Close Junction streets for trick-or-treating? Mom’s campaign

One week ago, the heart of the West Seattle Junction again brimmed with trick-or-treaters for the wildly popular two-hour event in which businesses welcomed kids to stop by for treats. Lots of smiles, lots of fun. No problems reported. But every year, some have wondered afterward, can’t the street be closed for this event as it is for other successful Junction events, like West Seattle Summer Fest and the West Seattle Junction Car Show (among others)? One local mom is doing more than wondering – she has started a dialogue with the West Seattle Junction Association, and is asking now for your thoughts. Here’s the open letter she asked us to publish:

Dear West Seattle Residents:

We are a family of 4, with two young children living in Belvidere. We are longtime residents of West Seattle and love it here mainly for the sense of community. Each year we look forward to the various Junction events where we can visit with our neighbors, patronize local businesses and roam the streets at Summer Fest, the Hi Yu Parade, WS Junction Car Show and even the Mobile Chowdown food-truck festival. The other big event we truly love is the Junction Trick or Treating, but there is one major drawback to this event.

Each year hundreds of parents, children, relatives, strollers & dogs flock to the Junction in full Halloween costume to trick-or-treat the Junction shops for only 2 hours. The streets are NOT blocked off and everyone is left crowding the sidewalks. Inevitably, there’s a logjam which leads people to step off the sidewalk either in the way of a parking car or right into the street. While I’m thankful there have been no accidents to date, it’s simply a matter of time. There has to be a better, safer way to celebrate the day.

If the Junction can close the streets for all the wonderful events I list above, then they can certainly close the streets for the safety and enjoyment of families. Understanding there are permitting costs (around $3800, I believe) and time and energy in coordinating with the City and Metro (which I’m willing to take on), there is also the benefit of bringing additional business to the Junction shops and bringing our community closer together.

Here’s what I propose…..we rally as a community, raise the money for permits, close the streets and delight in a day of trick-or-treating from 10 am to 3 pm (to capture the kids who nap early, the ones who nap late and folks who want to grab lunch at a Junction eatery!)

Here’s what I need now…..I know WSBlogers are great at commenting and speaking their minds. I’m counting on you to voice your support for closing down the streets for Trick or Treating in the Junction 2012. That’s all I’m asking…for now. Once I’ve garnered enough community support from residents and businesses, I’ll be back again for fundraising!

I’m committed to seeing this process through and count on your support!! Let’s make Halloween 2012 spooky and safe!!

Your neighbor, Behnaz Nelson

So – what do YOU think?

126 Replies to "Close Junction streets for trick-or-treating? Mom's campaign"

  • primero lo primero November 6, 2011 (10:20 pm)

    I would rather help raise $3,800 for Westside Baby, Childhaven or the YMCA partners with youth campaign. Crowded sidewalks on a trick or threat day is not in my list of priorities.

  • Lorelee November 6, 2011 (10:24 pm)

    Agreed! Great idea. Love the hour expansion- naps are all over the place- current hrs exclude most 1-4 year olds (and their parents)

  • DBurns November 6, 2011 (10:32 pm)

    Do you have any idea how the Junction businesses feel about this idea?

  • deirdre November 6, 2011 (10:32 pm)

    I have attended the Junction trick or treating once, two years ago, and will not go again until the problem.of super overcrowded sidewalks is solved. I also have two children and it is too stressful with the mob of bodies wedged shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalks. Either the street needs to be closed, or they need to make one side of the street going one way (north) and the other side going the other way (south). The latter would need serious signage and people monitoring it, so I don’t know which option would be more cost effective.

  • Aman November 6, 2011 (10:33 pm)

    IF a majority of the local Junction merchants support the idea I would support the initiative.

  • Amy Kramer Hawks November 6, 2011 (10:45 pm)

    I think the log jams could be eliminated for the most part, by simply asking people to use one side of the street to go south, and one side of the street to go north. The problem doesn’t seem to be too many people for the side walks, the problem seems to be the log jam that exists when people are going in two different directions and can’t get by each other. Having a ‘route’ would be fairly easy, I think, and encourage people to stay on the sidewalk, and out of the road. (I wen this year, and if something isn’t done, I’m not sure we’ll go back, cause it was too much for me)

  • WSB November 6, 2011 (10:45 pm)

    Dburns – I asked the author because we do ask in many instances that unless there is some matter of urgent public safety, etc., you need to take a concern/complaint to a business/organization/whomever before sending it out to tens of thousands of people here. She has been corresponding with their management, which planned to take the question to members. In the meantime, she wondered about public opinion, and since we have certainly served as a vehicle for sampling that in the past (on behalf of business groups as well as individual citizens), we published the open letter. – TR
    One other note – as we do with many WSB stories, we posted the link to the WSB Facebook page, and while we hope most opinions will be expressed here for review, some will turn up there, and if you want to check on that, the direct link is:

  • JSmith November 6, 2011 (11:12 pm)

    Routing sounds like a smart idea…

  • Neighborly November 6, 2011 (11:30 pm)

    I’d take both of my kids if the streets were closed, especially if there were a little parade (and they could flaunt their costumes without necessarily getting candy). As it is now, I appreciate the generosity, but it’s not conducive to community, as you need to keep moving. I’d live to linger and visit along the way with families we run into, rather than rush by, saying”cute costume!”

  • West Seattle mom November 6, 2011 (11:31 pm)

    I’m totally for it and fundraising. I think that it is a great community event and the more we can pull our local community together the better we all will be for it. My kids love tricker-treating up there and as an adult so do I. As most of the Junction events, I really enjoy meeting the local store owners and the overwhelming sense of our West Seattle community. I try and support our local businesses in West Seattle whenever I can (shopping for Christmas, birthdays) and I see this as a way that we can all give a little something back.

  • waterworld November 6, 2011 (11:46 pm)

    Last year near Halloween, I was visiting one particular Junction business I regularly patronize, and the subject of the annual trick-or-treat event came up. The owner of this establishment said that while this business always participates, it is a drain on the owner financially. Not only does this business not gain any customers from the Halloween event, their regular customers don’t shop that day because navigating the crowd in the Junction during the event is impossible. It’s a net loss for this person’s business every single year and it is not offset by any gain in new customers. The owner told me that supplying sufficient candy for all the children that come through costs them hundreds of dollars, and that the overwhelming majority of parents never purchase anything from the shop.

    If I were a business owner, I might feel the same way this owner did, but I can imagine it might be difficult to come out and say so without offending a lot of people. So unless a clear majority of the Junction merchants strongly support closing the street to accommodate Trick or Treating, I would not be in favor of it.

