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I have lived almost all of my life in a big city which of course has certain Halloween advantages (more events, bigger parties, more stores, etc.) but I think it must come with some disadvantages as well (schools being too politically correct to celebrate Halloween, perhaps less of a neighborly feel, etc.). I wonder if you all have opinions on whether Halloween is better in the big city or in the small towns?
 

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No better in my small town. Stores get minimum stuff. If they have an abundance that goes to clearance then following year is even less. Schools don't celebrate either it's just another day to them.


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I grew up in a small town (pop 250) and Halloween was amazing - but that was back in the 70's and 80's. Not very many stores but communities and schools celebrated.
Moved to a moderately populated (pop 14k) town in Florida and by they time I moved our 5 blocks was THE SPOT to visit on Halloween. Before my family and a few others upped the Halloween ante in our community, the area did well with stores and festivities - although I think by that time the schools were only allowing the kids to dress up as storybook characters. This was in the 90's to early 2000's.
Since then I've moved to a small rural/farming town (pop 3K) in Georgia and Halloween is almost nonexistent, mostly because of religious beliefs. I'm not saying they don't, but I have yet to see my first TOT and I've been here for 10 years. Now the town I work in there is TOT but not many dress up. No stores in this area other than WalMart, Dollar General, and Family Dollar for your haunting needs unless you plan to travel. No celebrating at the schools.
 

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Big city --- no celebrating in the schools (elementary they were allowed to wear a funny hat), cannot hand out candy to other students, lots of shopping available, kids get drove into our neighborhood although lots of people in this neighborhood that don't hand out candy, and very little decorating in this particular neighborhood.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I have only ever lived in a very small town. In the incorporated town there were less than 200 people, but we're near enough to larger cities & 30 mins. from DC/an hour from Baltimore.

I know no other Halloween than a small town one. It's always been safe to ToT, we've never changed the day for any reason, the schools still do costume parades though I know there's restrictions on weapons with costumes there's been little other restrictions on them. I've seen Freddie Krugers, Jasons, Napoleon Dynamites, just all sorts of costumes at the school parade. The town puts no restrictions on anything. We're a pretty safe little town for the most part & have never had any real Halloween vandalism.

At least not since the 70s anyway when someone smashed my pumpkin but they did it Halloween night long after ToTing was done. It was almost like they did me a favour by getting rid of my pumpkin.

I had someone TP my crepe myrtle one year but ONLY the crepe myrtle! :DI know who did it & I was so excited it happened because it had NEVER happened in our town ever! I was honored to be the first one!!:D

It's like we have the nicest, most considerate vandals ever!:D:D
 

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Wisp in the Mist
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I grew up in a small town with a population of 1600 in the '70s/80s. The best things were that we were allowed to ToT two nights--the 30th (Mischief Night), and the 31st, and more people handed out candy, than those who didn't. There weren't a lot of decorations; mostly JoLs and cardboard cut-outs taped to windows. Still, that is a whole lot more than I see these days!

We had a Halloween parade at school, and in later years, there was an organization that held a costume contest in the gym. (The Lions maybe?) When I was very young, there was a penny carnival at the high school in October, a week or so before Halloween, but there was a lot of Halloween imagery there. They had a pretend fortune teller, and a haunted maze in the "lower gym", which was basically a basement. The cake walk always had a lot of things decorated for Halloween.

The town that I live in now is larger, but still considered a small town (20,000 population). Very few people decorate. There are trunk or treat events, but they don't take over the real ToTing, and we still get to ToT both nights. There aren't many people who hand out candy in our neighborhood, though. We're sandwiched in between two historical districts, and one has very large homes. They kind of get overrun with everyone wanting to go there, because some give out full size candy bars. So if you go there, expect a crowd, and go early, because they shut their lights off early!

I lived in Las Vegas for 8 years, and a suburb of Chicago for 2 years, in addition to living in our capital city for about 4 years. Everything was definitely more busy in those cities. Las Vegas was the worst, IMO. Large groups of adults (not teens!) without costumes, without children, running door to door with pillowcases, being rude. I hated it. It wasn't real Halloween to me.

All of our schools have always celebrated, but in Vegas, our PTO was headed by a Mormon lady. She changed our Halloween carnival to a Fall Festival. There is a no mask/no weapon rule in most schools here.

