Town Square

What neighborhoods are good for trick-or-treating?

Original post made by alp, Crescent Park, on Oct 18, 2008

I'd love to get a sense of the liveliest places to take my kids trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Our street is pretty quiet, it's a dead end, mostly older residents so not much Halloween traffic. Any suggestions?


Posted by fg
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:32 pm

The wealthiest neighborhoods, Old Palo Alto and Atherton,

Palo Alto Hills does not like strangers in the neighborhood, sorry

Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 19, 2008 at 5:44 pm

The region along Cowper and Waverley between Oregon and Embarcadero is nice and fairly lively about 7 to 8 PM. Many of the houses are decorated. I usually see 2 or 3 that are very elaborate with sound and animation. Some visions with the kids and houses seem right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The downside is that the large houses are somewhat further apart which or course means a longer walk per treat.
This is not to say that I endorse the implied extortion of trick-or-treat.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 19, 2008 at 9:13 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Sue
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 7:16 am

Our street gets lots of kids - from EPA and San Jose. One church brings a van and dumps hoards of kids, some of whom are taller than I am.

Posted by resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 11:52 am

I hate to have to agree, but since moving here, I have been stunned by masses of ADULTS trick or treating in the Duveneck neighborhood. Large groups come from out of area and wipe us out. Some are not even in costume. Sometimes they grab handfuls. It is stunning. They must be bussed in. I am to the point where my generosity is being severely tested. I will have to dole out ONE item to each person from now on. Usually I have permitted trick or treaters to pick something themselves but this is now unworkable. What I really want to have is actual child trick or treaters come by and enjoy their Halloween.
I am seriously considering discontinuing supporting Halloween, since the meaning is not being followed anymore anyway.
In past I have always participated in Halloween wherever we lived, and never encountered this problem. Adding to this that some people are now bringing infants and expecting candy, I have run out of candy before all the local trick or treating kids come by (the ones in the correct age group for participation).

Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:36 pm

I can understand parents not wanteing to have their kids trick-or-treat in their high crime towns, not that I like it.

But the worst is when they have no costume or as above, they are ADULTS with no costume! Could they be trick-or-treating so they can return home and pass them out in their town?

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:56 pm

The Duveneck school area is a great place to trick or treat. The neighborhood kids tend to go out earlier, the "visitors" after 7:30 or so.

As far as the adult and infant "trick or treaters" , sit outside your house and put the candy directly into the bag of kids only. Go inside and turn off your lights at about 8-8:30, the adults and big groups don't seem to come out til then. You can even put an "out of candy, sorry!" sign up...

Posted by resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 2:48 pm

I have had outside visitors extremely early, right when it was starting to get dark. Some of these wish to come before the candy runs out.
As for putting the candy directly into the bags of kids only, that's a great idea but easier said than done. I have been swamped with large groups, all pushing forward, so that it was like a wave, and hard to distinguish until you're in process. I started saying "only children" but the numbers of people swarming around, grabbing candy out of the bowl have been extreme.
Obviously the Duveneck neighborhood is famous for generosity, which is fine, but as I say I have reached the limits of my tolerance for adults and aggressive out of area teens.

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Could you have a friend come sit with you for the evening? If there were a couple of adults handing out candy it may be more controlled (and you might have more fun!) Otherwise, it sounds like a dreadful way to spend an evening, go visit a friend in a quieter neighborhood and enjoy Halloween there! If there are special neighborhood kids you want to share a treat with, do it the day before Halloween.

Posted by midtown mom
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Hey! I live in one of the suggested blocks..... and having been OVER RUN for the last few years, we say STAY AWAY!!! Get your own block going, or else go within your own darn walkable neighborhood.

Since when did this become all about grabbing the goodies?
Our neighbor is sick, sick, sick of the vans dropping off a bunch of barely costumed kids. GO HOME!

And warning: on our block we are adopting a "no adults" policy.

