Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween: Mapping and Apping?

Good morning. I'm still too sick to take on major feats of intellectual bloggery. So I want to turn your attention to two excellent articles about Halloween.

Halloween Carpetbaggers

In Praise of Halloweens Ability to Connect Neighbors

Of course Halloween took a major hit years ago when talk of razor blades and evidence of Tylenol tampering poisoned our trust in our neighbors and in neighborhood trick or treating. In many ways that trust has never been recovered.

As a parent, I have never lived in a neighborhood that "did" trick or treating. So, I have always had to rely on the kindness of friends who lived in good trick-or-treating neighborhoods to include my children. This is not because we were desperately poor. In Bolton Hill in Baltimore City the affluent closed their doors and turned off their lights against the onslaught of "carpetbaggers" from Eutaw and North Avenue. We were renters amongst the affluent--where to go?

We lived in apartments, and we have lived in a quadroplex community in Talbott Springs that just doesn't "do" Halloween. (Some do. Very few, though.)

I kept seeing Columbia/HoCo friends post about a lack of trick or treaters this year. When I picked up my daughter from her friend's house in Stevens Forest, the sidewalks were full of costumed children and adults tagging along. And I thought, I guess it depends on where you live. We've been talking a lot in Oakland Mills about how the decision of many single family homeowners to age in place has meant a shortage of housing stock for new families to start out and grow.

There are so many streets where there are no children.

This immediately made me think of blogger Bill Santos of Columbia Compass who is incredibly good with data and charts and graphs, and who is rightly concerned about Columbia's lack of families with young children. Could this be tracked by crowd-sourcing trick-or-treating results? I wonder.

Would we able to see where housing turnover has occurred and where young families are thriving? We might also see areas where nearby apartments or pockets of poverty cause an influx or "carpetbaggers". (I hate that term.) I am not sure how one can deal with the variables here, but I think it would be fascinating to track.

A grateful shout-out to all the friends who, though the years, have taken my children under their wings so that they could enjoy a neighborhood Halloween experience. And especially to the Pastora Place/Rocksparkle Row folks: your neighborhood really has it goin' on. If there were an app to map Halloween joy, your little circle would light up the night.





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