  • george November 6, 2011 (11:48 pm)

    I don’t think the streets need to be closed off. I’d rather see parking on California closed off from ATB to Shawdowland on both sides during the walk. Thus overflow from the sidewalks could be accommodated without interupting vehicle traffic.

  • xena November 7, 2011 (12:29 am)

    I live in West Seattle and don’t have children of the trick or treating age. If the junction streets were closed to allow all day trick or treating from 10-3 I would avoid the entire area for the day which means no shopping. Once I tried to go shopping while the event was going on and couldn’t get out of the store while carrying a heavy bag of dog food because so many families kept coming in the door without any regard for me.

  • huskyflake November 7, 2011 (2:54 am)

    The sense of community is certainly the charm of West Seattle, but the more important driver to that charm is that we’ve got locally owned businesses. I’d only be supportive if you could figure out a way for them to benefit. Perhaps you involve them from the beginning – $10 raised means $5 toward the permit fees and $5 that can somehow be spent with the merchants during that same timeframe. I needed to run a shopping errand this year during the event – and had to work really hard to find parking that so I could spend my money (vs. buying the same product downtown the next day while at work – which I always try to avoid, but had put the errand off so long, I’d have needed to resort to that). The employee had to come in, away from her candy hand-out duties, to take my $60. Love the costumes and community – but would rather look at the long-term impacts of being able to support locally owned businesses.

  • SSF November 7, 2011 (3:52 am)

    I’m in absolute support of closing off the street. I’ve wondered every year why they don’t. I agree it’s just a matter of time before something happens. This year we went early and left early because of the crowds. We have friends who avoid it just because the crowds on the sidewalk are so bad. I would be willing to help fundraise.

  • shihtzu November 7, 2011 (5:07 am)

    I don’t think closing the streets is necessary, but definitely route foot traffic differently. Doing a big loop, North on one side, south on the other would help things tremendously.

  • Ken S. November 7, 2011 (5:28 am)

    I’m glad to see someone taking the bull by the horns and working to make this happen.

    I think less-crowded sidewalks would make the whole event a bit less stressful – for parents trying to keep an eye on little kids, on customers that can’t get into or out-of businesses due to the crowds, etc.

    If the roads were closed, my daughter will soon be old enough that I could tell her to make her rounds while I wait for her @ Elliot Bay or something … which really could be a win-win-win :o) Good luck, Behnaz!

  • sam-c November 7, 2011 (6:00 am)

    we went last year and the two years preceding. it is very fun to see everyone in their costumes and is a great community event. I would support closing the streets it if the junction businesses supported it. I think that at least with summer fest, the parade, the car show etc, you can go shopping without having to fight a crowd through the door so the street closure is not as much of an impact to businesses. however, I think that extending the hours to accommodate naps would hurt businesses too much. I realize that a family may have multiple kids of different ages, but if a kid is young enough to nap, how much candy do they need, especially when so much of the candy passed out is hard candy, like jolly ranchers, etc.
    while I mainly support closing the street if the businesses support it, I am not as keen on extending the hours. I would really like the street closure as an opportunity for a costume parade.
    the admiral trick or treat was fun (I heard from the rest of the family- I was at work)

  • lohoho November 7, 2011 (6:20 am)

    Yes this is a great idea. To raise the money, you could sell tent space for the street and have food trucks. It could turn into a Halloween festival. So fun! My email Let me know how I can help out.


  • Jessica November 7, 2011 (6:34 am)

    Yes! I am all for closing the streets. We were there for a second this year with a stroller- couldn’t move so we left! Seems it would be much more enjoyable for everyone and better for businesses too!

  • rw November 7, 2011 (6:34 am)

    Trick-or-treating creates a bottleneck for car traffic through the junction as it is, so I wouldn’t see a big deal in closing California through the junction completely for a few hours. As it stands I don’t know how businesses can conduct normal business during that period anyway. If the businesses are OK with a closure, then I would be, too. Also, who would pay for the police to reroute traffic during the event?

    By the way, since when has trick-or-treating been about going from business-to-business rather than home-to-home? I grew up in a more suburban area, so I don’t recall this “tradition.” Is it because we don’t trust our neighbors as much as we used to, so we coerce businesses into filling this gap in our social fabric? Just wondering.

  • Ricky J. November 7, 2011 (6:44 am)

    Occupy the Junction! Force them fat cat business owners to give us candy! This is a little extreme. Take something a few businesses do to be nice and try to put it to a vote for the local community on how to make the candy mining more efficient. LOL. The best idea was putting up signs to direct the flow of people and others to calmly remind them to go with the flow. For the businesses who receive no purchases and nothing but a horde of cute little crumb snatchers all day long it might be a good day to close up shop if your going to force them out of business with a vote anyways? I hope local pressure doesn’t force them to outsource the event to India or Pakistan just to stay profitable.

  • TCH November 7, 2011 (6:49 am)

    This is a service provided by the merchants and I would hate to see them lose the additional business from 10am – 1pm. Plus I would not think they want to devote an entire day to giving out candy. There are many options for trick or treating so if this one does not work for some then try something else.

  • Jessica November 7, 2011 (6:49 am)

    Yes! I am all for closing the streets. We were there for a second this year with a stroller- couldn’t move so we left!

    Seems it would be much more enjoyable for everyone and better for businesses too!

  • WS Born & Bred November 7, 2011 (6:54 am)

    While this is a nice event, I hate to support further drain on small local businesses that often struggle to stay afloat. There’s a lot of talk about community here but what about your own neighhborhood community – I thought that’s what trick or treating was about. I got a goood 30+ costumed kiddos at my door thiis year but my neighborhood does a good job decorating and creating a welcoming environment. I talk to people in other areas who say they only get 1-2. Bringing more trick or treating back to the neighborhoods brings communities closer and spreads out resources.

  • Mags November 7, 2011 (7:09 am)

    My husband was almost hit by a car during this event in the crosswalk by West Seattle Coin. He had our 2 year old on his shoulders. The car was trying to beat the light turning left westbound, couldn’t make it, then tried to reverse into us while we were legally in the crosswalk. We love this event but decided against going again until streets are closed or strollers are banned. Ironically I think if the streets were closed we would probably do sone shopping on that day. You cannot get inside the stores to browse. I think the junction merchants are great and believe me we take note and make sure to frequent the business when we can.

  • Jessica November 7, 2011 (7:12 am)

    Yes! I am all for closing the streets. We were there for a second this year with a stroller- couldn’t move so we left!

