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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Logistics: how to coordinate the efforts of your trick-or-treaters

Traditional trick-or-treating requires little preparation and planning. Typically selecting and procuring a costume are the extent of it. Then you walk around your neighborhood, knock on a few doors, and bring home a few pieces of candy.

This Halloween I'm on a mission to help open your eyes to the possibilities of all the wonder and satisfaction that the holiday can hold. The key: competition.

This is the fourth post in a series of five explaining the well kept secrets of the most successful trick-or-treaters. If you have missed the first three posts you'll need to review them along with this one in order to fully understand what you need to do dramatically increase your candy collection this year (Halloween is next Thursday and Cami and I still need to get the boys' costumes together!).

Here's what we've already discussed:
  1. Trick-or-Treating: From A to Z. The back story to how I acquired this trick-or-treating wisdom I am sharing with you.
  2. How to Pick the Best Neighborhoods: Go Where the Candy Is. Location, location, location. Selecting the right place to trick-or-treat will make or break the night.
  3. Going Out Properly Equipped: What You Need to Be Successful. There is more planning required than meets the eye. I show you what needs to be considered in addition to the costume.
Today we're going to cover the logistics of highly successful trick-or-treating ventures.

At this point you've already picked your neighborhood(s) and you're eagerly anticipating the big night. Now that you know where you'll be trick-or-treating you can map out a route. Choose the route with the fewest gaps between houses and work through the neighborhood systematically. This will maximize the amount of time you're actually in front of a house receiving candy and reduce the amount of time moving between homes.

Here's an example. Let's say that the neighborhood you selected has a series of cul-de-sacs. You could do one then cross the street and do the one across from it then move to the one next to that then cross the street again, etc. What would be better in this scenario is to go from adjoining cul-de-sacs to minimize the number of times you cross the street. After all, there aren't any houses in the street and, therefore, no candy to be had.

The other advantage to mapping out the route ahead of time is that you can give a map to the kids. That way if they somehow get lost they know where to go and how to get there.

Designate a specific ending point. Make sure that everyone knows where you will stop. This will also serve as the end of the evening meeting place should the group get too spread out. If you have children of varying ages in the group then I guarantee this will happen. Pick an ending spot to meet up at.

Last week I mentioned choosing a small candy bag or bucket for the children to carry. What you need to do is have a van or car following closely behind the group with the brown paper bags in it for the children to dump their candy into. When the bag/bucket they are holding gets heavy they just run over to the car and dump it out and on they go to the next house.

If you have a larger group of trick-or-treaters have at least two adults that will be accompanying them either on foot or following in a vehicle. When the groups get larger (more than 4 or 5) typically they will naturally subdivide into smaller groups with the faster trick-or-treaters pushing ahead. You don't want to lose anyone on Halloween so having more than one adult to keep an eye on everyone really helps.

A given, and one I almost left out, is to have enough seat belts in your vehicles to safely transport all of your trick-or-treaters. I don't think I need to say more but I felt that it should be said.

Last, know when the sun goes down. Nothing is tackier than trick-or-treaters that show up before the sun goes down (unless you're in one of those towns that does that). However, you want to be the first to show up so that you know all of the houses will have candy and you can spend as much time trick-or-treating as possible. Visit and type in your zip code to find out when the sun will be setting on Halloween.

To quickly recap:

  • Map out your route
  • Give a map to your trick-or-treaters
  • Designate a specific ending point
  • Have a vehicle following closely behind
  • Have at least two adults
  • Have enough seat belts
  • Know when the sun goes down
You're almost ready to have the BEST Halloween ever. Just one more post and this series is complete. Check back next Wednesday to learn the art of candy bartering, the final piece in this puzzle.

Thanks for stopping by today. I would love to hear your thoughts about Halloween, trick-or-treating, or anything else you'd care to share.

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