Posted by kitty
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 20, 2008 at 6:34 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 20, 2008 at 8:52 pm

I'm trying not to be too much of a curmudgeon, but if you neighborhood isn't 'good' for trick-or-treating, it's not the end of the world. Driving across town to troll somebody else's neighborhood seems to go against the spirit of the time. Why not stay home and have your own party? Maybe invite some friends over. Dress up, take pictures. Play games. Fix a big bowl of popcorn. Turn down the lights and tell ghost stories.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 20, 2008 at 9:45 pm

I agree with William

The best neighborhood for trick or treating is your own, not someone else's. It is plain dishonest to go somewhere else. I buy candy to give to the neighborhood kids. I expect to know who they are and do not want to give to others who have been bused in.

If your neighborhood is quiet, then make sure the neighbors know you are going to be around. Don't expect candy, but give them a forewarning that you will be around. If that doesn't appeal, then go to a shopping mall which wants your business. Don't go somewhere else and spoil it for those residents.

Posted by Too much fuss
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Halloween has become another example of competition and greed that has permeated the whole culture.
Used to be just fun for little kids, now adults have taken over with their expensive costumes and elaborate parties and over involvement in the children's Halloween.
Time to stop the ugliness, including the unhealthy candy.

Posted by Mike-Crescent Park
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:32 pm

We look to each coming Halloween with both dread and some anticipation of cute little kids in costume.I agree with the concept of kids trick or treating in their own neighborhood. But I guess EPA is no place for a kid to be out at night-the sad reality of it.

We moved here to Crescent Park over 20 years ago and were warned by neighbors about the Halloween crowds. Our peak year was over 800 (yep-really) trick or treaters. It has declined in recent years to about 400. Sometimes there are 10-15 at the door at once. Yes-the majority of kids are bussed in. The curb looks like the mornings at grade school with vans everywhere dropping of kids.

The technique that works is to set the bowl of candy inside out of reach, and carry over to the door the candy for the kids (mostly) That way no one can grab handfuls.

We used to be able to get our niece and nephew to man the door on Halloween because they liked being in costume and seeing the kids. Now they are too old, and we have to do it again ourselves. A positive attitude, and a resolve to quit at 8:30pm sharp helps.

Posted by sid
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm

frankly I am sick and tired of strangers prowling around my area under the guise of trick or treat, I am sure many criminals use the event to case houses, in the last few years there have been many more adults begging enough is enough-- we need local resident patrols to monitor if the people are rerally residents of Palo Alto we need to protect ourselves

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:03 am

Wow, I've lived all over Palo Alto and have never seen what you guys are describing--not even when I lived in Community Center ages ago. I suppose it's partly whether you're on a main drag or near a drop-off point.

I think we had five trick-or-treaters last year.

Posted by sid
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2008 at 7:08 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by paly parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:48 am

We used to live in crescent park on a block with lots of kids, decorations, etc. We would easily go thru 30 bags of candy in a couple hours.

Posted by Parent of teens
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2008 at 9:22 am

There are many things that older kids could do at Halloween rather than trick or treat. They could actually try collecting canned goods for a food bank, or they could help out with events for younger kids.

Many families I know are actually trying to get away from the traditional trick or treat and go to shopping malls, community events or similar instead.

Halloween is becoming too commercialized and when most kids get too much candy at school and other events and many parents dump most of it, it is becoming just another time for kids to get over-indulged.

My advice is to try and find something fun to do which is different. The Palo Alto Bowl used to have costume bowling and Winter Lodge costume ice skating, much more like good fun for older kids.

