“Do you think we’ll get trick or treaters? Should I buy candy?” my neighbor asked me.
During the past year, we’ve had several new people move into our Nederland neighborhood. Some from as far away as Washington, DC. Others made more local moves from the plains of Colorado – Lafayette, Greeley – up into the mountains.
Over the nine years we’ve lived here, I’ve become more aware of the cultural differences between life in a small mountain town and life in the city. Perhaps due to my blog, or perhaps due to longevity, I’ve become the de facto “guru” on all things Nederland for new people moving in.
Which is why I received the question about Halloween and trick-or-treaters.
In case, you were wondering, the answer is a resounding “No.” In nine years, we haven’t had a single trick-or-treater. The first couple of years, we had pumpkins on the porch, and actually bought candy. These days, we don’t even bother. The pumpkins rot, and the candy just adds a temptation for someone desperately trying to keep the weight off during middle age.
So why don’t we have trick-or-treaters? A myriad of reasons:
- At 8,200 feet, the weather can be pretty darned cold and inclement. As it is, this Halloween, we have five inches of new snow on the ground, and the dirt roads are super icy.
- Dark roads, and no street lights. You would have to wear a headlamp, just to avoid wandering off the road.
- The houses are far apart, due to larger properties. Property sizes can range from 1.5 to 5 acres, which means, long stretches of road have few homes to stop at. On top of that, many homes are set far back from the road, meaning, you might have to walk another ¼ mile from the road just to get to the front door. In short, you might end up walking five miles, just to get a dozen fun-size Snickers bars.
- You might run into a moose. No joke, as soon as the weather started to cool off, the moose started to appear frequently in the neighborhood. One time, in the wee hours of the morning, my husband stepped off our front porch in the dark, only to encounter a large female moose. Somehow, I doubt this is a consideration in Denver or Boulder.
That’s not to say, there aren’t opportunities for fun and spookiness for your kids if you live in Nederland. Although this year most of the events took place last weekend, there are plenty of fun things to do. Teens, Inc. usually hosts a Halloween event each year, and the Carousel of Happiness hosts the Carousel of Spookiness from 4 to 7 p.m. In Old Town Nederland, there is even some trick or treating. Other towns like Estes Park have bigger events like the Halloween Spooktacular Festival or the Stanley Hotel’s Masquerade Party. Check out this article for mountain towns that have the best Halloween festivities.
I have my own personal memory of Halloween that has nothing to do with Nederland or Colorado. Many years ago, I lived in a small town in western Maryland, Hancock. Hancock is similar in size to Nederland. However, as opposed to where we live now, I lived in a historic house right in town off the main street.
Since it was a small town, I figured I’d get a couple of small bags of candy to take care of what I thought would be a small group of children. Having a sweet tooth, I bought an extra bag for me to snack on. What I didn’t know was that all the kids from the rural areas west of Hancock came to town to trick or treat on Halloween.
The door bell kept ringing, and the kids kept coming, and coming, and coming. By 6:30 p.m., I had gone through all my three bags of candy. The local market had already closed, so there was nowhere to go to get more other than the local mini-mart at the gas station. In desperation, I removed my pumpkin, and shut the porch lights off. But they kept coming, and I felt horribly guilty. Finally, I turned off all the lights in the house, and basically sat in the dark. Occasionally, I peered out the window to see if there were any more kids walking down the sidewalk. At 9 p.m., I turned the lights back on.
The next day I talked to a neighbor, the local veterinarian, who had lived in Hancock for many years. He informed me that he had given out as much as 600 pieces of candy on Halloween. So he usually buys around 15 bags of candy. I definitely learned my lesson for the following year.