Trick-or-treating isn’t what it used to be

According to data from the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween survey, the number of American adults who say they’re planning to take kids trick-or-treating has hovered around 30 percent since 2005. But the NRF doesn’t break that data down between parents and nonparents, so many of the respondents not planning to trick-or-treat may just not have kids. Indeed, a 2011 survey by the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide found that 73 percent of parents take their kids trick-or-treating, so the tradition is still going strong.

“I don’t think there are fewer kids trick-or-treating,” says Lesley Bannatyne, a historian of Halloween who’s authored several books on the holiday. “I think they’re trick-or-treating in different places.”

Some of that, she suspects, has to do with changing neighborhoods. Americans are less likely to know and regularly interact with their neighbors than they were in previous decades, according to a 2015 analysis of General Social Survey data.