Posted by Pierce
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2008 at 9:45 am

I had good luck in my neighborhood the last couple of years - nice kids came to my house, and I took my daughter to the homes of many friendly neighbors.
When it comes to candy, I have started taking 1 piece of candy and putting in the kids bags myself. If you hold out the bowl, they naturally take a few. I don't think its some sinister indictment of schools or culture - I just think when you see a big bowl of candy and you are kid, you'll take a handful. I also don't let them decide - you get what you get, I only have variety to make the bowl look more appealing.
I had no idea about this bussing of kids into the neighborhood - that's sad. I do sympathize with not having a safe neighborhood to trick-or-treat in. That's something we take for granted, and should feel blessed to have. I guess unlike taxes or welfare, you can use your discretion as to who and how much candy you want give out. I just hope the kids that get it, from here or there or anywhere are gracious and appreciative, and realize they aren't entitled to trick-or-treat candy, its something people are doing for them to be friendly celebrate a fun holiday.

Posted by Opted Out
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 9:47 am

Several years in a row, we counted 750 people who came to our door back when we'd decorate and make a big to-do out of Halloween. And that was just in one 60 minute period. We never got to see the neighborhood kids because it was all out-of-towners who came to our door, adults with no costumes and pillow cases. We'd always run out. Over the years, more and more houses on the street have gone dark. One year, one aggressive group of teenagers even came down our driveway and knocked on the back door because we didn't answer the front door. It really took all the fun out it for me and my children so we stopped doing it.

Posted by Ada
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:33 am

I used to take my kid to Los Gatos downtown, they had two streets running parallel to Santa Cruz Avenue where every house did their best decorating and with what creativity! People had Halloween parties in their cute Victorian houses, would sit on the front porch, give out candy (yes, zillions of it), joke and have a good time. Naturally, hoards of out-of-town kids came to stroll these two streets not because of sweets, but because they enjoyed all the decorations and the festive spirit. But gradually that spirit started to die, less and less houses got decorated.
People might have reasons for not decorating for Halloween because they are bothered by out-of-town kids coming for candy (why not treat money spent on candy as a charity, a once a year act of goodnesss for kids from less priviliged neighborhoods !), but I see the same trend with other holidays - few Christmas decorations (even if you are not a Christian, why not view it is a good tradition which creates a holiday spirit), virtially none 4th of July decorations (we seem to be ashamed of hanging a US flag on the porch), we do not have street/block barbecue parties any more, we became too guarded, too politically correct, too boring.

Posted by Miriam
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2008 at 11:20 am

It's been very busy in our neighborhood since the Steves moved in (Young and Jobs). We can have 400 or more kids of an evening. But the kids we see generally are accompanied by adults and polite. One year I had the entire Stanford Band at the door; fortunately, they sent only a small delegation for candy. I now buy my candy at Costco, after spending $200 at Mollie Stone's several years ago.

We will still be on Daylight Savings Time Oct.31; I believe we return to Standard Time on Nov.2, so the siege won't begin until after 6 pm.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 22, 2008 at 11:28 am

Ada I agree with you and are glad you posted.

I was saddened by the mean spirt of the previous posts. I agree with them that Adults trick or treating are crazy - I don't give them candy. But as for kids from neighboring towns coming here to PA, why not - we have a lot here and are lucky, so why not share? Now, I'm sure I will get a lot of responses like...we all already give alot - hmm. I suppose its just you don't want "them" in you neighborhood.

It is very strange the true ringing of the liberal base here -

Posted by Palo Alto mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2008 at 11:46 am

I am disappointed to learn how many fellow Palo Altans express dislike, even contempt for the out of town trick-or-treaters. I agree with Miriam that most of them are polite and appreciative. It is generally the parents who really care about the safety of their children and the quality of their Halloween experience who will go to the trouble to drive them to safe, fun spots. Yes, we get upwards of 400 but we look forward to it and try not to let a few offenders ruin it! I directly place the treat in each bag. BTW - if you don't approve of candy, choose something healthy (I give out juice boxes) or give out non-food items. One of our neighbors gives out Halloween themed pencils and other items. As a mom of trick-or-treaters, THANK YOU!

