If you have kids or have ever opened your front door on Halloween night, you likely know that there are some unwritten rules we have about when it’s okay or not okay to go trick-or-treating. Children in costumes being pulled in a red wagon—okay. Pack of menacing-looking teenagers—not okay. And then somehow trick-or-treating in college is again okay, with the stipulation that you’re knocking on your college buddies’ doors and not the doors of unsuspecting local residents who aren’t totally prepared for a gang in togas. For the purpose of this conversation, let’s suspend any preconceived notions you may have about when it is and isn’t okay to be out in costume. If you are house hunting, trick-or-treating is a great idea, and here’s why.
(Note: A couple of adults with no children in tow will look suspect. If you don’t have children of your own, offer to take a friend or family member’s child out on Halloween night or ask if you can come along for the festivities.)
It’s a great way to scope out a potential new neighborhood. When else do you get the chance to go literally house to house without looking highly suspicious? Take this opportunity to really assess the area with a critical eye. Are there sidewalks for safe travel around the neighborhood, and if so, are they well-maintained? Are the streets well-lit when it turns dark? Do cars drive carefully around the area or are there vehicles speeding through? Do the neighborhood houses and yards appear lovingly tended to?
What about the people? If weather permits, are people out and about? On a night like Halloween, you should be able to get a great sense of how child-friendly a neighborhood is, if that’s something that’s important to you, by the holiday turnout. Are there lots of families trick-or-treating? If you have children of your own and are considering a neighborhood, it helps to know if your kids will have other children to play with (and who will likely attend the same schools, too). Who opens their doors and how do they interact with visiting kids? Whose lights all mysteriously turn off and curtains close each time the doorbell rings? Have folks decorated for the season? Most importantly, for the kids at least, who gives out the full-size candy bars?
You get to be undercover while you’re “investigating.” An adult traveling with a pack of kids on Halloween is an expected sight. You can come as you are with no worries about being the creepy person who drives too slowly in front of a house you like. Better yet, you can go incognito! Join the kids in the fun of dressing up and pretending to be someone (or something) else for a night. If you’re imaginative enough with that costume, you might sit across from prospective sellers one day to close on a house with them none the smarter that they’ve already interacted with you before.
Even grown-ups need some fun every once in a while. So, this one’s not directly related to trick-or-treating and house hunting. But it is relevant. If you are in any stage of a PCS, it can be too easy to forego fun because you’re up to your eyeballs in lists of things to do or you’re already beginning to live out of boxes and don’t want to even think about pulling out stuff that’s already been packed. If you’re in the middle of the deployment of a loved one, maybe you just don’t feel like celebrating holidays at all. And that’s totally okay. But sometimes fun is just what you need to take a break from all the “doing” and to enjoy “being” for a little bit. You can choose to be someone who goes trick-or-treating. And what’s not to love about a day when we get to play dress-up again and in exchange be rewarded with candy?