Detailed Findings and Methodology
For many trick-or-treaters, Halloween is all about efficiency — that is, obtaining the most candy possible before the night is over. Indeed, knocking on doors of empty homes is counterproductive. Every city and town on this list has a housing occupancy rate higher than the 87.7% comparable rate nationwide. In 49 of the 50 best trick-or-treating towns, fewer than 1 in every 10 homes are vacant.
Americans facing serious financial hardship are less likely to have disposable income available to spend on holidays, including Halloween. In 37 of the 50 towns on this list, the poverty rate is less than half the comparable rate 14.0% rate nationwide. None of the best towns for trick-or-treating have a poverty rate exceeding the comparable U.S. rate.
Halloween is primarily a holiday for young children, and towns with large youth populations are more likely to participate in trick-or-treating. In 32 of the towns on this list, at least one in every four residents are 14 years old or younger. In Saratoga Springs — the best trick-or-treating town in Utah — nearly 43% of the population are 14 and younger, the largest share of any U.S. town.
The safety of a town becomes even more important when many children are running around. As a result, towns with low crime rates are preferable on Halloween night. With one exception — each town on this list for which data is available has a lower violent crime rate than the U.S. rate of 386 incidents for every 100,000 people.
The best towns for trick-or-treating tend to be relatively small. The majority of towns on this list are home to fewer than 15,000 people.
To identify the best town in each state for trick-or-treaters, 24/7 Wall St. created an index using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the FBI’s 2016 Uniform Crime Report. The index consists of four measures: the poverty rate, housing occupancy rate, violent crime rate, and the share of the population aged 14 and younger. All indexed ACS data are five-year estimates from the most recently available year. Population estimates are for 2016. Only cities and towns with population estimates within a 10% margin of error were considered. Violent crime was not considered for towns in Hawaii due to insufficient data.
When the highest ranking city or town in a given state did not have at least one Halloween-themed business such as a costume store or haunted house within the surrounding county, the next highest ranking town with such establishments ranked as the best. The best town for trick-or-treating in Alaska does not have a haunted house or Halloween store in the surrounding county due to a lack of such businesses throughout the state. The average temperatures on Halloween night were estimated using the average high temperature on October 31st and the low temperature on November 1st from The Weather Channel.