    Seems it would be much more enjoyable for everyone and better for businesses too!

  • Anne November 7, 2011 (7:28 am)

    Every year after trick or treating in the junction our family talks about what would help with the congestion.Some of us would like to close the streets but feel it might be too costly.ALL of us agree it would be worth trying the “routing idea”.I also like the previous comment of restricting parking on California Ave.I have no idea what doing that entails-permits/costs-but maybe we could try on or both of these ideas next year-it’s worth a try anyway.

  • bridge to somewhere November 7, 2011 (7:32 am)

    I think it is asking a lot of those businesses to think of ways to make getting their free candy more efficient. Me and my neighbors had candy at our houses to give kids and yet nobody came by. The streets weren’t crowded in the neighborhood, and it wasn’t a financial burden for us.

  • Gina November 7, 2011 (7:33 am)

    I had an office errand to do in the Junction during the trick or treat time, did a quick in and out but didn’t make my usual Saturday little purchases because of the crowds. I do think having the Kiddie’s parade during the Halloween Junction trick or treat and not in the summer, combining the two events might be a good mix. Close the streets for the afternoon. Move the event to Halloween afternoon. The question would be how many streets to close? Businesses all the way from Andover down toward the Rite Aid hand out candy, and the sidewalks are filled all along those routes.

  • Terry November 7, 2011 (7:41 am)

    No chance. Junction shops are getting killed as it is. Ask them. Even the lack of parking due to the farmers market hurts them. Trick or treat in your neighborhood.

  • AE November 7, 2011 (7:45 am)

    Let the Junction merchants decide if some, or any, of these suggestions will make sense for them. To forgo paying customers on a weekend day is a financial burden beyond the cost of the candy and employee time needed to hand it out.

    PS: I am not affiliated with any Junction businesses.

  • juneb November 7, 2011 (7:47 am)

    I agree with @sam-c…I would support a 2-hour street closure only, say from 10-12 or 2-4. It is cute to see the kids dressed up and my child has enjoyed it, but I too would completely avoid that area if the closure were for 5 hours and I don’t think that’s a good idea for the businesses.

  • Sherman Potter November 7, 2011 (7:54 am)

    All of the ideas presented here are great!

    Adults – presumably parents of the children – will stand on street corners to tell people in which direction to walk so as not to disrupt the flow.

    For instance, if you are to walk from the east on SW Alaska to California Ave., someone will have a post on the corner where they can guide you to the north.

    Maybe you are just trying to cross the street, but, no matter! Eventually, another block or so later, another parent will say that it is OK to cross westward.

    Once safely in the flow of the parents and children, you can cross California Ave. safely and then can be instructed to head south.

    Fifteen minutes later, you are standing across the street from where you started.

    You then are instructed to continue to head south, but you really just need to go west a few more steps.

    You take matters into your own hands and walk seven steps westward. A surge of children make your progress slow, then suddenly an angry parent of a trick-or-treater tackles you from behind.

    Now you missed your bus, and you didn’t even notice that the model train store and liquor store were both now gone, which is why you went to the area in the first place.

    You decide to go to the West 5 to have a drink, but have to circle the block again before you can return.

    No one cares because you are obviously an alcoholic that likes model trains and this day/night is all about the children.

    When you finally make it to the West 5, it is full of parents looking for a bathroom with children looking for candy.

    Seventeen people wait in line for the bathroom, yet the seats in the establishment are empty. The liquor board has an agent there that night, and when you finally order a drink he steps up waving a badge because two hyper 5 year-olds are running through the designated “adults only” area.

    The bartender gets handed a ticket costing him $710 and he is so angry he quits. No one notices except you who has yet to get a drink.

    You leave and try to get back to your bus stop but are swept away in a southward tidal wave of trick-or-treaters.

    After fighting your way back north, following directions given to you by the corner parents, you realize that you have passed your southward bus stop twice in the last twenty minutes.

    Eventually, after the swarming hoard has diminished, you wait at your bus stop for 45 minutes before noticing the posted sign announcing the re-route of Metro 22 due to the closing of the streets for the trick-or-treating children.

    Six and a half hours later, you return to your apartment soaking wet. Your feet are white and wrinkled from the rain. You call your brother and tell him life is not worth living.

    19 weeks later you are released from the “hospital”. Maybe you shouldn’t have taken a swing at the police officer after your brother called them expressing his concern.

  • michael November 7, 2011 (8:06 am)

    Get 90% support from the Merchants first.
    Also, there will be costs associated with this. Who pays?

  • herongrrrl November 7, 2011 (8:13 am)

    I’m with Terry. I have two trick-or-treating age kids and I would much rather see the tradition of neighborhood trick-or-treating upheld (which we do) than mooch off merchants who are most likely participating in the hope of attracting business (which it sounds like isn’t really working).

    In neighborhoods, too, a house can choose not to participate in trick-or-treating by turning off the porch light. With an event like ToT at the Junction, how does a merchant opt out without seeming like a sourpuss, which is also bad for business?

  • wsnative November 7, 2011 (8:14 am)

    I’m not for expanding this new “tradition” of begging treats from commercial establishments. Parents should take their tots trick-or-treating to neighbors the old fashoned way.

  • keith November 7, 2011 (8:17 am)

    I like the idea of encouraging north/south walking
    per side of street. Great. Also, perhaps a small fee for families, in which $$ goes back to the business’s who are losing customers during this time. A small fee may also cut down on some congestion.
    I do enjoy meeting the business owners, and stores that I normally don’t frequent. Asking business’s to close off streets, and suffer more loss during this time is paved with good intention, but arrogant. No, strike that word, sorry. I’d say it’s very unfair to do this to business’s who are already being very gracious.

  • Ed November 7, 2011 (8:18 am)

    I’m in favor of closing the Junction to car traffic during trick-or-treating. If that can’t happen, I have two additional suggestions for the businesses to keep the foot traffic flowing.

    1. Don’t force the kids to come in to your store for the candy. Meet them out on the sidewalk.

    2. Don’t hold the candy out for the kids to choose from. Drop something into their bag or pumpkin and send them on their way.

