Halloween as a community building exercise


I am a chocolate fiend, which means I love Halloween. But one of the things I appreciate the most about Halloween is that it gives me the opportunity to knock on my neighbours door and have a chat.

In recent years, it seems that walking around your neighbourhood has been replaced  by walking the malls as the way for families to have a safe Halloween experience. This is a shame and, to me, represents a missed opportunity to contribute to a stronger neighbourhood. The simple act of getting to know your neighbours goes a long way to creating a safe place for everyone.

In some respects, this thinking gets back to the post-pagan roots of contemporary Halloween, according to The History of Halloween from The History Channel.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment.

What could be more neighbourly than knocking at their doors with a couple of cute kids in tow? Is there a better opportunity to strike up a conversation about the issues in our neighbourhood? And what a chance to show my kids that the houses on our street, usually devoid of any signs of life when we walk up and down the street (except for our neighbour Tom 4 houses down who always seems to be tinkering with a truck in his driveway when we wander past) are homes inhabited by friendly faces.

So, this Halloween the kids and I will be taking our time walking up and down the street, making a real effort to get to know the faces behind the doors. Munching on Kit Kats and gummy worms the whole time, of course.

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