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2008 at 12:29 pm

I suspect those that are spending these enormous amounts of money on candy are the ones who think we should say yes to spending vast amounts of money for libraries.

I think that trick or treating should be neighborhood kids in their own neighborhoods and if the neighborhood isn't safe, then try a commercial haunted house affair instead.

If the do gooders think that they are really helping by dishing out candy to those who drive or are bused here from elsewhere, then they should really think about donating to the food bins healthy foods.

If this is really how you charitably give, then please find better alternatives. If a family can spend the money on a costume, then they can spend an extra dollar buying them candy too.

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Dear Parent - most people who hand out candy consider Halloween a fun holiday - not a charity event. There are many neighborhoods where if you don't have $100 worth of candy, you'll run out before 7 pm. Lighten up and let people enjoy the day.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm


As I said it sounds like you don't want "those" kids in your neighborhood! So a child who can't afford to live in a safe neighborhood should not be able to experience something like trick-or-treating? Have you ever looked a the price of going to a commercial haunted house? As for money for costumes, while we can afford to purchase them, my kids make theirs every year from things around the house. That is a big part of the fun. As for people who spend $200+ on candy, they also give much to their community and food drives, schools, etc. etc.

And please do not link this discussion to the Libraries!

Posted by Huh
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:02 pm

PA Mom, it seems like there are plenty of people who don't enjoy the holiday with the large number of out of town kids and the mega candy bills.

I tend to agree that trick or treating should be a local thing; if your neighborhood is not so safe or so fun, set up a haunted house and invite kids. Going to rich neighborhoods to trick or treat seems like a bad idea on many levels, for both givers and recipients.

I think it would be appropriate and a good thing for blocks to put up "local kids only" signs on individual houses or on the corner and take back the night for local kids. A little harsh - sure - but so is dropping in by the van-full on a neighborhood you've never seen before to help yourself to their candy.

Too much kind-heartedness can spoil things for everyone. I don't spoil my own kids; it certainly doesn't make much sense to spoil other peoples.

Posted by College Terrace Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I've lived in college terrace a number of years - our neighborhood seems to be fun and festive for Halloween. I think I have it down pat finally on how to particapte but not subsidize everyone.

I get home by 4:30 as some of the little ones start by 5 - I personally hand out candy do not hand them the dish to pick AND I shut the door and turn off the lights by 7:30. I find most of the neighbors have been thru by then. I use 3 bags total $10 for candy $5 for a pumpkin.

Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Andrew L. Freedman is a registered user.

Oh my! After reading these posts, this doesn't sound like the Palo Alto I grew up in during the 60's.

Of course, things were much different back then. Kid as young as 5 could go out with groups of other kids. Kids did not want their parent accompanying them and the parents pretty much left it a kid’s affair. There weren’t the safety or crime issues then.

Something I presume unheard of now - My next door neighbors made candy caramel apples every year. Another made caramel popcorn balls.

And as some of you “older folks,” such as myself, recall, there were no "issues" with candy back then - except that you must brush your teeth more often. Most of the kids on my street, Wellsbury Way, in the Midtown area, would come home with a 1/2-filled grocery bag of candy. FREE CANDY! And the following days, we’d take some candy to school (no sugar issues then), trade with our friends, and also have more candy after dinner. The candy lasted 3 weeks. ALSO, since we were never driven to school, we either walked or biked, and because we always played outside after school and on weekends, very few kids had weight problems. As an aside to this topic, from kindergarten through 12th grade in PAUSD, there were less than 5 times my mom ever had to pick us up or take us to school. Of course this made it hard on the teachers who had to help their students pull their “galoshes” off. And those yellow raincoats! But it should be pointed out that there were no computer games and kids had fun playing ball, kick the can, hide and go seek out in their neighborhoods after dinner all the way up until dark. On weekends, you’d ride your bike with friends and sometimes you even roller skated on the sidewalks.

