Celebrating Livable Streets on the Day of the Dead

It occurs to Sean Roche of Newton Streets & Sidewalks that Halloween is, in a funny way, "America’s walking holiday," with kids, parents and just about everyone heading out for an early evening stroll, chance run-ins with friends and neighbors, and no need to pull the car out of its parking spot. Happy Halloween, indeed.

Photo: Duarte Design

  • antonio

    ‘march of the pumpkins’ gets my vote

  • vito

    funny you mention this, since i just got out of a halloween office party (pizza — very spooky) where a fellow staff member shared the fact that her family needed either to drive from house to house, since their neighborhood’s houses were so far apart, or else be driven to a friend’s neighborhood where the houses were 18a walkable distance from one another. the question someone asked in response was, why didn’t the kids in her neighborhood just ride their ponies from house to house?

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I have to second Vito’s comment. When I was a kid we ran from house to house to get as much candy as possible, no parents in tow. I still live in the same relatively walkable neighborhood in my New Jersey hometown however today the kids are often followed by the lazy parents with their idling SUV at waiting at the curb. It would just kill these people to at least park the car and walk around the block with their kids!

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I third Vito and Andy’s comments. I spent part of my childhood in “the country,” where the houses were close enough together for an eight-year-old to walk to at least twenty houses in an hour, but the road had no sidewalks and narrow shoulders. My mom would drive us to a denser part of town and park, and we’d trick-or-treat there. The other part of my childhood I spent in an apartment in Manhattan, which is not really great for Halloween either.

    I just got back from a wonderful halloween here in Sunnyside. I’m worried about global warming, but it is nice that the past two halloweens have been warm enough for neighbors to sit on their stoops and hand out candy. The sidewalks and alleys of Sunnyside Gardens were packed with children. My son and his friends had a blast, and I got to say hi to some neighbors.

    I did use my mini flashing LED lantern when we crossed at some of the “stoptional signs,” though.

  • @alex

    I spent my childhood in Manhattan, which *is* really great for Halloween. Actually, back in the 70’s and 80’s when I was still trick-or-treating, it was a bit iffy, but with the density in Chelsea (with low-rise buildings, not towers like in Penn South – I can see how Halloween in an apartment in a tower superblock would be a drag) you could just walk down the block looking for jack-o-lanterns and knock on one door out of five or six and still get quite the haul.

    Nowadays, it is quite the mob scene on 22nd Street, with all the people who bring their kids from other neighborhoods to trick or treat in this now very gentrified neighborhood – we regularly get TV cameras (mostly from foreign countries covering the bizarre US customs) and no matter how much candy you buy you will run out in an hour or two.

    The past two years in downtown Troy, NY, it is medium-light (much as it was in Chelsea 30 years ago) but I hear from friends up the hill near RPI that they are overrun by people who bring their kids in by car to the (safe) “walkable neighborhood” – I don’t know if they idle by in their SUV’s – at least here in downtown the parents are walking on the street (they don’t come up the stoops, but fair enough, they aren’t getting any candy!)

  • Larry Littlefield

    Bought 600 pieces of candy this year. Ran out.

    It is almost certainly true that pedestrian traffic on our block is higher on Halloween than on any other day of the year.

  • Aaargh, I blew it.

    There was a much better line: I wish every day were Halloween.

    Please erase this from your databanks as I intend to use it next year. And the year after. &c.

  • george

    According to Ministry, every day IS Halloween.
    http://lyricwiki.org/Ministry:Every_Day_Is_Halloween