  • Optimistic November 7, 2011 (8:23 am)

    Let’s do a parade! I love Halloween and have 3 kids that love to decorate and dress-up. The one draw back is all the candy. The tradition of trick or treating historically has been kept to local neighborhoods as a way to show-off costumes and visit with your local communities. This event is a drain on businesses and results in families having an overload of candy which quite frankly gets given away or thrown in the back of a pantry. We should create a new Halloween tradition! Ashland, Oregon has a Halloween parade every year. It puts the focus on dress-up and community. Everyone from little kids to teenagers to adults digs deep to come up with creative and over the top costumes. I have friends that work on their costumes for months for this event. I would love to raise money for something that might draw people from other parts of Seattle to generate new shoppers for our local merchants. The trick or treating event as it is today is mainly geared at little kids as the older ones might just tag along for free candy. Wouldn’t it be great to turn Halloween into a community event, one which might drive new money into our businesses? Streets should only be closed if local merchants will benefit. I am in favor of a Halloween parade that focused on creativity and celebration. Leave the trick or treating for neighborhoods!

  • AM November 7, 2011 (8:26 am)

    totally agree with the first comment: “I would rather help raise $3,800 for Westside Baby, Childhaven or the YMCA partners with youth campaign. Crowded sidewalks on a trick or threat day is not in my list of priorities.”
    How ridiculous! Closing the streets so kids can get more free candy? While i think it’s fun the businesses participate every year, there’s no need to close streets. If the sidewalks are too crowded, then don’t go!

  • JD November 7, 2011 (8:30 am)

    The Junction Trick-or-Treat is a big candy grab. I completely agree that the neighborhood action is where it is at and think that there are soo many more deserving causes for raising money. I have 2 little kids and when we go to the Junction it is to eat, shop… not grab candy. Support local businesses and remind your kids to floss daily!

  • Amanda November 7, 2011 (8:35 am)

    While I love the idea of community, the community we should be focused on is our local neighbors. Putting pressure on local merchants, other folks without kids, or people who don’t celebrate Halloween is not fair. Where I grew up (Midwest) we trick-or-treated in the neighborhood, never at a business. Why not host a huge Halloween party on your block Behnaz? You can shut it down and invite everyone down your way? Plenty of time to mix and mingle for Halloween – plus $3800 would throw quite the party!

  • Anonymous November 7, 2011 (8:42 am)

    I vote for a parade like the 4th of July Parade for the little ones. Quit begging for freebies from our local merchants! Come on, I have two little ones and they love to go to the junction to see all of their friends in costume, the candy(which they receive too much of on Halloween already) is secondary.

    I have been to the junction to trick or treat with my little ones but I have never stepped foot into one of the businesses, other than to stop for lunch afterwards. You couldn’t stop to shop if you WANTED to, too many people/kids blocking the entrances.

    I vote we leave the business owners alone and focus our energy on a low-cost, community supported parade that begins/ends near the junction. I know that our family would head to the junction beforehand for coffee, breakfast, etc. and we’d definitely linger afterwards for beverages, lunch, etc.

    My kids get enough free candy on Halloween but with the schools no longer allowing costumes(parties) my kids would also be more willing to ditch the extra candy in favor of a ‘celebration’ or ‘parade’ of some sort. It doesn’t have to cost thousands…..we CAN do this!

    Whomever is in charge of the 4th of July Kids’ Parade needs to step in and get us going in the right direction.

  • Kayleigh November 7, 2011 (8:48 am)

    This actually cracked me up. The helicopter-parented generation now needs the streets closed off to get its free candy? Wow. We as working, taxpaying, generally exhausted and harried adults and business-owners with errands to do and livings to make–anything else we can sacrifice to make life easier and more fun for the 5-year-old set? Good gawd.

  • My 2 Cents November 7, 2011 (8:55 am)

    Go back to neighborhood trick or treating. Get to know your real neighbors! I’ve never thought getting candy from a store was in the true spirit of Halloween ~ plus the little kids in the strollers don’t even know any different! So I guess my vote is NO TO STREET CLOSING!

    How did this ‘store treating’ get started anyway?!

  • Ahh WS November 7, 2011 (9:03 am)

    Thank you Kayleigh! AGREE & AMEN!!! If YOU feel it’s unsafe for you and your children- don’t go.

  • ummm November 7, 2011 (9:07 am)

    No thank you! Take your kids trick or treating in your neighborhoods and do your shopping in the shopping district. We don’t need to totally close down the Junction just so kids can eat free candy.

  • keden November 7, 2011 (9:08 am)

    I was at the junction during trick-or-treating, and the intersection near Shadowland was terrible. Pedestrians were all over the place, and cars were trying to figure out how to get around them. Closing the streets would keep everyone safer, but I think it should be for two hours at the most.

  • DF November 7, 2011 (9:08 am)


  • george November 7, 2011 (9:08 am)

    Yeah, lets have a toddler get run over and killed before we take action!
    As for the businesses, I’ve seen many of them get creative and hand out a 5 or 10% coupon to encourage repeat traffic. I mean really, when do you get a chance in 2 hours to have hundreds of new eyeballs come to your front door? O.P.P.O.R.T.U.N.I.T.Y. Or, are you going to wimper and cry about it? If all that candy costs that much, then have the Merchants Association find a way to chip in for some of the cost, instead of permits. One way traffic. Close off parking for 2 hours. Done.

  • KBear November 7, 2011 (9:09 am)

    If these are the same parents who insist on pushing their strollers in the bike lane on Alki (while walking 6 abreast), then trying to “route” them in a single direction through the Junction is hopeless.

  • george November 7, 2011 (9:11 am)

    Poor Kayleigh. Two hours out of your time in the Junction have your knickers all twisted up? I think the explanation you painted yourself with also matches the description of the parents of the toddlers. Gosh, go have a cocktail and take some of the edge off. Will you bash the 4th of July parade too?

  • Lfauntleroy November 7, 2011 (9:11 am)

    Do not close the junction streets. Do not trick or treat the junction stores. Trick or treat your neighbors on Halloween Night. This is what is exciting a fun about this holiday. Why should the junction business owners have to suffer this misery. Host your own halloween block party!! Offer your friends and neighbors pizza and set out as a group to canvas your very neighborhood you live in. Silly daytime business district trick or treating.

  • CEA November 7, 2011 (9:22 am)

    How about moving the event out of the Junction and into a safer, less congested space where the children could parade in costume? We are so lucky to be blessed with open spaces and wonderful community centers in West Seattle. This seems to be a better solution for all involved.

  • JimmyG November 7, 2011 (9:28 am)

    I feel sorry for the Junction business owners who are forced to participate in handing out candy when it does ZERO for their particular business.
    I shop the Junction several times a week but avoid it at all costs when the trick-or-treating is happening.
    Why are parents not taking their kids in their own neighborhoods? Or are you doing both? If so, that is lame.
    What are you teaching your kids by having them go store to store in costume, that’s never been what trick-or-treating has been about. I’m guessing it’s more about the parents, being out and social and showing off the kids latest costume.
    Bottom line, if this was such a great idea (meaning money maker) for our local businesses, don’t you think they would be pushing for this themselves?