To me, Halloween was the 3rd-best holiday of the year. I used to say, “My name’s Andy and I love candy.” My dentist couldn’t have agreed more as I got older.

But as I started to say, things have changed a lot. The very first instance I recall – a nationwide news story of the first of something gone horribly awry on Halloween occurred I believe in 1966. A razor blade was planted in an apple. Shortly after that, the Zodiac killer made his presence known on the Peninsula. And, over the years, safety and crime issues seemed to occur more and more.

Andy Freedman

Posted by Mary Carlstead
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 2:50 pm

We moved into Palo Alto in 1965 and continued the tradition we had in Menlo Park.
We decorated our back patio, set up the barbecue for roasting marshmallows, had a big tub of water for bobbing for apples (with a plastic raincoat for a bib), had doughnut "holes" and hot cider and took plenty of pictures. Parents and children loved it. So did we. During the Vietnam War, the children were encouraged to bring their excess candy back - and most did so. We shipped a huge amount of candy each year to a battalion of a our matron of honor's son. And we received many thank you letters. During those years, the Paly band wandered through the then Green Gables (now Duveneck), Crescent Park, and Addison neighborhoods, serenading all evening. That ended with Halloween 1982 when the Paly marching band, fresh off of winning the #2 prize in its division in the state marching band contest in Sacramento. serenaded the neighborhoods under a glorious full moon. (The fantastic energetic band director left at the end of that year and gradually Paly no longer had a uniformed show-type marching band.) That year in 1982 the Walter Hays area 'fed them' and also provided 'rest stops'. (Our youngest was in the band). Even today some of the now grown up youngsters who live in the area or come back to visit with their own children remind us of those fun times at our house bobbing for apples and now do it in their own neighborhoods in other areas - and the 'old timers' remember the band serenades and our backyard party. It was a special night.

And does anyone remember the Haunted House put on by I think the Lion's or Kiwanis Club at the Luci Stern Center? But then little by little things changed. The school population dropped, there were only a couple in our neighborhood by the time our last went to Paly - and not too many children came by anymore to bob for apples, and so we stopped doing it after standing out there alone. (we were only rained out once in thirteen years) Now some of the 'children' are very much taller than we are, pushing and shoving on the porch, no thank you's, and almost demanding. And we have seen church vans from other cities park in front of our home, and many occupants spill out. I never heard of trick or treating until I came to California in the late 50's. During the Great Depression, we had nothing to give out and then during World War II, sugar was rationed, and there was no candy. It used to be a fun evening here. Has it gotten out of hand now? Each year lately I say never again, and then I relent and make a mad dash to a store at 3:00 p.m. With all the assaults and crime now, it does give one pause not only for the homeowners but also for the children having fun. There needs to be a lot more parents out on the street this year. Halloween should be a 'neighborhood' event - and sadly that has changed.

Posted by resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I posted earlier and have to emphasize again that I have been overwhelmed with out of area ADULTS and older teens who aggressively crowd in for candy; often they have younger children in costume with them, they almost seem like an afterthought! This has been mindboggling even though I have accommodated it for several years. I am not doubting I will do that again. I can't estimate how much candy I would have to purchase. Those of you who have not experienced this flood should prepare yourselves.
I am generous and willing to support a small number of out of area CHILDREN. Not easy to do.
It is very difficult to try to police this so that only young children, (locals or out of area), get the candy. There is a logistical problem when you have 10 people crowding in at once, moving fast.
I have never experienced this elsewhere in SF Bay Area or back east.
In our case, near Duveneck school, we have the out of area people come around EARLIER than the locals. We run a real risk of running out of candy before the little local kids start coming around. It is so blatantly a case of seeking free candy with little pretense of celebrating/enjoying Halloween.
I can't see posting a locals only sign or children only sign, that might be asking for retaliation. I turned away two out of area older teens not wearing costumes two years ago and they grabbed at my bowl, threw and smashed our pumpkins and ran off. Our neighbor had a similar experience.
I am sad because the tradition of Halloween was always so much fun.

