The Trick or Treat Test


October 31, 2011, Washington, DC: Maybe it's actually quite simple. Maybe you can size up a neighborhood with a high degree of accuracy just by observing what happens there on Halloween.

Good neighborhoods, after all, make for great Halloweens. We value these places tonight for the same reasons we value them every other day of the week.

Ask yourself these questions and see if the trick or treat test rings true: Would I want to take people trick or treating here? Are the homes close enough together for this evening's outing? Are people sitting out front on their stoops, talking to their neighbors, waiting for visitors? Do kids who don't live in this neighborhood head here for Halloween? Is there diversity and a range of ages among the children who barrel up the steps?

If the answers are yes, maybe you've found yourself a good spot.

This is our first Halloween on Capitol Hill, despite many spent in Washington. From a Thriller dance workshop on H St. NE on Saturday night, to a dog costume contest in Lincoln Park on Sunday, to the "Hilloween" festival for children in front of Eastern Market on Monday, it's safe to say our neighborhood passes any and all Halloween tests. And that's before the trick or treating even gets underway.

There's a quirky energy here that helps this neighborhood tick. It's evident this time of year in costumes like the Barbara Bush dog in a string of pearls and the woman dressed as Beatrice from the royal wedding. But it's evident year-round. It's an energy that makes it easy to call this place home.