Trick or Treat?

Halloween, Trick or Treat, Kingston, OntarioTrick or treating has changed a lot in the past couple of decades.  Growing up in the eighties in a suburban part of a fairly large city, it was standard practice to step outside your front door to meet up with a horde of kids from your school to roam the neighbourhood.  Hundreds of kids were out with and without their parents and pretty much every house participated.  The few friends I had who lived in the more rural parts of town usually had to do a short drive to an area where houses weren’t acres apart, but still did generally the same as us city kids.

Trends seem to be changing and leaning towards a less personal Halloween experience.  Cities like Burlington, ON begin trick or treating the weekend before Halloween by opening up their malls and main shopping strip to tiny ghosts and goblins during the daytime.  In other cities, primarily in the United States, trick-or-treat times are assigned to various stores and even neighbourhoods.  When did it get so complicated?

When I was a student at Queen’s, I lived in apartment buildings and didn’t see too many little ones on Halloween.  I’ve been living in a house away from the students for just over four years now and I have to say, my expectations have not been met.  Halloween kind of makes me feel like the kid who got stood up for the prom.  All dressed up with my bowl of candy only to have about 5 kids come to my door.  With plenty of schools and young children living in my neighbourhood, I’ve never understood why more don’t come.  Part of the problem is my neighbours.  When I look out the window on Halloween, I see many, many dark houses.  In order to maximize candy collection, most kids will skip the blocks with only a house or two lit up.  This week, we want to know if you participate in this annual spooky custom.  So we ask:

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Tell us your Halloween story.  Was your situation growing up the same as mine or did you have a completely different experience?  If you do or do not participate now, drop us a comment below and let us know why.  For those who do plan to participate, here’s a fun video to prepare you for the big loot trade on November 1st.  Happy Halloween!

Thanks to Hanna Horwarth for today’s photo.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

4 thoughts on “Trick or Treat?

  • Growing up in a rather small community, there were only about 100-150 homes that we could actually visit on Halloween. Even so, as our trick or treat area was so close to home, we could actually stop at home mid-way through the night to unload our pillow cases, which made for quicker to-ing and fro-ing. The biggest and most common score back in the day tended to be cans of pop, which were rather heavy to lug around – another reason to unload at home. I think I trick or treated well into Highschool, although admittedly the last few years were moreso about hanging out with friends rather than collecting candy.

    I recall the Cat Centre, and perhaps even stores downtown doing Halloween the weekend before the big day. Would be surprised if that has changed. What better way to encourage people to come to your store and buy stuff than to give out free candy.

  • There are just no kids in my neighbourhood, I kept putting out pumpkins for years but when you only get 5 kids, it's not worth it. There weren't any other pumpkins on my street that I could see either.

    • When we moved into our downtown home about 4 years ago, we had big dreams about what Halloween might bring. Over the past few years, we've been sadly disappointed by the lack of participation on our block, and the correspondingly low number of trick or treaters we've attracted. But we've toughed it out. This year we got a record high 2 dozen, and what is more promising is that 4 of our neighbors were actually handing out candy. Still far to many dark homes on our block, but this past year was a definite step in the right direction. I would encourage anyone in our situation to keep the faith. If you built it, they will come.

      • I'd have to buy Bounty bars or something I didn't like to avoid eating it all after the aforementioned 2 kids showed up. Being as how -I- hate them, though, I can't see as that any other person would be thrilled to get a Bounty bar either. Or black licorice. Or those inexplicable black and orange ?toffees? that are apparently still made by someone, somewhere, for reasons unknowable to any that have not dealt with unclean spirits and dybbuks.

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