Posted by resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Meant to say I doubt I will do this again.

Posted by new resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Wow! I can't believe some of these comments posted. The most shocking was the person who suggested that signs should be put up stating, Local Kids Only! And I wonder how would you determine if the kid is local. By the color of their skin?? By the clothes they wear? By the car/van that they were dropped off in? That won't work! This is very sad...I recently moved to Cresent Park neigborhood and I was told to expect a lot of kids from out of town. So what??? Kids love Halloween and going to neighborhoods where they may feel safe, and where they know they will get candy sounds like a pretty good idea to me. To see the smile and excitement on a childs face(and not just local children)is so delightful. Do you realize we live in one of the most expensive zip codes in the state and probably country?? What is the real issue here, kids from out of town or the money spent on candy to give out? I'd suggest if you're not interested in giving out candy to out of area kids, turn off your lights! My lights will be on and I welcome all kids!!

Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Mary - I really enjoyed your post. I wish there was a collection of first -person historical anecdotes like that about life Palo Alto over the years. Maybe there is. I wish people would post things like that more often!
I've only lived here since 2004, so the only anecdotes I can provide are about the last days of the Hyatt Rickey's and when Cafe Sophia was located where Peet's is now. Oh, I ate at the El Camino Denny's a couple times too.
Even though the ending of your story reflects the sad reality of modern times, the first part really brightened my day. It sort of reminds me of the story and film, "The Swimmer."

Posted by Huh
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Sorry you feel shocked by my suggestion, New Resident. It is a shame you read racist implications into it, but I guess that is the way some people are. I identify local kids in Barron Park by their faces and by asking where they live and go to school. Note the resident who said he wouldn't do that because he feared retaliation! Is that the sign of a tradition we should support? You talk about the smiles of happy children - is that what you saw described in the posts above?

If you don't draw the line on quality of life issues somewhere, you wind up with an untenable situation. Think of the squeegee men of New York circa 1985. This sounds like one of those issues - it is out of whack and there needs to be some push back. That's not racist, my neighbor - that's just common sense.

Posted by kitty
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2008 at 4:53 pm

The situation of outsiders coming in hordes into Palo Alto has gotten out of control.

Last year were out of candy in 15 minutes, the out of town adolescents were rude and ungrateful.

These these hordes seem to be organized as you see out of town vans parked on the street, but they certainly are not supervised.

This year we are just going to turn out the lights or go out to dinner.

I am afraid the event is permanently ruined because people are too PC to take any corrective action.

Maybe after a couple of years of private trick-or-treat events in Palo Alto the hordes will stop coming and we can start again.

But I doubt it

Posted by Resident
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 22, 2008 at 5:50 pm

A number of years ago I switched from candy to pencils, erasures, stickers, temporary tattoos and other small things that appeal to children. Since then I have not had an overwhelming number of teenagers and adults the way I used to. Perhaps this is an approach others might try? I often find these items on sale or online with a free shipping offer. When I've compared pricing these items to candy, it seems to me that it is on par.

Just a thought.

Posted by nan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 7:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:05 pm


I don't live in a trailer park--I do live on a street that isn't readily accessed. I've lived elsewhere in Palo Alto and the most foot traffic I saw was actually in south Palo Alto. But that was more around 50 kids, so I think the shipping in of kids didn't happen.

I do live in the Duveneck draw area, but don't get the mobs that happen on other streets.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:15 pm

You know, I love how all of you assume that the rude teenage thugs are from out of town...all our Palo Alto kids are perfect!

I'm shocked at many of the postings. I'm betting many of your kids can't even begin to understand or appreciate what they have because most of you obviously do not. Is Halloween really that much of a threat around here..I can only imagine what Devils Night must be like - watch out and make sure you have plenty of protection!

