On Halloween I set a pretty hectic schedule for my son to go trick-or-treating. First, to Grandma's condo, then the outdoor mall, then to church for its first annual "Trunk or Treat", then to Grandpa's neighborhood, then back home to our neighborhood.
The mall has always been a great place to trick-or-treat. I know that merchants enjoy this, though having been a merchant myself, it's thoroughly exhausting to be bombarded by an uncountable number of kids all night. More recently(in my experience anyway) churches have joined in the fun.
For example, at our church, volunteers decorated the insides of their trunks, trucks and vans in various themes for a "Trunk or Treat", a modified tailgate party if you will. My favorites were the "Mission Impossible" trunk, where kids had to climb in a dark, fog-filled truck through laser beams to retrieve their treat, and the Disco, complete with disco ball and laser "dance floor". It doesn't get better than shakin' it to ABBA's "Supertrooper" in the church parking lot.
Meanwhile, inside the church there was chicken noodle soup for everyone, "tacos in a bag", hundreds of home made cookies, a cupcake walk, and videos for the kids. Who woudn't want to stay there and hang out?
I felt guilty, but I kind of rushed my son out of there after he won his plate of cupcakes so that we could go trick-or-treating in Shorewood, which is Grandpa's nice neighborhood of mostly rambling 50's era homes with generous views of the Puget Sound. This is where all the trick-or-treaters were. Lovely, brightly lit homes decked out in Halloween decorations.
I guess it's always been the case that some people bring their kids to the nicer neighborhoods to go door-to-door. In contrast, there were very few kids trick-or-treating in my neighborhood, which is about a mile from Grandpa but much less well-heeled. We didn't have such a great turnout at our house, even though we(and everyone else on my street) are very generous with the candy - no Dum-Dums on our street! (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)
As we headed home we passed by three more churches - two more with "Trunk or Treat" events and one with bouncers and other goodies for the kids. Perhaps in the next few years we won't see any trick-or-treaters at our house at all.
As for me, I feel safer trick-or-treating at public events than I do at individual homes. Then again, there won't be as much walking, so we'll have to be more conscious of the amount of candy that we consume.
At least at church my son probably won't have to worry about the bag-snatching, costumeless teens that start roaming the streets after 8:00 at night. Who needs that? Maybe when he's their age, bag-snatching, costumeless teens will be a thing of the past. Well, one can only hope.