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[This thread spun off from a thought while I was reading Lilibat's thread about ToT numbers for Halloween 2019 elsewhere on the forum]

I was wondering: Have those of you who have put some serious energy into making your homes a special, magical stop for Halloween for seven or more years seen an increase of decrease in the number of trick-r-treaters over time?

Just curious to hear about different people's experiences. We've only been at it for three Halloweens here, and it seems like it's mostly neighborhood kids at our door. We get around 30-40. I'd probably haunt up the yard if we only got ten kids at the door. Actually, I'd probably do it even if they outlawed Halloween. 馃
 

The Haunting Girl
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For first 3-ish years we had increases, but it's pretty much leveled out at this point. It's around 50 ToTs and a decent amount of people stopping by just to look now. I will probably maybe promote a little more, but only on the local groups. I kinda like being a local secret sometimes even if that means I don't get a ton of ToTs. It keeps it small and manageable for myself and my neighbors and also the kids that come by. It also means I can keep giving out full-sized candy bars too. I can't imagine trying to buy candy for like 200-300 ToTs... Also, I feel like it would just be a machine trying to get everyone through.
 

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I had about 27 this year. Last year I didn't count, but I'm sure it was more. This year the weather was crappy with a window of no rain in the evening so I figured it would be less. I noticed it was mostly the little guys with their parents this year. I didn't seem to have many junior high/high schoolers. Overall though, I think it's increased since I've been here the past 18 years.
 

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inching up in my walker...I've been at it long enough to report this activity across three residences for over 7 years each.

Residence 1.

My parent's. My parents had always given out fairly decent treats for the neighborhood. Not the king size house down the street, and not the full bag of chips dude that worked at the chip factory, but otherwise decent, goodie bag with candy and a drink.

Anyhow, I started officially haunting the joint at 9. Some years were better than others, and a lot of it was visible for weeks prior.

Virtually NO impact on numbers Halloween night.

Details: Parent's house is in a REMOTE area. NO ONE is passing the house/neighborhood that don't live there. The ambulance had trouble finding it when someone fell off the roof during remodel.


Residence 2.

Our first home.

Low income neighborhood, right next to an elementary school. EVERY kid passes this street. Oh, I'm going to get TONS! Haunt up the place, buy full size bars, ready to go!

8 years. We increase our trick or treat number 800%! (from 1 to 8, all of them the neighbor's grandkids)

No impact from decorating.



Residence 3 (2004 - present)

Mix of expensive houses to one side, mid level to another, low income behind. We're on the bus route for middle school, and a lot of walkers pass us to the elementary school.

Year 1. We move in late August and have a vacation that year. I ask around about numbers. "Expect about 75". Oh, suweeeeet! I hadn't seen that many since moving out of my parent's place. But, I don't have time or money to decorate that year. It's literally me in a costume with "The biggest candy bowl I've ever seen!"

(pic is 2005, but the dummy is my 2004 costume and it shows the bowl best)


We got 150 that first year.

I figured that was a good number, and for the next 3 years, I didn't set up anything until the day of Halloween. Never the less, we become mildly famous for handing out full size bars more than for the decor, and numbers increased to 350 by 2007.

2008-2009 we held steady, I'd grown a little bigger, and was doing a full yard walkthrough at that point. My oldest son had started helping in the yard instead of trick or treating. Numbers stayed steady at the 350 mark.

2010: Lost most my props in a storm that toppled the storage unit. What can I do for $100 decorating budget? The pumpkin carving party was born as I just bought pumpkins and scavenged corn stalks.

Numbers held steady at the 350 mark, but we had ~ 100 folks out the night before as well.

2011: I create the first real original creation. It's seen by neighbors as I'm working on it through the summer, people are snapping photos with it, etc.

Pumpkin party, social media, photos, we become the third house you "have" to see in the area, behind the harry potter house (doctor up on the hill, major production) and 'the mafia house' ( supposedly epicly huge candy hand outs, I've only heard stories) Numbers spike to 450.

2012-2013: we hover around 500 as part of this three house tour people are doing.

2014: Mafia House shuts down, someone had been hit in front of their house in 2015 and cops refuse to close the street, they decide to shut it down. My numbers spike to over 600 as it becomes a 2 house tour.

2015: Harry Potter House decides to do their thing on the Saturday instead of Halloween night. We dip down under 600 again with a lot fewer people heading out in cars.

2016: I don't put as much effort into the yard, doing the remodel on the house instead, still full walkthrough. Numbers continue to dip down to around 550.

2017: Yard is a disaster area from remodel, only decorate the front yard. continue downward trend.

2018-2019: Full yard again, numbers still falling "Only" 350-400 this year. Most the teens that used to come during the peak years are "too old" now. Some of the kids that first saw us in 2011 are bringing their own kids now. Every year I get first timers.

2020: There's a new housing developement just opened and filling up designed for young families 2 blocks away...who knows what that will bring.
 

