urban Halloween is...different

November 3, 2014

I work in a  Baltimore neighborhood that is quaint historic waterfront by day, bar crawl central by night. Factor that into Halloween landing on a Friday, and our office kindly let everyone off an hour early to get home before the streets were shut down for the excessive partying to come.


A few minutes after 4, I stepped outside to a bright, chilly afternoon...and parents walking around with their toddlers in costume, trick or treating from the local shops. Really? At 4 p.m.? In broad daylight? Ok, fine...

I passed even more kids, older kids, on my way home- all dressed up and running around...some already making the candy rounds. I mean, most adults aren't even home to give you candy and you're out? Fine. I'm going home to walk my dog. We can talk candy when it at least looks like dusk is coming.

I'm walking Anise right at 5 and notice neighbors on their porches, candy bowls in tow, kids making their way down the sidewalks,

"Do they always come this early?" I ask a young girl on her stoop.
"Yep," she answered.
"Does anyone come...later?"
"Everyone comes at 5," she replied with a shake of her head.

I took Anise home and grabbed the candy stash for the kids who surely must be coming any minute now. An hour later, Sean spotted kids out the window. Finally! We handed candy out to the four children at our door and left it open to wait for the other two groups of kids  on our street.

Except they walked past us. What!? We clearly have candy and you're not coming to take it??
Our neighbor across the street had candy. We saw him give it to the same four children...then we never saw his door open again; nobody knocked.

People in Baltimore don't knock on doors.

It was an interesting people-watching experience. The families would study doors, not sure if they should knock or where they should go. At one point, I stood with my bowl in the glass storm door until a mother spotted me, pointed, and rushed her kids over to indulge. Weird stuff. They zig-zagged to random homes, seemingly without rhyme or reason.

My trick or treating experience was nothing like this. I went, parentless, with my siblings, friends, whoever was with me that year. We went once dusk hit up the street to every house, then back down the other side of the street. No zig-zags; we must hit every house we can! Then off to the other streets until it was too dark, late, cold, or tiring to be out any longer.

Not so in the city. I finally gave up and sat with my bowl on the porch. 30 minutes later, we were down to 4 pieces of candy. Not bad considering our neighbors likely have full bowls.

So, it was, that by 7:30 pm on Halloween, we sat in front of our TV, lights out, eating our own "treats:" $3 Chipotle, of course.

And the biggest treat? Of all the children on our street, I only saw one Elsa.

if anyone knows the original source, I'm happy to cite.

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