The past several Halloweens have been, well, weird. I remember when my block was teeming with kids and Halloween meant trading shifts with my mom and my sister standing near the front door handing out treats. Invariably, we used to have to run out to the store for more peanut butter cups or Snickers bars, because they'd get glommed up pretty quickly.
This year, we didn't even manage to get rid of the jar full of Atomic Fireballs I got from a sales rep. Only half a dozen groups of kids came by.
I was beginning to think that maybe our house had turned into the house that kids skipped every year because we gave out lame treats. But I don't think that's it. I think there just aren't enough kids in the neighborhood.
You don't see kids on my block diverting cars so they can play street hockey. No backyard games of Wiffle Ball or touch football. I think that maybe the neighborhood is pretty much devoid of kids these days.
Most of the folks that live around the block are older couples whose children are grown and out of the house. Most of the rest are older DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids). The older couples who raised their kids here are fleeing at the rate of a few a year - they sell their houses to the DINKs and move down south to retire.
The DINKs are the only ones that can afford their houses. The folks next door have been trying to sell their house for at least nine months now and they're holding out for $560K - the house is smaller than ours, doesn't have a pool and probably needs about as much work as our place does. What young couple just getting started out can afford that?
There are hardly any trick or treaters. Until the housing bubble pops, there won't likely be many. Having been raised there, one day I'd like to see the streets teeming with kids playing street hockey again.