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I use location, bribery, early decoration, changing decoration, scare, forced interaction and now tradition.
from 0 TOTers to average 500 (last year 525, this year 425).
1st year, porch lights on, lighted pumpkin and some Halloween garland. I watched the kids by pass my house.
(former owner, elderly woman, I assumed wasn't doing Halloween the last years of her life)
2nd year added more decorations, got home to late from work just a couple of TOTers.
3rd year more decorations, left bowl on steps, was empty when I got home????
4th year more decorations, worked half day, at home when the school let out, (took advantage of LOCATION k-3rd school 200 ft from house, lets out at 3:00 and has Halloween parade at school on Halloween).
5th year moved to FULL SIZE bars BRIBERY
6th year started DECORATING EARLIER, so they would see house on way to & from school.
I removed the glass on my storm door, so I only need to open the front door and then could stick my masked head out thorough the storm door, creating a scare/startle.
Every year the SCARE is a little different.
I also, don't offer the candy or remove the mask until "Trick or Treat" is said. "Happy Halloween" is nice, but doesn't get candy. FORCED INTERACTION.
I've basically have had continued growth, except weather or Saturdays/Sundays (I don't get the 3:00 crowd)
No advertising, No Social Media, No kids in the school system
The Fence goes up Labor day weekend, Lights start 10/1 and by 3:00 on 11/1 its all gone. (but that part is getting tougher)!
But I have not gotten young 20 somethings, bring their little ones, or like Last Week, Dad announce he's been bringing his daughter (now 16) since she was 5. TRADITION

I'm in the go big or go home and build it they will come, which doesn't work for everyone.
Good Luck and remember WE all do more then most and WE all create Halloween memories.

Jerseyscare
 

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We've been decorating our yard and having a garage display at our house since 2008, with 2 of those years taking a break from the garage display. We've seen a decline in trick or treaters last couple years. Hard to say why. Last couple years the weather hasn't been good for trick or treating. Maybe more events like trunk or treats etc are happening on Halloween night. But overall we've seen a decline unfortunately....although there is still a good turnout to make the night fun for all.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For first 3-ish years we had increases, but it's pretty much leveled out at this point. It's around 50 ToTs and a decent amount of people stopping by just to look now. I will probably maybe promote a little more, but only on the local groups. I kinda like being a local secret sometimes even if that means I don't get a ton of ToTs. It keeps it small and manageable for myself and my neighbors and also the kids that come by. It also means I can keep giving out full-sized candy bars too. I can't imagine trying to buy candy for like 200-300 ToTs... Also, I feel like it would just be a machine trying to get everyone through.
So true. Too many visitors could lead to some hassles I hadn't even considered. Both for myself and the neighbors. I live on a corner lot at the end of a sharp 'S'-curve. Jus traffic-wise, we'll probably never get a huge turn-out. And that's fine. I like how you put it though: local secret. Actually, there already IS a house just around the block that has that sort of pedigree. They have done their home haunt for years and do it up big. Really brings the kids into our subdivision. We'd probably have even less if it weren't for their house every Halloween. Still, I'm thinking with them around the bend and my house over on the opposite end, we just need a few more houses to hop on board to really make it a great Halloween outing. 馃
 

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When I started about 15 years ago we had about 400. In the last 5-6 years we average between 2400 to 2800. The good news is more people are decorating now. Good neighborhood, street lights and sidewalks. The City even provides officers to patrol, 2-3 cars and 2 on bikes. Traffic is a problem though.
 

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That is an amazing leap! Was it a gradual thing over those seven Halloweens? I don't know if we could even accommodate that many trick-r-treaters. Sure hope to find out someday, though. 馃
We've always given out full size candy bars to the kids and beer and wine to the parents, but then we added some decorations outside and that helped a lot. Then we moved to the garage and added a bar and invited more friends to join us and hand out candy. This year we bought a 10x10 tent with lights, a scary sitting clown, jumping spider and fog machine for outside. It was cold out but dry with no wind - unusual for the PNW.

I think the word has slowly gotten out and I think the parents have texted each other about the bar :p

Next year I think I will buy a really good prop that isn't too scary. Maybe this one, but I want to see a video of it.
https://www.thehorrordome.com/collections/animatronic-creatures/products/alien-ambush-animated-halloween-decoration-du2050
 

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About 200 this year. In 2016 was the last year we set up, but it was much smaller of a display. Probably between 100-150 back then. The best years were from 2012-2015, we had over 400 TOT's in 2012. Insanity....had people stealing props it was so busy. lol
 

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We had a person, said she was 24 and our haunt had been around "pretty much her whole life" (NOT THAT LONG! Maybe 15 years? My records go back to 2009 for sure.) So there's a timeline.

Numbers up and down, down a bit overall.

Last year was pathetic, but the weather was terrible. Rain. Maybe 100, generously.

This year, we were up over 200. Good, steady night. Better than recent years, despite the cold. I'm happy with 200.

Best year ever, we couldn't keep count but estimate well over 400, maybe 450. Excellent draw for a super small town.

