Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Halloween at the pinnacle of community in neighborhood

Posted on Thursday, November 9, 2006 by 2 comments

As I wrote on Oct. 31 after the kids were de-costumed and put to bed, Halloween was wonderful in our neighborhood this year… a contender for “best community day of the year”… right up there with the July street-wide yard sale and block party (party was rained out this year).

Kevin Harris caught the idea:

Here’s a curious little piece by Robert Vandervelde in the Globe and Mail raking over changes in the social experience of Hallowe’en.

It’s called ‘The neighbourhood or the mall?’ with the writer reflecting a bit glumly on the decline in the number of kids in his neighbourhood who come to the door to scrounge, sorry, earn candy.

Last year he claims that Hallowe’en “gave me a chance to feel a part of my new neighbourhood. After going months without introducing myself to some of my neighbours, I could instead demonstrate my generous spirit through liberal distribution of candy to their children.”

The turnout was poor. Apparently the kids took the soft option, missing out on the notion of scariness in the dark and getting their pickings at the mall.

I, however, lament that our kids are off the streets. Will they still skirt the dark recesses of their minds by taking candy from a Gap cashier? Will they experience the same community experience when Halloween treats are given to attract consumers instead of out of a sense of neighbourly generosity?

It can’t be the same – the fear and magic you feel when the wind blows through the trees on a dark night can’t be recreated in a mall. The wild excitement of Halloween night seems tamed when you walk down a mall looking for corporate handouts.

Thanks to David Sillito for the link.

Posted in: Community Building


  1. Valerie says:

    So many experiences are going this route, the commercialization of holidays and celebrations. I want my kids to be in connection with people, not stuff. The candy’s not the ultimate point, it’s the excuse to talk to everyone on our block!

  2. […] Well, that’s four.  Now yesterday, Richard Donnelly told me of his missing gorilla hand… last seen by the moonlight of Halloween night around Caroline Street.  So, I just put out an APB on the Five Sisters Neighborhood Forum.  Richard is offering a banana reward. Who would have known the ways that Front Porch Forum would be used when we launched it a few months ago.  Please helps these missing hands reunite with their rightful owners.  Thank you. […]

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