Here’s the thing about Halloween: It pretends to be soooo spooky and depraved, but its truest American form revolves around walking down residential blocks and knocking politely on strangers’ doors.
That’s fantastic! We don’t talk to our neighbors enough, and Halloween does more than any other day of the year to get people onto the streets and interacting.
So, in the spooky civic spirit, we polled our readers to see what the night looked like in neighborhoods across Denver. We’ve heard from folks in 25 of the 78 official neighborhoods so far.
It’s an extremely unscientific survey, but you can’t deny our main finding: There are just entirely too many kids in Stapleton, the master-planned community to the northeast. That lines up exactly with the trends that Denver Public Schools reports in its annual analysis of enrollment trends, too.
“The short story is, Stapleton’s growing, the far northeast is growing, and pretty much the rest of the city is fairly flat — and then, there are pockets of decreases, mostly in our gentrifying neighborhoods” said Sara Baris, senior manager of planning for Denver Public Schools.
There are also various influences that might distort the rankings. Some neighborhoods might not have tons of kids, but they might have an established Halloween tradition — my guess for South Park Hill — while in others, we might simply be hearing from sources who are poorly positioned.
Without further rambling, here are Denverite’s First and Maybe Only Annual Halloween Power Rankings, based on the number of reported trick-or-treaters. We welcome more responses, too.
“Way too many to count,” per professional communicator Alex Obregon Foster. “Hundreds,” according to another reader. “Hundreds of kids, I lost count,” adds Brian Inderwies.
“Fewer than past years… 300,” says Grace-Ann Westergren. Another anonymous reader notes that they paid the “Halloween Candy Tax.”
Besides a large number of young families, Stapleton also seems to be a destination, with some readers reporting that their kids purposefully headed there. After all, it’s a well-lit area that’s easy to drive to with decent sidewalks and a decent amount of retail.
2. South Park Hill:
Nearly 200 for Matt Groves’ parents in northeast Denver, “which is the norm.”
3. Crestmoor Park:
A whooping 150 or more in this eastern Denver neighborhood, per reader Meghan Frei Berglind.
4. Curtis Park:
None on the River North side, but 50 to 70 elsewhere, according to two readers. We’re going to award this fourth based on the high score and assume that our RiNo reader did something wrong.
5. West Colfax
“Increasing for sure,” per Brian Schroder, who’s seen it go from roughly 30 to more than 50. Another reader only got two, though. Tie goes to the runner.
6. Washington Park West:
About 45 for reader Jessie Koerner, down from 150 normally. What gives? “Upshot is those kids got fistfuls of candy!”
7. It’s a six-way tie.
A big leap to 30 or 40 for Jenn Superka. Usually, it’s 10. “It inspired me to actually decorate next year!”
Thirty spooky visitors, reported city planner Steven Chester. Fifteen or 20 for another reader — less than last year — but a third person saw numbers go “way up.”
About 30 for Josh Bearden, who bought “way too much candy.” As a gentrifying area, this number might be dragged down by all the young, childless couples.
About 25 to 30 for one reader, “way down from last year.”
Thirty visitors for two readers, and five bags of candy for another.
About 25 for Robyn Julyan.
A sharp reduction to 25 for Tanya Boyer.
Roughly 20 visitors for Marybeth Jones — just about average.
“Lots of trick or treaters were out! About the same as the last few years.” I don’t know how to rank that, so I’m just going to stick it here.
9. Chaffee Park:
“A decent amount,” but fewer than Jason Hornyak’s old place in Five Points. Still, they blew through “the majority of our many bags of candy.” That’s good enough for ninth, folks.
About 10 for one reader.
11. Alamo Placita:
Just a handful for Jenny Coon Peterson, about the same as last year. She figures that her place gets less traffic because it’s a larger east-west avenue rather than a north-south street.
12. North Park Hill:
“Single digits” for Matt Grove.
13. Villa Park:
“Barely any,” reports Liliana Diaz Solodukhin. She says that the lack of “a reliable or consistent network sidewalk” makes the area inaccessible.
14. University Hills:
Just one for Laura McArthur.
The Zero Club:
Zero in Hale for reader Rita Brook.
A big goose egg in Mayfair for Stacy Sauls. “Even with spooky lights and a 12′ ghoul out front,” she added. (Maybe that was the problem?) Fellow Halean (Halite?) Liz Simmons also got none. “I think they all went up to 17th Ave. in Park Hill,” she writes
None for Michael Stewart in Golden Triangle. “Have lived there 6 years and never had one trick-or-treater,” he notes.
Zero for Tom Anthony in Uptown.
Here’s how many kids actually live in each neighborhood:
This map is based on 2010 Census figures, but it shows the neighborhoods that had the highest number of kids under age 10.