These Neigh(boo!)hoods Know How to Do Halloween



Holidays dont get more neighborly than Halloween. For one night a year, half the neighborhood goes knocking on every door, and the other half greets them with treats and smiles. If it werent for all the costumes and candy, it might seem like community spirit was the whole point.

For some neighborhoods, it really is. As if the door-to-door candy party wasnt neighborly enough, these residents get together to build outrageous Halloween lawn displays, throw a week-long Halloween party, and other neighborhood-wide activities that bring the whole hood closer together. We trick-or-treated our way throughWhat Locals Say, our database of residents insights on their neighborhoods, to find five of Americas best neighborhood Halloween celebrations.

College Hill, Wichita, Kansas

Broadview Street in WichitasCollege Hillneighborhood is known as Halloween Street or Trick-or-Treat Street during the month of October. Neighbors here design elaborate Halloween-themed displays on their front lawns, creating what resident Trish Hileman describes as an idyllic Halloween spectacle.

Hileman recalls displays ranging from a pirate ship to a recreation of the Byers familys living room from Stranger Things, complete with alphabet lights. Trick-or-treaters turn out in droves to collect their candy in the festive atmosphere. I get pretty constant traffic starting at 5:30, Hileman says. No matter how much candy I buy, I seem to run out by 8:30.

Creating Halloween Street is a bonding experience for College Hill residents. Hileman recalls meeting one of her neighbors at an estate sale where the neighbor was buying numerous old baby dolls. Hileman asked if the neighbor was a doll collector, but it turned out the dolls were just props for a Halloween Street display. She said, Unfortunately, these baby dolls are not going to look so great when Im through with them, but its all for fun, Hileman says.

Eastmoreland, Portland, Oregon

Brian Glanville says Halloween festivities in Portlands Eastmoreland neighborhood are not an organized deal. Some neighbors decorate, some host parties, and some create more elaborate scenes in their front yards. But what they may lack in organization, they more than make up for in quantity: The neighborhood attracts thousands of trick-or-treaters every year.

Eastmoreland has become such an attraction for Portland kids that some neighbors have turned it into a game. According to a 2014 Oregonian article, residents Bob and Shirley Grew compete with their neighbors to see who can draw the most ghosts and goblins to their door. Their record? They counted a whopping 1,600 trick-or-treaters with a handheld counter.

Glanville says Eastmorelands draw is largely due to the pocket neighborhoods cozy feel, located in close proximity to Portlands central business district, but still possessing a safe, suburban feel. The spirit that drives his neighbors Halloween fun is, in fact, drove him to live there in the first place. He grew up in Eastmoreland in the 50s, and although his parents moved away when he was 14, the neighborhood left a lasting impression on him. When I came back to Portland in the early 80s, I moved right back in, he says. I knew where I wanted to live.

Irvington, Indianapolis, Indiana

Halloween festivities in Indianapolis Irvington neighborhood got off to a fairly modest start back in 1946 with a simple parade and costume contest. But today the parade is what resident Nancy Tindall-Sponsel describes as the crowning jewel in the Historic Irvington Halloween Festival. The festival comprises an entire weeks worth of Halloween-related events including a charity masquerade ball, an organ concert, a coffin race, a slightly haunted puppet show, and even a public seance.

Why is Halloween is so big in Irvington? Irvington is one of the most haunted neighborhoods in Indianapolis, says Tindall-Sponsel. Cant argue with that.

And you wouldnt want to argue with the army of neighbors who pull off the Historic Irvington Halloween Festival, either. More than 240 neighborhood volunteers make the haunting happen each year. We all just kind of click together and we all help each other out, Tindall-Sponsel says. Helping out is actually the bottom line for many of the weeks events. Various activities raise money and collect canned goods for causes, and theres even a blood drivethe creepiest way to help your neighbors.

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York

The Ragamuffin Parade in Brooklyns Bay Ridge neighborhood has been going strong since 1966, when a local priest started it to give kids some safe Halloween fun. Back then, they didnt even wear costumes.

Kids just wore their parents clothes so they looked messy like little ragamuffins, says resident Joan Curran on the event website. I marched down Fourth Avenue, leading the whole thing alongside Father McKenna. It was priceless.

Today, thousands of kids pour intoBay Ridgefrom surrounding neighborhoods to walk in the parade and participate in the closing costume contest, with the winner in each category taking home a new bicycle.

Ragamuffin Parade Committee president and Bay Ridge resident Arlene Keating stresses that the parade is still all about the kids, but its now followed by a more adult-oriented street festival the following Sunday. The entire Ragamuffin Weekend is beloved by Bay Ridge residents young and old, past and present. Its their opportunity to catch up with people they havent seen in years, Keating says. Its a great community environment.

East Shore, New Haven, Connecticut

The annual Halloween parade in the micro-neighborhood of Morris Cove withinNew Havens East Shore has been going on so long that locals have truly lost count of its history. Salvatore DeCola, the neighborhoods alderman and a parade organizer, says its been going on for over a quarter century. A 2016 article in the New Haven Independent said that years parade was the 50th (or the 49th or 47th; nobody could exactly remember).

In any case, its a multi-generational tradition for many families. Grandparents are bringing their grandkids and doing the same route they did as a child, DeCola says. Its almost too sweet to be scary.

Families frequently dress up together and compete in the costume contest at parades end. DeCola fondly remembers when he and his family members dressed up as the cast of The Wizard of Oz for his then 8-year-old adopted daughters first Halloween in Morris Cove. DeCola says neighbors bond over putting on a good show for the hundreds of parade walkers and trick-or-treaters who swarm the neighborhood.

Its just a festive night, and people are honored to do it, he says.








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Looking for a festive neighborhood to call your own? Screen your favorite neighborhood for holiday spirit onTrulias neighborhood pages.


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