  • seaview November 7, 2011 (9:41 am)

    Silly to make free candy a reason to close down the streets. Halloween should be celebrated on the 31st of October. Too many people want to make Halloween a weeklong event so that by the time the 31st comes around, kids have no idea when it is. Plus, the whole LOOK AT ME thing is tiresome.

    What if it’s raining next year? Your kids are going to grow up & then you’ll be the one bothered by the massive choke point the junction will be.

    I have a 3 & 5 year old & have no inclination to participate in the event.

  • Al November 7, 2011 (9:44 am)

    I agree with Lfauntleroy. We have less than 10 kids coming to our door each year…probably b/c the kids just go to the businesses. What happened to door-to-door neighborhood trick or treating? We avoid the Junction on that day no matter what. Why does this merit a parade?

  • MercyMoi November 7, 2011 (9:58 am)

    I don’t get the ask-businesses-for-candy thing either. I live in the Junction and I don’t even take my kid to this event. It’s chaos, and worse when it’s raining and people have umbrellas gobbling up even more space. I like seeing costumes, I like visiting other families I know, I like the festive spirit – but all that could be satisfied in a community party (kiddie parade or block party or what have you). I DO enjoy neighborhood trick-or-treating on the 31st because we get to see our neighbors. Before I had a kid I had little reason to knock on doors of folks near me, introduce myself, find out who they are. Trick-or-treating is a social lubricant!

  • WSMama November 7, 2011 (10:02 am)

    No, really not interested. I have taken my kids to that in the past and probably won’t again. It’s nice of the businesses to put it on but I don’t think shutting the streets down is something that should be done.

  • Spamela November 7, 2011 (10:06 am)

    I think a simple solution over closing the entire street is to close the street parking on California for those 2 hours. Then that would open up the sidewalks a bit and give everyone some breathing room.

  • WestseattleMom November 7, 2011 (10:17 am)

    Am I the only one that thinks Halloween should be celebrated in your neighborhood at night? I have never, and will never take my kids to stores in the afternoon for trick or treating. I enjoy saying hello to our neighbors and seeing the same kids each year. I don’t think Junction stores should have to lose business and provide mass amounts of candy for a silly holiday that should just take place in you neighborhood for an hour or so. Have we become so afraid of everything that we can’t even walk around our neighborhoods at night on Halloween?

  • Batwoman November 7, 2011 (10:18 am)

    Close the streets and let the festivities run for longer than 2 hours. Let’s have a haunted house, face painting and pumpkin painting in the street! Corn on the cob and kettle corn vendors!

  • schmitzmom November 7, 2011 (10:30 am)

    Before I comment either way, I’d like to hear from the Junction businesses. I too prefer to trick or treat in my neighborhood and avoid the disaster at the junction, but if this is supported by the businesses, then I would reconsider.

  • Elizagrace November 7, 2011 (10:37 am)

    I think there are some easier solutions we could try first… like asking people to leave strollers at home. If your kid is in a stroller are they really in tune with the idea of Halloween anyway? Plus, most of those strollers I see are empty so the kid can walk up to the store and get the candy, so why do you have it with you?

    I also like the idea of the directions. It wouldn’t be too hard to plan, sidewalks move with the lane of traffic. On the right, head north, on the left, head south.

    For those who don’t enjoy the crowd, you know when this is taking place, plan accordingly.

    There was an interesting program on NPR about a town in Connecticut where the a neighborhood street got so many trick or treating kids that they had to ask for candy assistance… people who went to trick or treat there donated in advance since they got over 10,000 kids! There is an idea.

  • WSB November 7, 2011 (10:44 am)

    This is meant to be a discussion. It’s come up every year after the **well-attended and popular** event, as noted, and it’s great that somebody has taken the initiative of perhaps settling the question for once and for all. It’s awesome that many different issues have already arisen in the span of only 60 comments (which may look like a lot but is a miniscule percentage of the regular readership, lots of room for more to jump in) – this is obviously not just a case of “close or don’t close.” HOWEVER, no snideness, please. If you disagree with something somebody has said, say so, but respectfully. Stick to the topic. We don’t do surveys/polls because that tends to limit the option of what can be observed (imagine if this was just a vote YES/close streets, NO/don’t, we wouldn’t be hearing the alternatives and observations that have arisen), but that doesn’t mean it’s open season to lob general criticisms. Thanks – TR

  • Valerie November 7, 2011 (10:47 am)

    It doesn’t much matter to me – I avoided the Junction during Trick or Treat this year. I would avoid The Junction and probably many other farther-flung, locally-owned businesses even more assiduously during whatever time the streets were closed, because guess what – having these key streets closed makes it more difficult to navigate to any weekend errands in WS, whether around the Junction or up as far as Admiral. Yes, I can work around it. But I also hate to see the locally-owned businesses, who I try to support, losing business because of it.

  • datamuse November 7, 2011 (10:50 am)

    I guess this explains why I never see trick or treaters at my house. What’s the rationale behind trick or treating with businesses anyway?

  • 2 Much Whine November 7, 2011 (11:24 am)

    I think the shops should give out small airline-sized bottles of liquor. It would really cut down on the number of kids and make it far more fun for the adults. Perhaps the jewelry stores could give free diamonds, the coin shop could give rare coins or gold and the smoke shop could provide cigarettes. Too snarky? I’ll trade you three tequilas for a scotch. . . . .

  • Libertybell November 7, 2011 (11:27 am)

    As a past Junction merchant and the Chair of the West Seattle Car Show, I can promise you that closing the streets is not as simple as having the money to get a permit. As the Junction is a transit center, it involves the approval of Metro as well as the city. I can only guess that it will get even harder when Rapid Ride come through. Besides, it is amazing how much it costs in the long run to close a street. There is a lot more than the permit involved and the city is not fond closing streets for short periods of time.

    Also, as the trick or treating takes time away from running a business, extending the hours puts a larger strain on the merchants time and resources. I know the Junction tries hard to make their events work for everybody – customers and merchants. It’s a hard balance to keep.

    The Junction merchants put a lot of time and money into providing community events. These events are a way for the merchants to say “Thank You” to the community. They most certainly are not put on to make money. As for trick or treating, it is true that merchants spend hundreds of dollars on candy, only for the purpose of saying thanks for your business and support throughout the year.

