We live in what we call an “eclectic” neighborhood that’s been here since probably the late 1940s and mirrors the ethnic diversity and economic fortunes of Richmond, Texas, as a whole. Which is to say about 50% Hispanic population, 40% white, 10% black and 25% below the poverty level.
Because the houses tend to sit on large lots, they’re spread out. Kids like ours, with friends and/or relatives in the surrounding affluent “traditional” suburbs, i.e. larger homes on smaller lots much closer together, get their parents to take them to these suburbs for Halloween trick-or-treating. This leaves comparatively few children in the neighborhood.
Most of those who seek holiday candy on my street live in the trailer parks at either end of the neighborhood. Their parents are poor and speak Spanish as a first language. Their moms are apprehensive about going out for Halloween in part because of the language barrier. They come to our house because I always carve a couple of pumpkins and display them prominently out front, and turn on all the porch lights, and because I’ve been handing out candy here for 10 years while my wife takes the kids to her brother’s neighborhood to go out with the cousins.
The local moms band together and show up in groups of maybe 10-30 kids, wearing mostly homemade costumes. The moms push strollers with babies. Sometimes they approach after their kids have swarmed, with a plastic bag ostensibly for the baby. Sometimes one or two of the women will bring a bag themselves.
Sometimes I feel like I should set up a grill out front and pass out hamburgers along with the candy. I might just try that one of these years.
We have a new neighbor across the street this year, and to his credit he put out Jack-O-Lanterns and did his best to convey the holiday good will. But the previous owners of his house never participated in trick-or-treating, and had big dogs barking at the fence to boot. Not one of the neighborhood women allowed her kids to go up and ring his doorbell. I think if he keeps it up for a couple of years, he’ll make the circuit.