Layer. Temps often dip below 50 degrees on
Halloween evening and jackets don't usually fit over kids'
Halloween gear, so you'll want to put a sweatshirt on Junior before
you put his costume on.
Pop a wheelie. Little kids' legs get tired
after only a few blocks, especially when they're weighed down by
heavy candy bags, so consider bringing something for them, or at
least the candy, to ride in.
Ration. The best way to curb your kiddo's sweet
tooth is to set a limit before you set out to trick-or-treat. One
small piece for every block walked can be a good place to start.
Just don't travel too far.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag). Probably the most
popular trick-or-treating candy stasher is the basic plastic
pumpkin. Or, upgrade your bag to a felt/percale-lined version from
Pottery Barn Kids ($14.50).
Lights Out! The Chicago Police Department
advises parents not to let their kids trick-or-treat in the dark,
so start early. Most homes open their doors around 4:30 p.m. in the
Chicago ranks as the seventh best city in the country for
trick-or-treating behind Seattle, San Francisco and Denver, to name
a few, according to a survey by real estate website Zillow. We
can't quite compete with the West Coast's weather, but apparently
we can hold our own when it comes to showing the kids scary good
And while Halloween is potentially the most frightening kiddie
holiday for parents (just thinking about all that candy can give
you a cavity), trick-or-treating in the city of Chicago is actually
not all that daunting if you know where to go and how to roll.
Tootsie Roll, if you prefer.
If you live on a quiet block, don't fret; these city streets are
open for your kids to load up their pumpkins.
1) 2000-2200 block of W. Bradley Place. This
part of the Bell School District, just north of Addison, is well
known for its raging summer block party, but its Halloween
celebration is not far behind. Eyal Altman, a resident of Bradley
Place, estimates giving out 600 pieces of candy over a three-hour
time frame. "I challenge any block to beat that kind of turnout,"
Altman says. (If you do the math, that's about one piece of candy
every 20 seconds.)
2) 2600-2800 block of N. Paulina Street.
Neighbors on this block of West Lincoln Park get permission to
close off the street to traffic so trick-or-treaters can have a
safe space to walk. "The parents like to not have to worry about
cars," says Shayna Plankar, who lives in the neighborhood. Families
fill the block and according to Plankar, the house decorations are
"insane." The block is so great to trick-or-treat on that families
come from the suburbs just to go to Paulina for the Halloween
3) Lakewood and Balmoral avenues. It's not just
foraging for candy in the Lakewood-Balmoral neighborhood near
Andersonville. Residents here are known to make their houses
haunted and open to visitors. According to Jennifer Pope,
proprietor of The Red Balloon, "it's like a parade with the amount
Speaking of parades, Chicago not only provides quaint block
parties better than the suburbs', but also organizes neighborhood
celebrations that put the Thriller video street dance to shame.
1) Goudy Park (1255 N. Astor St.). You won't
see a lot of candy being passed out at Barney's New York, but the
Gold Coast does roll out the red carpet for youngsters hoping for a
little less Gucci and a little more ghastly. Local Goudy Park
transforms itself into "Ghouly Park" with attractions such as
inflatables, a "ghouly" graveyard, Puppetbike and a roaming
magician. The Ghouly Park event is held on Oct. 31 and sponsored by
Gold Coast Neighbors, the Chicago Park District and Mayor Daley's
2) Buena Park Neighbors Safe Trick-or-Treating (Kenmore
from Irving Park to Montrose). Buena Park, north of
Lakeview and south of Uptown, hosts a Safe Trick-or-Treating event
on Kenmore Avenue every Halloween that sees upward of 300 kids. The
neighborhood association also doles out an award for the best
decorated house with a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
Festivities start at 5 p.m. on Halloween.
3) Roscoe Village Halloween Parade. Roscoe
Village Neighbors organizes a parade, starting on Leavitt Street,
every year for everyone from little tykes getting pulled by their
parents in wagons to big kids who help lead the costumed throngs
down Roscoe Street. Former neighborhood board member Andrea Helms
says, "The highlight of the parade is the Lane Tech Marching Band
leading the crowd. I think that sets it apart from other
neighborhood events." The parade will be held this year at 2 p.m.,
Sunday, Oct. 30.
Sara Fisher is a mother of two living in Roscoe Village. She also blogs at selfmademom.net.
See more of Sara's stories here.
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