Posted by Huh
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Anonymous, I take issue with your point. My kids certainly appreciate what they have - we make regular runs to Goodwill both to drop off and to buy, don't have cable, clean our own house, and do our own yard work - all to make certain our kids know what work is and the value of a dollar. Part of that is knowing when you are being taken advantage of - and some of the above posters clearly are being fleeced.

Halloween is for neighborhood kids to get out at night and get a few goodies - period. If I had 100s of kids and teens I'd never seen before - gee, maybe just visiting from Downtown North, but I'm guessing from out of town - I'd gladly shut them down - in part so my kids would see that you can firmly and politely say "no" and in part so they'd never go begging in strange neighborhoods themselves.

What lesson do you think you are giving your kids if you give away massive quantities of candy to hordes of often ungrateful kids from outside the neighborhood, as described above?

Posted by nanny
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Kids should just trick-or -treat in their local area, we all know who local kids are, if you do not recognize the child or parent then do not give them treats.

That will solve this invasion in no time and ensure the safety of our kids moving forward

Posted by Seen it All
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Gee lets just get our kids secret PA tatoos so we can all identify ourselves as Palo Altans! What pride we display!!

Posted by Limousine Liberal Like You
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

I am aghast. The entire town Palo Alto is awash of Obama signs. Let's remember the 100,000 people, yes 100,000 who marched on Washington with MLK were 80% white. Where are these people now.

Don't want in my backyard?!?! Why I we voting then for this man who will raise our taxes if not for equality???

We like to live with Steve Jobs, Steve Young and John Chambers but don't want EPA kids in our neighborhoods. Doesn't that sounds racist? Who lives in EPA?

Posted by Joanne
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:01 pm

It's very sad to think that my 3 year old son is not welcome in other parts of Palo Alto. We live in downtown North and trick or treat on both sides of University Ave. It sounds like many of you simply do not want any children in your neighborhood but your own. Very sad.......

Posted by nan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:01 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:26 pm

We are going to participate by giving out treats for the last time in part because a house on Waverley/near N California has polluted this whole event by combining their Halloween decorations with a no on 8 message.
That is not fair to our kids and is deserving of contempt.

This is our home area, we do not want kids to be exposed to propaganda as part of trick or treat, if people want to express their political opinions fine, but keep it separate from our kids lives

Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Well, send the kids my way. I always buy too much candy. I dont care where they live, but smaller ones get two pieces.

Posted by Limousine Liberal Like You
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:31 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Limousine Liberal Like You

thanks for sharing

I feel that the signs near Waverley / N California are divisive , contemptible and should be removed, they have a Morgan convertible in front what is that? 29 hp and maximum pollution in fact it is one of the worst polluters

Posted by Joy
a resident of Duveneck School
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:05 am

RS's statements are a breathe of fresh air.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:13 am

From reading these posts, it seems to me that it is time for us as a community to review our idea of traditional trick or treating.

When I used the words commercial haunted house above, I was thinking more of a community style event where kids pay a nominal amount and perhaps this could be used as a fundraiser along the lines of what Fairmeadow school does.

But, it has started me thinking of some ideas that could be put into effect for next year as it would probably be too late for this year.

How about having a community block party on your street where the road is blocked off for traffic and the neighborhood kids can do some apple bobbing and other activities as well as go trick or treating in their own community.

How about having more of the Fairmeadow style events in the community centers. Different organizations could have booths with apple dunking and the kids pay a small entrance fee to cover the costs.

How about the City Rec Dept doing something closer to home rather than the halloween theme at Foothills Park which they have done before, but Foothills is too far for a weeknight.

Any other ideas anyone?

Posted by Jess
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:26 am

A simple starting post of where to find a lively area for trick or treating has turned into such a heated topic. Unbelievable! Sorry to Alp for asking such a simple question that had to become a platform for everyone's issues with Halloween. And of course without fail someone had to bring up politics. I don't think a sign in front of someone's house will be a problem for my 4 year old. Thank you RS, for a breathe of fresh air!

