Boo-yah! As the best night in a third-grader’s calendar approaches, picking spots is crucially important


It’s almost time to reach for that skeleton costume, grab a pillow case and slap on some reflective tape. And if you live in Aurora’s sprawling burbs, consider yourself lucky, because that’s prime trick-or-treating turf.

Hopping from apartment to apartment in the city doesn’t exactly scream “trick or treat.” And those rural cousins of yours can’t expect a full bag of candy if they’re hoofing it from far-flung house to further-flung house.

But the suburbs — where well-lighted streets stretch for miles and miles, with doorsteps and waiting candy bowls separated by just a short stroll — seem to be custom-made for trick-or-treating.

More than 41 million kids between ages 5 and 14 will hit the streets to trick-or-treat this year, the U.S. Census Bureau says. And those costume-clad revelers will have more than 115 million houses to choose from, with about 80 percent of their parents considering the one-mile stretch around their home perfectly safe to walk around at night.

But where should you go? Which neighborhood is the best bet?

In Aurora, neighborhoods such as Mission Viejo and Hoffman Heights boast plenty of safe and easy-to-get-to homes. The only real places to avoid are neighborhoods packed with apartments or the swankier locales gated off from the rest of town.

On any playground in the weeks before Halloween, you can find some youngster boasting about plans to go trick-or-treating in one of the fancier neighborhoods. There, the legend goes, rich folks dole out full-sized candy bars and sometimes handfuls of cash, unlike the fun-sized runts you can count on in the working-class sections of town.

That’s all probably more trick than treat. Generous homeowners can be found in any neighborhood on Halloween, and the truly important factor when choosing a neighborhood isn’t average home value or some other economic indicator. No, the most important detail is that the neighborhood is yours. You want the neighbors to see your costumes. You also want to know which neighbors are the sorts of fuddy duddies who turn out the porch light and hide from the tradition. Luckily, there aren’t many of those types in the burbs, where most homes are eager to get in on the act.

The only real problem with trick-or-treating in a big burb like Aurora is that stomach ache the morning after.

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