If someone were commissioned to paint a picture of Halloween bliss, it would probably showcase a neighborhood full of children ringing doorbells and gathering treats. Millions of children and adults participate in the annual ritual of trick-or-treating. For urban and suburban children, close-by neighbors make it quite easy to fill up sacks of candy. However, people who live in rural areas — where homes may be miles away from one another — may find that traditional trick-or-treating poses a challenge. For kids who live by farmland or off country roads, trick-or-treating may not be a stroll through a well-lit area with sidewalks and welcoming neighbors with open doors. Such youngsters may have to traverse dark roads and dodge motorists who do not expect people to be walking on the shoulder.
So what is a rural kid, or any child whose resides in an area that is not conducive to trick-or-treating, to do?
• Hit the road. Plan a road trip to a neighborhood where trick-or-treating is encouraged in full force and is safe and inviting. Friends or family members may live in such neighborhoods and can host “out-of-town” trick-or-treaters. Others who are choosing a town off a map may want to try an app called Nextdoor. It is a free and private social media site for neighbors that employs a Treat Map. Halloween fans can see exactly which houses are trick-or-treat friendly. In 2014, Zillow issued a list of the 20 best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating as well.
• Head to a shopping center. While it may not be the same as going door-to-door, rural residents can trick-or-treat at nearby shopping centers. Many shopping centers and malls host area children and dispense treats.
• Organize a trunk-or-treat. Trunk-or-treat events involve various participants parking in a community lot and opening their trunks or truck hatches to crowds of trick-or-treaters. Often these events are hosted by churches, schools or organized clubs.
Trick-or-treating can be challenging for kids growing up in rural areas. But with a little ingenuity, such youngsters can secure their Halloween bounty as well.