majestic old homes.  I was not prepared for the flood of goblins and princesses I was about to encounter once we turned the corner onto the main tree-lined strip.  Every other house was adorned with ghoulish decorations and 'cackeling sound tracks'.   There were lines 20 or more deep of children with one parent parading them up the steps to a house while a line of 'the other parent' stood at the bottom ... waiting to join them in their slow walk to the next house.

The neighborhood was prepared.  There was an outdoor tent set up where the parents could get some hot cider at one house.  There were houses where four people stood all passed out candy at once to keep the lines moving (this often resulted in a crowd congestion just past their house).

Once we returned it was nearly 8pm and most of the cute kids had vanished, many of the porch lights in the neighborhood had been turned off (presumably due to candy shortages) and the big kids started emerging... until about 9:30pm.  As our friend is not on the main strip of the neighborhood, their final tally was around 300 kids... easily half of what the main strip houses received.

It was like the mall on Christmas Eve...  Crowded and slow.... but completely worth it.

Nov 01, 2007 06:02 AM
Irene Morales Ward
REMAX Distinctive Real Estate, Inc. - Stafford, VA
Realtor - e-Pro - Northern Virginia Real Estate
Alisa - I don't want to sabbotage your post but take a look at My Halloween in the 60's that I posted recently.  It might take you back.  I agree, things have changed.  Sara's account sounded delightful.  Too bad we all can't have that.  I think with areas being so transient and subdivisions getting so large, we've lost connection with our neighbors and more importantly, the kids.  If the kids don't know who they're visiting, it kind of depersonalizes the whole experience.  It then becomes all about how much candy they can collect - not about showcasing their snazzy costumes or saying hello to their neighbors.
Nov 01, 2007 11:56 PM
Alisa McKeel Willson
Appraisal Pros in Texas - Huntsville, TX
Certified Res. Appraiser

Sara, thanks for your comments....it does help restore the faith a little...smile....I wish I could have helped you  hand out candy.

Thank you, Irene!  I remember we used to try and guess who each child was...now, we wouldn't have a clue who they might be.  Even the 3 families on our street with children my grandson's age did not bring their children by.  I think we will see more activities in Churches and malls and less door-to-door here. 


Nov 02, 2007 07:34 AM
Robert Elfand
Oviedo, FL


We have a huge bowl of sugar just waiting to be eaten as well.  Too bad we can't give it to the dog!!!

We just had a horrible story from neighboring Lake County that a "trick or treater" found a razor blade in a chocolate bar (three musketeers).  As a parent, I now use a magnifying glass on the candy before I let my daughter get near it.  It is a real shame that my daughter will not be able to enjoy the same fun on Halloween that my friends and I had a chance to experience.

Nov 02, 2007 08:20 AM
Ann Heitland
Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties - Flagstaff, AZ
Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
I think there is a new Halloween -- many community centers and churches are having events on the Oct. 31 to keep the kids safe -- perhaps not a bad thing. Here is an example: First Annual Haunted House.
Nov 05, 2007 11:01 AM
Sal Poliandro - Helping People Win
RE/MAX Properties - Ridgewood, NJ
Broker Associate
Alisa - Maybe it was just a bad year.  Or at least I hope so!  I can't imaginve the spirit of trick-or-treaters leaving the younger generation of kids.  Ann is right though, many communities have organzied activities to keep kids safe during the holiday. 
Nov 05, 2007 12:05 PM
Alisa McKeel Willson
Appraisal Pros in Texas - Huntsville, TX
Certified Res. Appraiser

Irene, I think you are correct about the loss of personalization in our neighborhoods...well, at least in our area.  I've lived on the same street for 22 years and only know a few of our neighbors.


Robert, one of our radio stations here was collecting left over candy to send to the troops. I thought that was a great idea.   Razor blades -- what a horrible, scarey thought.  The hospital closest to us used to let you bring in your candy for xray...I wonder if they still do that. It might be a good idea.  You just can't be too careful.  My grandson didn't get candy from any one we didn't know in houses..the rest came from the Church.

Nov 05, 2007 07:56 PM
Alisa McKeel Willson
Appraisal Pros in Texas - Huntsville, TX
Certified Res. Appraiser

Ann, you are right it is not a bad thing but rather a sad thing that a tradition has changed so much and for the reason it has happened.

Sal, I wish it were "just a bad year" but our numbers have gone down each year.  I used to give away so much candy and worry I won't have enough.  I don't think Trick-or-Treat has been the same for quite a while now.  I guess I'll have to volunteer at the Church to get my fill of ghosts and goblins..smile. 

 I did go to my grandson's Halloween parade around the school. It was led by the principal who dressed as a chef this year...so cute. 


Thanks everyone for your comments!

Nov 05, 2007 08:01 PM