Testing Density with Trick or Treaters

Planner and urbanist Brent Toderian explains why Halloween is his favorite holiday.

Is your neighborhood full of trick or treaters on Halloween? Can kids easily find your front door? Can they safely dart across the street in their quest for candy? Former Vancouver Chief Planner, Brent Toderian, writes that trick or treating is a good test as any of a neighborhood's overall livability.

Contemporary modifications to the classic holiday, depressing ones by Toderian's standards, such as mall trick-or-treating and "trunk" or treating (basically Halloween tailgating) have been waning as denser, walkable urban neighborhoods attract young families.

Toderian writes:

"Great neighbourhoods for trick-or-treating also tend to be great neighborhoods for families everyday:

  • Tree-lined streets designed for walkers more than speeding cars.
  • Enough density and community completeness, to activate what I call 'the power of nearness' - everything you need, nearby.
  • Good visual surveillance through doors and stoops, windows (and I don't mean windows in garages), porches and 'eyes on the street.'
  • Connected, legible streets that let you 'read' the neighbourhood easily -grids tend to be good for this, but other patterns work too.

All of these are great for trick-or-treating, and equally great for walkable, healthy, economically resilient communities year-round."

Thanks to Jessica Brent

Full Story: Does You Neighbourhood Pass the 'Trick-or-Treat' Test?


Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."