My youngest son went to Head Start for preschool, and they celebrated the first year, but the second year it was taken over by an extremely religious woman, who didn't want any holiday celebrations at all. The odd thing was that they celebrated Valentines day anyway--but none of the other holidays. There was a fall party that we were allowed to bring treats to, and that was it.

Tonight at his meet the teacher event for kindergarten, I'm going to ask if they celebrate Halloween. If so, and they get permission, I will ask if she wants to bring the classes over to see our decorations, since they're less than a block away.
 

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I love in a small town. The downtown area puts on a carnival for Halloween with games and such for the kids. The minute that ends those kids head for the houses.
There are numerous towns around mine that are even smaller, so those kids come here.
I've only lived in Farmville for 4 years, but it has been my favorite place so far. I've never had so many TOTs.

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We used to live in a suburban small town in Texas that was very close to the cities, so there was plenty of Halloween 'stuff'' to be had within just a short drive in any direction. Our neighborhood had some decorating, a lot of it those inflatable things you tether in your yard, and was hit or miss from year to year with TOTs. Some of the local churches and the big megachurches were actively trying to replace Halloween with Fall Festivals and really pushing the trunk or treat thing. The schools didn't celebrate or let the kids dress up (it was a 'distraction'). We were close to Dallas, so there were plenty of pro haunts and mall TOT events.

Now we live in a smallish town just outside of Indianapolis and the kids are grown so I have no idea about the schools here, but the edition we live in is really diverse and we get all kinds of TOTs on Halloween from the neighborhood - including older kids and costumed grownups. We live in a very safe neighborhood, so the kids just run all over and have a lot of fun, and I haven't seen any vandalism yet. There's some decorating, and there are plenty of places to buy decorations and anything else you might want. Some of the local farms have hayrides and corn mazes. I know some of the churches here have alternative celebrations and the town has a Fall Festival, but they don't seem to be aggressively anti-Halloween. And we're just a few hours away from the Ohio Renaissance Festival, which Halloweens up on their last open weekend in October - definitely planning to try to hit that this year.

Of course, it's all pretty different than I remember Halloween being when I was growing up in the 70s. My family lived in a big city, even the small religious school I went to let us dress up and have a Halloween party, and everyone did a lot of TOTing. A lot of trees got TP'd late at night after all the little kids had gone home and the porch lights were off, and pumpkin smashing was definitely a thing - for the most part it was considered mischief, not vandalism. There was always one house every year handing out Chick tracts instead of candy and one dentist's house handing out toothbrushes and sugar-free hard candies, but the one real Halloween downer for me back then was being tall for my age - the idea that you could be 'too old' for TOT was very prevalent at the time, at least in our area, and I started hearing 'Aren't you too old to be trick or treating?' when I was 7 or 8. My kids might have had to deal with the War on Halloween putting the kibosh on in-school celebrations and turning off a lot of porch lights, but they and their friends were still going out to TOT in high school, in costume, and nobody said a word.
 

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I always think of Halloween as a small town holiday. I have fond memories of going to fall festivals, craft shows and haunted houses nearby and going pumpkin picking on a Friday after school at a local farm. On weekends we used to drive around town at night to see who decorated and some people really went all out. In school we used to do an assembly in the cafeteria which was decorated wall to wall with diecuts. We'd sing Halloween songs and at the end of it, they would turn the lights off and tell the story about a dark, dark house.The Sunday before TOT my town would do a Halloween parade (they still do.) They have it usually right before the sun is setting so it has a great Fall atmosphere. The sun is still shining but it's not long before it gets dark out, it's both heartwarming and spooky-the way everyone should remember Halloween
 

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Wisp in the Mist
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...and so, I asked about whether the school district is allowing Halloween celebrations at tonight's "meet the teacher" (for kindergarten, I've never had a child this young in school here)...

I got a "possibly, we're still sorting that out". And then was told that they are attempting to do away with bringing treats for birthdays, as well as all holiday celebrations.

Even so, I went ahead and offered to host a mini field trip to our scene if they were allowed to do that. She was aware of our display, and said that she would ask if it was OK. *shrug* I guess I did all that I can do. Sad!
 

