October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat Traffic Report: South Kingstown is Off

Monique Chartier

Just back from spending Halloween evening at the best decorated yard and front walk in South County. (Scary branches with lanterns, floating heads, cob webs, lighted jack-o-lanterns, chattering skeletons, organ music, spooky fog, "real" zombies grabbing at ankles as the young guests select candy.) The hostess shook her head throughout the evening at the dearth of trick-or-treaters compared to last year, a trend confirmed by a tween trick-or-treater who stopped by after making the round of the neighborhood and reported "90% fewer kids" over last year.

Was this paralleled around the state (hopefully not)? We speculated about the cause and came to the tentative conclusion that (sigh) fear of H1N1 may have kept people home this year.

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Coventry was rockin'. I didn't keep track this year since I was out with my kids, but there were oodles and oodles of folks out tonight.

Hopeful sign: way fewer "pimp" costumes this year than I recall from the last few.

Posted by: Pseu at October 31, 2009 10:50 PM

It gets worse every year in providence.I like when the neighborhood kids come by,especially the little ons with their parents,but the last few years we're getting more and more vans and carloads from other neighborhoods,and one crew tonight said they were from Connecticut!
And they're older,too.I think some of these "trick or treaters" are reselling candy at flea markets or something.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 31, 2009 11:07 PM

We were down about 30%. My wife also noticed that the majority of the kids were older like around 12-14. Not very many 5-8 year olds.

Posted by: Roland at October 31, 2009 11:23 PM

Well, this was my first Halloween as a homeowner, so the lady and I decided to forgo costume parties in Providence and hand out candy instead.

Turnout in Pawtucket was low, but we managed to get all the goods dispersed by just letting the few and the proud grab as much as their conscience allowed.

It was quite hilarious to be the guy arguing for 'strict oversight of non-profit expenditures' to my girlfriend (who works at one), while letting kids take as much candy as they wanted. She told me not to let the ones who weren't wearing actual costumes take more than one piece, but I felt bad; a lot of these kids only have one parent, and it probably takes two jobs (or state assistance) just to make ends meet. I figure that if you're a minor -not- wearing a costume for trick-or-treat, it probably has more to do with economics than apathy, and holidays are no time to pass judgment on one's neighbors.

I did get a chance to meet a lot of good parents and kids though, and it was nice to see good people wandering about, considering the overall pessimism plaguing the state.

Posted by: mangeek at November 1, 2009 1:57 AM

Same experience in Tiverton, in one of those neighborhoods to which parents typically drive their children to trick-or-treat. Perhaps some of it was H1N1. A lot of it was probably the weather. Given the forecast, even our children were ready to call it quits with the first few drops of drizzle.

My gut's also telling me the economy has something to do with it — not necessarily with respect to being able to afford costumes or candy, but just a general feeling of hunkering down and doing with less. We're in serious times, and whatever the superstitious and morbid origins of the holiday, dressing up in store-bought costumes and gathering packaged candy is sort of frivolous.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 1, 2009 7:43 AM

Very few trick or treaters in Providence last night, and almost all older.

Posted by: Dan at November 1, 2009 8:43 AM

Rather quiet night in North Providence. Very well behaved, and they had parental supervision.
The Celtic holiday rituals (including bonfire) I attended later in a rural part of the state were quite fun, too - the drizzle failed to douse the flame.

Posted by: rhody at November 1, 2009 10:21 AM

Only two groups of older kids visited us at our Portsmouth Condo - 3 boys and 2 girls. Nice costumed and very polite.

Posted by: Bob W at November 1, 2009 11:00 AM

Down from last year.

Total count was 53 in one of the nicer areas of WW!!!!

Posted by: Aldo at November 1, 2009 11:31 AM

In the Oaks, also in South Kingstown, I'd say more kids came around this year than last year, but a far cry from about 7 or 8 years ago when we would have well over 100.

I don't think it's H1N1 or the economy as much as parents becoming more savvy of the health consequences of too much candy and the fact that people don't really know their neighbors like was the norm in years past.

There are REAL boogie men out there.

Posted by: RITaxpayer at November 1, 2009 12:02 PM
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