Posted by Mom New to CA
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:35 am

I'm a bit afraid to ask this but.. do kids trick-or-treat for Unicef here in California? My kids have always done this instead of candy.

Posted by natasha
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:37 am

yes. My kids do.

Posted by Mom New to CA
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:39 am

Thank you Natasha -

Do the schools give out the boxes?

Posted by Ada
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

Shame on all of you who do not welcome kids from poorer communities once a year to trick or treat! As for me, I am decorating and buying candy for all!

Posted by Mary
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:07 am

We could donate money or candy to the local churches to distribute to kids so that they would not come over here.

What is most troubling is the adults and adolescents who come with or without kids.

Posted by John
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:13 am

Well now Ada, we Palo Altans spend upwards of two million dollars on our houses that are worth no more than $40,000. For that reason alone I think we are entitled to: (1) no traffic noise in our neighborhoods, (2) no crime whatsoever, and (3) no annoying people ringing our doorbells (solicitors, trick-or-treaters, and the like). We are better than everyone else and our disproportionate senses of entitlement are proof! Of course like most of you hypocrites I will be voting for Obama -- how's that for politics on this thread! My only fear is that Obama will increase the size of the middle class and I will have to mow my own lawn and scrub my own toilet.

Posted by Palo Alto mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Dear Joanne,
We'd love to have your kids come to our house for trick-or-treating! So long as our supplies last, the pumpkin will be in the window and all the lights on and we will welcome you.
Our neighbors, like all of us, have every constitutional right to put up political signs of their choice on their property.
BTW -our Morgan gets great mileage and brings joy to every kid we take out for a spin!
Happy Halloween to all the kids.

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Wow, this sure has been a crabby thread. I've got to confess that while I haven't been hit up with hordes, I've never minded the later out-of-town trick-or-treaters--because if they don't take the candy I'm too liable to eat the stuff.

Posted by Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2008 at 5:31 pm

It is a shame if people are mixing political signs with the Halloween ones, but that is just how some people are.

There is no easy solution to hordes of outsiders crowding the area, it is the same with the parks and the soccer fields.

Posted by really?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Ever given thought to the fact that EPA kids don't want to trick or treat in their own neighborhood because it is WAY too unsafe there? I live very close to EPA and the kids we get are normally very polite, accept their candy and move on. Most of them are young kids, accompanied by adults. And this may come across as shocking, but most of the children doing the 'trickery' are ungrateful, bored teenagers from Palo Alto. Before you start pointing fingers, check all of your facts.

Posted by Me
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2008 at 6:52 pm

My husband & I love Halloween. Each year we walk through a favorite neighborhood in Palo Alto or elsewhere (not saying where) to see the decorations (wouldn't dream of asking for candy--what adult would do that!), and then we go out to dinner at a special place. Then we come home, stroll around our neighborhood and end the night by sitting with our neighbors outside. I love Halloween.

My favorite Palo Alto home used to be on the tiniest of cul-de-sacs in earshot of one of the Steves, you'd walk down a long driveway made extra spooky by the owner's kids, and then the bell tolled for thee. (That family has since moved.)

Posted by OPinion
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:13 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by jennifer Espinoza
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2009 at 11:42 pm

jennifer Espinoza is a registered user.

I am always glad to have teenagers come to my door on Halloween. I'm happy to see them out having fun in a wholesome way. I've never had teenage trick-or-treaters be anything other than polite to me.

For years I was one of "those people" loading up a van with children from East Palo Alto and bringing them across the freeway to trick-or-treat. They were well supervised and had a safe and happy time.

Does it really matter which city the trick-or-treaters come from? Halloween is the one night a year you see folks of all ages out on the streets at night,laughing, socializing and having fun together. We can afford to be hospitable - how much does a Hershey's Kiss cost anyway? When you run out of candy - turn off the porch light.

A resident of the Midtown neighborhood