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I have lived in big cities Baltimore , El Paso, DC, when I was in the army and some 1500 population towns in North Carolina and now live in my home town that the population is about 20000 and I love the season here. We have a lot of trunk or treat stuff. The schools celebrate, we close 6 blocks of Jefferson street for the night because the entire street does crazy yard haunts and get 3 to 4000 tots , and we have a nationally recognized haunt at Talon Falls. I can't stand this place any other time of the year. Yep little Paducah Kentucky. Lot of cool stuff here like artist district.
 

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I've lived either in BFN, or in cities. They've not always been large cities, the one I live in now is short of 40k people, but cities none the less. When I've lived in much larger cities, typically I've been in smaller suburbs, which have more of a smaller city feel. I should probably also point out that I'm Canadian, so while religion is a factor, it's not going to be nearly the same factor as it is in some areas of the US. We're also miles more liberal than most areas of the US.

Up until very recently I had not heard of schools not having some kind of Halloween celebration. Only in the last 10 years have I heard it, and most schools around here that I've seen that did away with Halloween, making it instead a "black and orange spirit day" or a "fall festival" have gone back to celebrating Halloween. My eldest is 8, her school allows her to wear her costume, but not wear masks or bring weapons and asks that the costumes not be too scary. Considering that school here starts the calendar year you turn 4, meaning for Halloween there could be kids in an elementary school as young as three, it's not that unreasonable a request. Parents send in Halloween treats, frequently packaged candy for the kids. Costumes are not required, but encouraged, and they do themed activities and art projects and the like both day of and leading up to Halloween.

I remember as a teen having one year when Halloween fell on a Sunday. Some communities celebrated Halloween on the 30th instead that year, which was actually awesome for me - I was 14, we got a bunch of our friends together and one of our parents drove us to one of these silly communities and went trick or treating there, and then repeated here in town on Halloween proper. Double TOTs, thank you very much. I haven't heard of that happening since.

As far as decorating - probably 1/3rd to half have some minor decoration, especially any house that had school age children. My side of the block is typically dark all but my house, but seeing as I'm the youngest adult on my block by about 20 years at the ripe old age of 37(except my husband of course), I suppose that's not that surprising.

One funny thing of note - I bought this house from my parents who bought it in 93. In 93, this was the east edge of town. The roads that ran east west that intersected my street dead-ended just beyond it, and city limits ran at the back border of the properties across the street - this house is on the west side. The year my parents moved in, we got van loads of the kids who lived out of town being dropped off on our street to trick or treat, and even with preparing for over 100 kids, we ran out of candy and bought more twice, and still had to close up early. Didn't help that was also the aforementioned year when Halloween was being celebrated on 2 different days since it fell on a Sunday. We probably got over 400 children that night, and the years after it was still about 300, until the city annexed more land beyond our street and we were no longer the edge of town. You can tell the people who lived here then - they're my parent's age, and they always have WAY too much candy bought. To the point my kids get candy by the handful.
 

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I grew up in a small, small town in NC. Halloween was a fun time of year, the county fair had just ended, and the air was cool and crisp. We had a big yard so we were able to have several areas of decorations up at once. Our house was an old farmhouse, so it came with the pre-spooky feel already (yes, we did have at least one ghost in the attic, but it was friendly), so decorating inside was easy. I think what made it so special though was that my Mom and my Great Aunt were Halloween fanatics (they instilled it in me from an early age). I always secretly thought my Great Aunt must have been a witch because she lived alone in a big spooky house on a hill, and decorated with owl memorabilia for all seasons.

The drawbacks to small town Halloween were mainly that being such a small town, and we were further out in the country, that you never had many trick or treaters coming to the door. My Great Aunt lived closer to town, so we would go to her house and set up for Halloween there while she was alive, and we would get more visits that way. The other issue that you faced in the small town environment was a dearth of supplies. Aside from Walmart and Kmart, there weren't any major stores for decorations when I was a kid (There's more there now, but not much). To get really good decorations, we had to ride to SC (about an hour away) to go to the Spirit store and Michaels and other stores known for good decorations.