We're also a block away from main street, where the town does ToT at 5:30. So the time has gotten a bit earlier as well, used to go a bit later into the night and the dark. And it means we get quite a few really little ones.

Overall? I think the tradition is on the decline, unfortunately, but I'm doing my part. Spirit of community and all that.
 

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We have only been doing this 3 years but we are getting more kids each year. Part of it is that our street is well travelled and parents who drive by on their way to work often bring their kids to see the yards. We decorate the first weekend of October. We are also on the route of a few school bus routes and we have seen turnover in the houses from older generation to younger. So, all of that helps (and if those trends were against us, I dont think our yard display could reverse it).
 

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In our six years here, we finally got a foothold on being "known" for a good display and good treats!
The first year was exactly the same scenario that jerseyscare had; we bought the home from an elderly gent who apparently was known to be the grouch of the street. We had kids actively avoid our house!
2013-, maybe five to ten kids while the main neighborhood saw at least two hundred.
It doesn't help that we have no sidewalks in our neighborhood, and our lane is a dead-end on a hill. Luckily, we're within sight of the main street through the neighborhood, so I have been putting out my yard displays around Sept 25th -Oct 1st each year. Lots of creepy lighting and a cemetery near the front door.
2014 and 2015- lots of rain! maybe ten kids each year
2016 I don't think I even knew, as I took my youngest daughter out ToTing myself; it was chilling cold but lots of kids were seen on the main road of our plat
2017, we had the best weather so far, cold but clear, and I pulled out all the stops for an outdoor Halloween night-only display. I bought eight Carzy-Bones skeletons and dressed them in Goodwill/Salvation Army clothes, rendered and distressed to look like "authentic" Pirates of the Caribbean-style swashbucklers. I built a (very) large wooden treasure chest out of two pallets and fashioned three more, smaller treasure boxes from cardboard using foam strips and faux wood grain painting. Put all these new additions out on my lawn and fired up my brand new American DJ Mister Kool II fogger, and had maybe 6 kids show up!
I was devastated by the abysmal turnout, as again we could see so many kids walk right by our lane on the main street; it was just too far for them to bother coming down to see if it was worth it!
2018- I barely put out our cemetery in time for Halloween night, and dressed as the Grim Reaper and intended to wander around our neighborhood to scare people. To our surprise, the dozen or so kids who came to our house asked where the pirates were?! Even the parents seemed to be looking for the display. Word had gotten around, and I decided 2019 was going to be the year of the PIRATES!
We worked it out to be an indoor haunt, using our foyer and dining room as the set for them to enter and essentially stand inside the display.
This year I also added the Home Depot pirate ship and that made a big impact on catching the attention of passers-by from the main thoroughfare. I put out the word on our "Nextdoor" app, and also posted on our local city FB page, with the intention of alerting folks that ours was to be an indoor experience and not to be alarmed that we're inviting kids into our house.

So, 2019--we had our best ever turnout with approx 100 kids and parents, in spite of rain soaked conditions from earlier in the day, the low-30's temps, brisk winds and snow flurries! Everyone who came in was happy for the warmth as well as the haunt itself, so we'll now have the added sense memory of being a place they want to visit. Our location was known before-hand, as many kids and parents said they were looking forward to seeing our haunted house, so the combination of time, effort and a little promotion was paying big dividends! Having good candy helped out, too!
If I can figure out how to animate the skeletons it could even better, but for now I'm loading up on the authentic details of the display as well as ambient lights and sounds.
A majority of compliments we received were on the details and realistic "feel" of the environment, so I know it's being noticed!
Next year I'm planning on adding stocks ( also known as a pillory ) for a photo shoot opportunity.
You know you're gaining notoriety when you hear the kids refer to your house as "The Haunted House", and we take that title very seriously!
 

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We've always given out full size candy bars to the kids and beer and wine to the parents, but then we added some decorations outside and that helped a lot. Then we moved to the garage and added a bar and invited more friends to join us and hand out candy. This year we bought a 10x10 tent with lights, a scary sitting clown, jumping spider and fog machine for outside. It was cold out but dry with no wind - unusual for the PNW.

I think the word has slowly gotten out and I think the parents have texted each other about the bar :p

Next year I think I will buy a really good prop that isn't too scary. Maybe this one, but I want to see a video of it.
https://www.thehorrordome.com/collections/animatronic-creatures/products/alien-ambush-animated-halloween-decoration-du2050
What part of town are you? We鈥檙e NE in the Sabin area, but usually only get 20-30 at best. We didn鈥檛 make it up to Alameda Ridge this year but it鈥檚 usually bonkers compared to our street. But then again our street is the hipster through way to Alberta Street...


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What part of town are you? We鈥檙e NE in the Sabin area, but usually only get 20-30 at best. We didn鈥檛 make it up to Alameda Ridge this year but it鈥檚 usually bonkers compared to our street. But then again our street is the hipster through way to Alberta Street...


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We are in the NE Beaumont/Wilshiire area north of the ridge. They must get 1,000 plus kids on Alameda Ridge!!!
 
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