    West Seattle is a dynamic neighborhood and we are all proud to live here. Please remember next time you want to shop online, or outside West Seattle, what your local merchants do for you.
    Enjoy Hometown Holidays .. it’s the Junction’s next event.

  • margaritaville November 7, 2011 (11:43 am)

    Aren’t the treats a GIFT from the Junction Merchants? If the merchants choose to GIVE out treats on a Saturday afternoon, are they doing so by choice or required by their merchant association? Aren’t the Mobile Chow Down and Car Show held on Sunday – a time when many of the merchants are closed? Aren’t all the merchants in the Junction open for business on the Saturday prior to Halloween? Due to lack of parking, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to support our local merchants. If parents wish to ‘direct traffic’ that would be great – though it would be akin to herding cats and might be worth the price of admission. Our household will stick to passing out generous treats to the cute little munchkins in the neighborhood; and do our Saturday shopping elsewhere.

  • Store Owner November 7, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    As a store owner in the Junction who is not a memmber of the Junction Association but pay huge BIA fees, I would not support this. As already commented, the candy event is a costly event; this year I spend $450 on candy and lost 90% of an average similar day sales for that day. If half of the parents that came that one day, would shop in the Junction, then I might feel differently. However, I saw few of my regular customers that day and almost none that will likely venture into my store again (except for next year’s candy event). Yes – I am not posting my store name just because of the vicious comments that this blog seems to generte. However, some posters have asked how merchants feel. For me, I participate for “community” sake, but its a looser for me as a business.

    • WSB November 7, 2011 (12:39 pm)

      Thanks, “Store Owner,” although – while I realize “vicious” is subjective – I do want to say, we don’t “generate” “vicious” comments here. Not allowed. If you see something you consider “vicious” that somehow got through, please e-mail us with the URL so we can review it (each comment following a news story has its own Web address; right-click on the “number sign”). Critical, sometimes – sure, just like ANY discussion, in person, online, at the local bar, wherever. Vicious, no. (Although our stance is unique in the media industry – you think you’ve seen unpleasant comments following WSB news stories? nothing like what you will find on the corporate media websites, like the Times, the TV stations, etc., which do NOT enforce stringent rules – and in fact, our decision to disallow personal attacks, etc., has drawn US flack, with cries of “censorship!”, but we believe in it, strongly.) Anyway, thanks for reading, and for commenting, and for having a business here! – TR

  • mike November 7, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    I love kids and think it’s a rite of passage for them to trick or treat, however I don’t believe the businesses should be held hostage just to make it convenient for parents. If you think it’s too stressful in the Junction, then don’t go. But if you do attend, make sure and purchase something along the way to support their generosity. This is not an entitlement, but be thankful that we live in a community which wants to give back and support family style events, however it should also be remembered that not everyone has kids.

  • whoo! November 7, 2011 (12:52 pm)

    I am going to work a different angle here. I am also an advocate of trick or treating in your neighborhood on Oct 31st and not any other day. I don’t understand the need for all these trick or treat events 2-3 days before Halloween! How much candy do we need our kids to consume? We have an enormous obesity issue with our kids. Events that encourage us to get as much candy as possible only perpetuate that problem.

  • Highland Park resident November 7, 2011 (1:07 pm)

    I do not live near the Junction, nor do I bring my children to the Halloween festivities there. I just read that the only holiday where we spend more money than on Halloween is Christmas. Halloween has become an increasingly “ramped up” holiday. Maybe because we don’t live near the Junction we still get a lot of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood on Halloween–and I love that. I would like to see the spectacle that this holiday has become de-escalate. It’d be great to see the kids return to the neighborhoods and have the holiday reclaim it’s night-time spookiness–and it delightful, scary simplicity.

  • cj November 7, 2011 (1:09 pm)

    Its a great idea and I support it. West Seattle is growing in terms of car population. I moved here in 2001 and the difference is quite noticeable and scary. We are shoving in all these multi-family units and not taking responsibility for the car population it produces in a community that has no expandable land to offer [water all around us , hello?] Personally I think the entire junction of two blocks should be blocked off permanently. However the petitioner is right, it IS only a matter of time and when somebodies child is run over by one of our intoxicated drivers [we have plenty] then come back and tell us how much more important diapers are.

  • old timer November 7, 2011 (1:45 pm)

    Wow, the “entitlement” crowd joins with the “I have kids so the world is my family room” crowd.
    Together, they have become demanding locusts, swarming thick enough to clog streets in their search for freebies, faux glamor, and something to do.
    Stay in your own neighborhood for your TorT activities,
    get businesses out of the hand-out game, and
    leave the rest of us alone.

  • shop owner November 7, 2011 (1:59 pm)

    as a shop owner the influx is not a finacial gain but a drain. i cannot get behind increasing the hours(egads)nor blocking off the streets. how about a community costume parade and activities in a park, there are some great open fields to choose from. my preference would be to steer it away from businesses and candy(i cannot in good conscience give refined sugars to the wee tykes.)

  • AJP November 7, 2011 (2:08 pm)

    It’s very nice that they offer this, but I do think people should just trick-or-treat in their own neighborhood and build up community. I would never go to the Junction or the Westwood T-r-Ts. We did go by a few business in White Center (absolutely no crowds!) just to support that area of town with friendly people on the streets.

  • Katy November 7, 2011 (2:17 pm)

    Um, ban strollers? Some people have more than one kid. I would, perhaps, like to take my older child out without having to carry the baby the entire time. I understand some parents aren’t the most considerate with strollers, but come on, don’t let a small minority blind you with rage.

    I didn’t attend the Junction trick or treat this year because my daughter is a bit young, the crowds too numerous, and it’d have been chaos for me. Why not close a few blocks of the street for two hours, ask for $5 ish donations to offset candy costs/permits, collect food for the food bank, etc. There must be smart ideas to make this event work for both businesses and families..,and two hours on a weekend hardly impedes traffic and the non-family crowd at the level some are suggesting. Not everyone can trick or treat successfully in their own ‘hoods. We live on a busy street that is not conducive, our neighbors aren’t exactly neighborly (warrant arrest for a felony next door on Halloween night, to be precise!) so I do plan to take my kids to these types of community events in the future, and it has nothing to do with getting boatloads of free candy or handouts. Those of you who are parents can understand how much joy a three-year-old gets out of repeatedly dressing up as a fire fighter! I hope people can work together to do something fun for the community.

