Just because you live in an apartment building doesn't mean you can't be part of the Halloween fun. Being a trick-or-treat stop is a good excuse to sit around, eat candy and shoot the breeze with your neighbors, people and dogs walking by in outrageous costumes.
Though some big apartment and condo buildings organize inside trick-or-treating routes for kids, those of us in medium-sized apartment buildings are usually ignored. The trick to getting in on the fun is to set up a trick-or-treat stop in front of your building or on the corner of your street. If you start the trend on your street, don't be surprised to see more and more people imitating you the next year.
You will need:
-A bowl of candy
-A folding chair
-Two bowls, one large, one small
Being a trick-or-treat stop is an item on Neighbors Project's Neighbors Checklist.
Step 1: Invite Your Friends
Step 2: Shop for Candy and Decorations
If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of dogs, you should also pick up a bag of dog treats. I live in the dog capital of San Francisco, where dog treats are a must have.
Most of the bodegas in your neighborhood probably sell candy and dog treats. But they generally don't sell Halloween decorations, so you'll need to visit your local party store, or, if need be, your local chain drugstore. I bought my candy and dog treats at the bodega down the block and, though I checked a bunch of other shops, ended up buying decorations at Walgreens.
Since you'll be setting up outside, be sure to buy decorations that don't require plugging in, and that you can affix to a wall with tape that won't damage the building.
You can shop the night or weekend before, or even on your way home from work on Halloween itself.
Step 3: Create a Set Up
Try to leave work a tad bit early if Halloween is on a week day, and put up your decorations using strong tape that won't damage anything so that you're open for business while it's still light out. Make your set up visible to trick-or-treaters who might be looking down your block to see if it's worth walking. But obviously, don't obstruct the sidewalk. People should be able to get through with a stroller, a small child and a dog with no problem.
Ask your neighbors or people passing by for their advice if you're not sure about your artistic direction.
Step 4: Prep Your Treats
You don't need any fancy pumpkin bowls for your treats. Two basic baking bowls do just fine.
Step 5: Sit Down, Relax, Hang Out and Hand Out That Candy
Put up your folding chairs and offer the candy and dog treats to people walking by, including adults who aren't in costume. You'll be shocked by how many of your neighbors you'll meet. I met everyone in my building, and had long, fun conversations with a couple of them. One of my neighbors first approached us while he was returning home from work in a very large full-body bunny suit. He pawed through the candy and went inside. A few minutes later he came out with a fully-carved and -lit pumpkin to add to the set up, and stayed around to chat for a while.
Many of the small kids will come by before it gets dark, though you'll still get people until about 8:30 pm. My block has been out of the trick-or-treat circuit for so long that we got very few kids coming by; I could see tons of them down the street, but they kept turning and heading down other streets. It seemed creepy to yell, "Candy!" So we resigned ourselves to handing out candy to the many adults and dogs going by. It was still really fun. But I may move our setup to the corner with a lot of kid foot traffic next year. I couldn't get photos of the kids who did come by because the parents weren't comfortable with that, but trust me, they were cute.
This was a lot more fun than staying late at work or going to the gym, which I've done for the last few years.
Step 6: Clean Up
This will of course involve disposing of any remaining candy. My personal method is to make myself sick by eating it all. There's probably a better method, but I choose to stick to my ways.