Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Trick or treating: Map of Seattle showing the location of "Trick or Street" blocks

All the pumpkins are blocks that will closed to traffic as part of the City of Seattle's "Trick or Street Program." Map by the Seattle Department of Transportation

We can still have trick-or-treating! How families are preparing

In Seattle, more than 200 blocks will be "Trick or Streets"

Trick-or-treating will be a little different this year, but in many neighborhoods around Seattle, households are getting ready to distribute candy to costumed kids.

There just won’t be any knocking on doors.

The City of Seattle is getting involved, encouraging residents to apply to close areas to traffic, a program they’re calling  “Trick or Street Blocks.” Here’s a Seattle Department of Transportation map showing all the residential streets that will be closed to traffic, to make it easier for neighbors to do distanced outdoor Halloween festivities. By Friday afternoon the city had issued more than 200 Trick or Street permits to blocks around the city.

Many people will be leaving candy out. Some are going a step further and making candy chutes.

The most common design: a length of PVC pipe angled downward, toward trick-or-treaters’ waiting candy bags.

Tanya Davis and Todd Schulte, and their sons Will, 9, and Ben, 13 made a chute. They used a 10-foot length of 3-inch ABS pipe. Will spray-painted it a merry orange, using painter’s tape to make a spiral pattern. Schulte figures the set-up costed about $20 in total. The family refined the design as they went. They found that their porch wasn’t high enough for a full-sized Kit Kat to slide on its own, but using a tennis ball and a shop-vac in reverse did the trick. So did setting up the chute at a steeper angle.

“The surface of a candy bar has a lot more drag than you think it would!” Davis says.


Slide the candy down

Davis and Schulte plan to wait in costume on the porch for people to come by. Their block isn’t usually a trick-or-treating hotbed, but their test runs of the runs chute got a lot of interest from the neighbors.

“The little boys across the street from us and their friends were mesmerized by it,” Davis says.

Another reason Davis and Schulte are stocking up on candy: their block is going to be  a “Trick or Street” block on Halloween night.

My family is also building a candy chute, though we’re not waiting outside with it. We added a remote doorbell. Another feature: orange duct tape.

Judging by the state of store supplies, there are plenty of other households with the same idea.

On Monday, Oct. 19, it took my husband three tries to find a hardware store that had suitable pipe in stock.

We’re going to have to decorate it over the weekend, but the design works fine.

Gravity is more than enough to power a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup through our chute. This is one year when it’s actually good to have steep front steps on Halloween.


Trick-or-treating at a distance

To help trick-or-treaters find their way to candy, some neighborhood Facebook groups are coming up with crowd-sourced lists and maps of where neighbors are pledging to leave out candy or use chutes.

South King Fire and Rescue’s Station 63 is planning to meet trick-or-treaters all day on Halloween with a chute from a second-storey window. 

On one Seattle area map (location withheld on request of the author) there variety of ways to leave out trick-or-treating candy: including tables, clotheslines, placing treats on steps, dangling them from bannisters.

The Washington Department of Health’s guidelines for handing out candy are as follows:

“If you give out treats: Limit candy to individually wrapped treat bags. This reduces the number of poeple who would typically touch items in a communal bowl.”

“If possible, place treats on a table in your driveway or yard to avoid crowds at your front door. To see trick-or-treaters, sit in a chair in your driveway, garage, yard, or porch and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from the treat table.

“Place a few mini pumpkins or other decorations 6 feet apart to signal a line and keep trick-or-treaters distanced while waiting for treats.”


Preparation is part of the fun

Whatever Oct. 31 brings, making the candy chute has definitely been worth it, Davis says. Halloween is always a big deal at the Davis/Schulte house, and it means a lot that there will be festivities.

“It’s been a rough few weeks and for the kids to feel like they are doing something special for Halloween helps a lot.”


More Halloween fun

In person Halloween events 2020 for kids and families

Halloween events 2020 at local zoos and Northwest Trek

Carving pumpkins? Share your photos with Seattle’s Child!

About the Author

Fiona Cohen

Fiona Cohen lives in Ballard with her husband, two teenagers, a big vegetable garden and an absurd cat. She is the author of "Curious Kids Nature Guide," and is working on a new nature book for kids, to be published by Little Bigfoot in 2022.