  • Jen November 7, 2011 (2:28 pm)

    The first time I attended a Junction trick-or-treat event was when my kiddo was super small and we didn’t actually take candy as he was too young for it. It was more an opportunity to check out all the awesome and creative costumes and gather together as a community. It was awesome. At the time, we were new to West Seattle and rented a house near Westwood Village, never really spending much time in the Junction.

    Since then, we bought a home 2 blocks from the Junction and spend most of our dining out dollars and a healthy percentage of our holiday dollars there. I recognize that merchants lose revenue on a Saturday prime-time event like this, but there is something to be said for the good will engendered by it as well. I believe one previous commenter mentioned the thousands of eyeballs the stores get during this and I’d bet it does guarantee future business.

    I love the idea of doing a parade rather than a trick or treat candy fest. I also agree that neighborhood trick or treating is wonderful and since my kids are now old enough/mobile enough/safety conscious enough, we have switched from the Junction event to only our neighborhood – after all, how much candy do they really need??? BUT, I will say I *really* missed checking out all the costumes and seeing the fun & creative things many of the merchants did.

    I imagine that there are wiser folk than myself who will be working on this, but if we did do a parade in the Junction and closed the street for, say, 2 hours, there would be less of a crush and folks could actually get into the stores to shop or dine. I truly think that an earlier window would be better because of the nap issue, but don’t think it should be stretched out over too many hours. Perhaps the Junction Association could do little grab bags for the kiddos with input from any merchants that wanted to participate (a single piece of candy, a mini creepy toy, a coupon, other marketing material, whatever) which would cut down on the amount of crap that had to be bought and consumed. Admiral Junction also does a nice job on Halloween afternoon itself, maybe that time frame would be better for the Junction as it’s not weekend prime-time?

    I think the entitlement crowd comments are a little on the harsh side. People come to this event because it exists and works for folks with tiny kids. It was started by the Junction Association, not because some ‘entitled’ parent demanded it, but because it fosters goodwill and builds community, which is a big part of local business success. With two small kids, we are pretty dialed into the family-friendly facets of West Seattle and I can tell you that there is a fierce sense of community pride, huge ‘shop local’ support, and lots of local charitable giving and acts among this segment of the community, too.

  • Lame Halloween November 7, 2011 (2:35 pm)

    Close the streets, or don’t. I’ll stay the heck away from businesses that day.

    Point is, trick-or-treating in the day time, on a day that is not Halloween is just lame. Get to know your neighbors, let your kids have the fun of going out after dark, put some Irish cream in your coffee and get your exercise in with them as you prowl the ‘hood, just stop making Halloween so lame. You don’t need to drive to a “safe location” to trick or treat during the day and request that the streets be closed down–that’s just weak sause.

  • KBear November 7, 2011 (2:38 pm)

    Looks like the Junction Association has created a monster—how appropriate for Halloween!

  • Store Owner November 7, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    To clarify my comments, the $450 was in candy cost alone. When I add my normal staff cost, average day overhead (space rental, electric, etc) and then subtract my till for the day, my net loss for that day was a minimum of $983 (which does not inclue the .5FTE that I had to add that day just to hand out candy, which woud have put it over $1k).

    How about charging each child $10 to enter. That just about might cover part of our costs with a proper donation. Sorry to be scrouge, but residents of WS just dont seem to get the eoncomics of running a business here and the lack of patronage and what it does to our sustainability. The Junction Merchant Assoc. has created a monster, but it is they.
    WSB — you know who your posters are and those that often make the snarky comments just to provoke. I am a diminishing fan because it is out of control; I follow the adagage about the TV, turn if off when I find it offensive.

  • Cowpie November 7, 2011 (3:30 pm)

    I agree with Lame Hallowee….

    Not interested in this idea at all. Stop being lazy and take your kid door to door in your local neighborhood like you did as a kid.

    I stay away from the busineess on that day. You need to stop being selfish and think of the businesses. Remember to the rest of us your kid is just a kid, one of 8 billion born in the last 100 years.

  • ikahana November 7, 2011 (3:43 pm)

    I don’t know – I understand why trick or treating started becoming a business event, I guess, but I don’t like it. I am old. I think kids should go to homes, not a place where folks are trying to make a living by selling stuff. It doesn’t seem right. I’d love to see an end to the trick or treating in shops. An unleashed monster, indeed.

  • george November 7, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    Ok Store Owner, I’m calling you out. You say your candy cost is $450. Lets say each candy costs $.25 4×450 means about 1800 people are collecting candy from you, correct? Even if there are 2 kids per family, thats at least 900 single parents, or 1800 parents cruising in front of your store. And your additional “costs” are from 2 hours of time spent? I find that rather inflated. If you can’t find a way to make 1% of 1800 sales, or 18 people to come back and repeat traffic, then a huge opportunity is being missed. How can you pin a whole day loss on 2 hours of trick or treating. ReallY??
    For $450+ $20 in some labor, you can’t get better marketing. And you should know, its not always about the people walking in the store on a given day, but how did you get them to come back from “window shopping” to buying the product. The businesses in the Junction are in sad shape if Halloween is crushing their business. What is the Food Trucks, Car Shows and WS Grand Parade doing? You blame the kids? For shame.

  • WS Neighbor November 7, 2011 (3:57 pm)

    I, for one, am sad that the junction events mean that we get only a small trickle of trick or treaters at our door each halloween. Ever stop to think that it is just as much fun for the adults at home to participate in answering their doors and handing out candy as it is for the kids to dress up and go door to door?

  • Iggy November 7, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    I feel sorry for the merchants. This does nothing for their business and lots of us STAY AWAY that day. West Seattle Junction should not shut down to cater to a few kids (sweet as kids are). They should have Halloween at school or home neighborhood or community center and not disrupt sales for the merchants and those of us trying to shop. As for traffic in the Junction. Those of us who regularly cross at the Oregon and California corner can tell you it is dangerous all the time. People think a walk sign is a drive/turn sign for cars and regularly play chicken with us older folks who are trying to cross there.

  • shop owner November 7, 2011 (4:10 pm)

    i would say YES, in this economy some shops are in sad shape,some are already gone some clinging by a thread….so please try to not be snarky, to distill the store owner’s concerns down to what YOU feel is an acceptable finacial loss is not a very compassionate response. it is just this attitude of ‘be grateful or else’ that is a bit off putting.
    i say again get a park! have a bunch of festive activities(something to burn off all that sugar energy) and a parade for costumes. it seems, from all the posts, that that is what the parents want anyway. it seems to answer all their needs. buy your kids some candy and go have some spooky fun.:)

  • Jim November 7, 2011 (4:11 pm)

    Following up on what @Libertybell had to say, You also need to realize that closing down those two blocks for 2 hours would require blocking parking in the junction and all the streets surrounding the junction for 4 to 5 hours to clear the roads, tow away the cars left behind and setup bypass routes and bus ways.