Now that I am an adult, I live in what I consider the big city, although I am nowhere close to the "city" itself. I live close to Disney World, Seaworld, and Universal. Busch Gardens is only an hour away. My wife and I enjoy going to the parks for their Halloween events each year. Our favorite is Disney's as it is more fun, and not gory like Universal's and BG's tend to be. Seaworld's is fun, but geared more for small children. We have a LOT of good places to shop for Halloween decorations, there are several Home Goods within easy driving distance, numerous other TJ Maxxes and Rosses, we have multiple Michaels stores, Targets, Spirits, and Hobby Lobby here, so it is easy to find good decorating (too easy). We also have a good many Trick or Treaters depending on the day of the week it falls. Last year was good, I don't know how this year will go on a Monday.

The drawbacks to City Halloween are that you mostly don't know everyone in your neighborhood, so there isn't that sense of community, neighbors and friends don't drop by to see our decorations like they did in NC. This next part isn't an issue everywhere, but here in FL, it is HOT for Halloween which takes away a little bit of that autumn feeling. There is no small-town fair to go to close by during the autumn season.

So it's a trade off. In some ways Halloween in the city is better, and in others I miss the small town feel we used to have. With that said, I wouldn't want to go back at this point for other reasons (job opportunities, pay, health, etc...), but I do look nostalgically back at those old small town Halloweens from my childhood and smile. I know that if my Great Aunt and my Mother were here today, they would still be doing Halloween the way I remember it, and that's why, no matter where I am, I try to do it the best I can, in their memory.
 

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I have lived in rural settings, small towns, and larger cities. Rural areas are out of luck and must drive to a town. The small towns that do celebrate Halloween (have seen some religious areas of our country that highly frown on it in their towns) seem to have the most 'spirit' for the holiday if that makes sense. Kids seem to have a great time TOT in the smaller neighborhoods where they can roam with their friends without mom/dad standing right beside them. Larger cities have more access to Haunted houses and decorations but it seems to be geared more towards older teens and adults. I've noticed TOT tends to be held in centralized locations for children with some 'host' putting on a fall event. I know it's not true for every area just my experience is all. :D
 

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My boyfriend grew up in Brooklyn and told me as a kid, they'd trick or treat down the busy blocks to the local stores. I found that interesting, and am not sure I'd like that very much. It would feel weird getting candy from a plain ol storefront when I'm used to seeing houses drenched in creepy decor. I grew up between the two, in a metro area/suburb of a big city, so I got the best of both worlds in a sense. We always had school carnivals and things going on, but there was a tight-knit, community feeling on Halloween night in the neighborhood with plenty of houses to go to.
 

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I live in a bible belt big city. With that come a ton of people who are super social justice warriors working towards getting holiday decorations banned because it offends someone. The only trick or treating is one or two main streets and there are so many cars, hardly anyone walks house to house. The churches and malls do some form of trunk or treating for 2 hours and it was pretty minimal last year. If you want to do anything in the area they have bar crawls and a a few pro haunted houses. It would be okay if so many people around here weren't trying to ban Halloween :/
 

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I live in a bible belt big city. With that come a ton of people who are super social justice warriors working towards getting holiday decorations banned because it offends someone. The only trick or treating is one or two main streets and there are so many cars, hardly anyone walks house to house. The churches and malls do some form of trunk or treating for 2 hours and it was pretty minimal last year. If you want to do anything in the area they have bar crawls and a a few pro haunted houses. It would be okay if so many people around here weren't trying to ban Halloween :/
Do you mind telling me where this is? You can PM me. I'm always interested in stories like this.
 

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I live in a small town and Halloween is still celebrated in the schools and the kids bring home Halloween crafts a few days before just like they do at Christmas. Even some of the high school kids still wear costumes to school. Except for swords and guns anything else is okay. There are several smaller communities, some as small as approx 400 people, all around us and they all come in to town to TOT as is too dangerous to TOT due to bears, cougars etc in the villages after dusk. Some of them are so spread out on farms about 45 minutes out of town so they come to town to TOT. I really don't care how old they are as long as they are in costume. The kids and young adults who dress up and TOT are all having a good time and I figure as long as they are excited and appreciate the treats and decorations it is all good.

Marie
 

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I live in a fairly big city for Iowa standards (70 thousand) and there are plenty of stores with Halloween decorations to be had. Some houses go all out, but those seem to be becoming few and far between
In terms of the schools, I'm a teacher and we have a Halloween party and parade for costumes. They can't involve blood or bring weapons, but almost all of the schools here still celebrate.
 
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