Last week was Halloween, which of course means trick-or-treating. It was a great night to be out, whether you were with kids (like I was) or if you were handing out candy. The weather was mild here in Philly, which meant that the crowds were better than last year. I took this photo at 6:30 in the evening.
Say what you will about South Philly (I know I do), but when it comes to kids, the neighborhood really turns out. People love to compliment kids and exclaim how beautiful they are, and are always forthcoming with a hearty "Ga-bless" (short for "God bless you, you wonderful child"). This spirit is really on display during Halloween.
I grew up in a small town, with large houses on big lots. You really had to put in some effort if you were going to get around to enough houses to fill your bag. Long front walks (NEVER walk across someone's lawn to take a shortcut) and separated houses really separated candy collection points, and on top of that you had to ring the doorbell and wait for the person to answer it.
Not so in Philly. Here, the houses are only sixteen feet (or less) wide, and everyone's out on their stoop. You do more of a candy drive-by, just holding out the bag and getting your bounty. Easy on the kids, plus lots of people on the street makes for a fun environment. In about an hour, my kids had their bags full and were ready to go home.
There's a lot of talk out there about walkability in cities, as one of the may key things that make them successful. Community events like trick-or-treating really showcase a neighborhood's strengths. Ours shone brightly this year, and it's part of why I'm proud to be a Philadelphian*.
*I would be remiss if I didn't mention that you're not technically a Philadelphian if you weren't born and raised here. Just ask anyone at your neighborhood deli.