04 November 2009

Trend: No Trick or Treating at many 55+ Adult Communities


Halloween how-to: Try these tricks so you can enjoy treats
Linda Shrieves
Sentinel Staff Writer
October 31, 2009

Halloween may be a kid's favorite holiday (after Christmas, of course). Kids know what to do, but what about adults? Here's the skinny on the hottest neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, the best treats and what time it's OK to turn out the lights.

Best trick-or-treating areas

Live in a neighborhood where there aren't many trick-or-treaters — or people handing out candy? You can head to malls or community events — or follow the lead of candy-hungry trick-or-treaters and head for well-heeled communities with reputations for giving out more chocolate and less candy corn. Not that we'd do that (because frankly, it's a pain to drive around with kids on a sugar high) but some choice neighborhoods include Celebration, Hunter's Creek or Waterford Lakes (where there are more kids per capita than any other place in Central Florida). Translation: They're used to kids there.

One of the best

Dommerich Hills in Maitland, where the streets are teeming with kids. For years, the neighbors in this subdivision have put on what appears to be one heck of a street party. Said resident John Deroo: "It's the biggest neighborhood party I've ever seen. One guy has a popcorn machine; another guy makes snow cones. They all try to outdo each other."

Trick-or-treating deluxe

In Isleworth, the ritzy subdivision that's home to Tiger Woods and Shaquille O'Neal, the mansions are so far apart that kiddies in costume go trick-or-treating in golf carts. Not only do they dress up the kids, but some families also decorate their carts — as the Flintstones' mobile or a circus train, replete with clowns.

Trick-or-treating to the oldies

Thinking about trick-or-treating in a 55-plus community? Fuhgeddaboutit. Even The Villages, the huge retirement community in Lake and Sumter counties, stopped having its annual trick-or-treating event for kids several years ago. "I don't see too many kids around here," said one employee. "Except when the grandkids are visiting."

Are you ever too old to trick or treat?

Apparently not. In an informal e-mail survey of moms, we found none would turn away teens or college students — as long as they are dressed in costume. Even those who show up at her doorstep without a costume get some candy, said Orlando mom Barbara Jones, though it "may be something my daughter got and does not like."

Candy or healthy goodies?

Are you handing out raisins or apples or little bags of peanuts? Good for you, but you're in the minority. Eighty-two percent of Americans hand out bite-size candy bars and 45 percent hand out multiple types of candy treats, such as miniature candy bars, lollipops, gummy candy and non-chocolate candies, according to marketing firm NPD Group. Breaking from that tradition is Gail Hill Smith, an Orlando mom and health counselor, who hands out boxes of raisins, peanuts in shells and individually wrapped toothbrushes. (Don't egg her house, please.)

Be prepared, people

Most Americans say they buy enough candy to prepare for Halloween. But 25 percent admit they often run out of treats. When the supply of candy runs out, they either turn off the porch lights and refuse to answer the door, or they run out to buy more, or scavenge around for other food or coins to hand out. And, yes, some hand out the candy their kids have just collected. (Shame on you, parents!)

Lights out!

What's an acceptable time to turn off the porch light and douse the jack-o'-lantern? Local moms turn off the lights around 9 p.m., sometimes a little later if Halloween falls on a weekend (as it does this year).

Linda Shrieves can be reached at 407-420-5433 or lshrieves@orlandosentinel.com.
Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel

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