    A better solution might be to place traffic advisory signs on the approaches to the junction suggesting avoiding the congestion for that 2 hours. Place three SPD traffic section officers at our three traffic lights, taking the lights off cycle and just let them control the traffic and pedestrians for a couple hours. keep the pedestrians moving counter clockwise through the junction, and block the mid block crosswalks for the duration as well as the walk all ways at Alaska. Easy to initiate, easy to wrap up at the end of the event. And much less cost involved.

  • Beth November 7, 2011 (4:43 pm)

    Yes! Yes! Yes!!! Thank you for acting where I’ve only wondered! I’d be willing to contribute money to the permit fee. And if I can add a thought, I’ve also always wanted to see an actual Halloween Costume Parade – kids could use the closed 4 blocks of Calif. Ave to have a mini parade. I love seeing all the costumes, but it gets so crowded that I miss many of them.

  • Charles November 7, 2011 (4:45 pm)

    I avoid the Junction during this event every year at all costs. Crowds of strollers and shins just don’t work out well, though I want everyone to have a fun, safe time.

    I and my partner stayed at home this year, ate a lovely meal, shared a botle of wine and handed out candy to the kids (about 30 or more this year, all cute and respectful and with adults to supervise). Let the businesses off the hook and trick-or-treat at neighbors, friends, family or even a nice neighborhood that you’d like to live in. Consider it a chance to visit and rove the streets with friends and their children.

  • george November 7, 2011 (5:03 pm)

    So how does the Food Trucks, Car Shows and WS Parade benefit/disrupt business? Why not shut those down too? You CAN choose to close you door and not participate, I doubt anyone would be that upset. If two hours is “hanging by a thread”, I pray for WS businesses.
    Besides, all that gasoline wasted on those old cars driving around town, coming to WS, burning oil, clogging up the roads, shutting down the Junction. How is that different? What amount does that crowd come back to spend?

  • seaview November 7, 2011 (5:10 pm)

    IDEA #18:

    5 years ago we were in San Miquel Allende celebrating Day of the Dead. In the town plaza (closed to traffic) the children paraded around in their costumes & the Male/Female Katrina faces also paraded. There was art, music, candles, offredas, etc.
    Perhaps we could have an evening celebration, akin to the xmas tree ceremony, traffic limited, a parade of costumes, passing out of coupons/candy for those businesses wishing to participate. Combined with art display, it could be a neighborhood festival, one the City Of Seattle has never seen.

  • Beth November 7, 2011 (5:23 pm)

    I posted my first comment before I read many of the replies, so I’d like to add that if the street was closed then it would be less crowded on the sidewalk and thus those who avoid the Junction that day might feel less compelled to do so. To the Store Owner I’m curious if you lost money during the HiYu parade, the car show, the moble chow down and the Summer Fest – if yes, then I’m sorry and I can understand your frustration. But if the answer is no, then maybe the problem could be resolved by adding more space (the street) for the event to share with shoppers.

  • Mike November 7, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    I think proper supervision of children and courteous parents would resolve most of the issue. I had one grandfather push my 2 year old daughter out of the way so he could get his infant grandson candy…. I almost punched him in the face.
    Strollers, people standing talking in hords of 3+ people right in the sidewalk. Pushing. Standing in the path of others who are obviously trying to hold the hand of a toddler while walking, etc…
    It really comes down to common courtesy and basic appreciation for the event. I’d love to have it be safer, but I cannot expect the businesses to all be open for handing out candy either, even if it’s a great opportunity for them to advertise their goods to the parents. I love the coupons, fantastic way to get my attention, especially for the businesses I didn’t know even existed there.
    In regards to the car show that shuts down the street to have their event. That car show is always horrible, sorry…but it is. I’m a car guy and it’s one of the worst shows year after year. I had high hopes for it but I’ve given up on it now.

  • lynn November 7, 2011 (6:25 pm)

    Wow, unreal! Some of you getting so wrapped in this.
    Halloween is Oct. 31. School age kids have parties at school that day with huge amounts of candy and cookies and cupcakes, and then go trick or treating in their neighborhood. Do they really need another day to collect candy in the Junction?
    And what is really too much is the Admiral Junction having trick or treating right after school on Halloween!
    Try being the teacher of those kids the next day.

  • lynn November 7, 2011 (6:36 pm)

    to George,
    Your calculations for costs to store owners is crazy. Most parents are parading their kids around to show off and will not return to the store to purchase anything ever.

  • bee November 7, 2011 (6:55 pm)

    The difference between the car show, mobile chow down, and summer fest is those events not only draw the west seattle community but also individuals from other areas which offers exposure of the businesses to people outside of WS whereas the trick or treating is intended just for the WS community. It’s an extremely nice gesture by the businesses of the Junction to host this event.

    I think if individuals do want to do more and turn it into a festival they should consider alternative locations that would be better suited for having craft booths, a parade, events, etc. especially when weather is always a coin flip this time of year.

  • Paul Goodwin November 7, 2011 (7:00 pm)

    My wife and I have no kids, but found ourselves by coincidence in the junction last Saturday eating lunch during the annual trick-or-treating. If anyone is against closing the streets during that event, I think you must not have been. First, people that think that closing the streets would inhibit shopping are simply wrong. In fact, it was the shopping aspect that made us think they need to close the streets. We tried to shop, and got comments from more than one store owner that we were the first childless adults they had seen that day. We didn’t stay long because it is so difficult to walk the sidewalks, and the routing would be more of a pain for a shopper. With streets closed, it would be so much easier for shoppers to get to stores. Also, the increased safety is a no-brainer. We spent half the time walking on the street anyway so we could move, and had to “get skinny” when two cars were driving by at the same time. As for the people that are against the event on principal, you also have either never seen the excited kids in all the cool costumes in that great community event, or are just the Grinch of Halloween. In short, here is one childless married couple in strong favor of closing the streets!

  • BLK November 7, 2011 (7:18 pm)

    I haven’t read all the comments but what about just closing Alaska?

  • amom November 7, 2011 (7:28 pm)

    From a safety perspective, I would think the kids should be OK if their parents are walking with them and crossing at the light. When trick-or-treating on main streets, it is less safe, but the hustle and bustle of the junction is part of the attraction, isn’t it? I do worry every Halloween about safety of kids darting across neighborhood streets even, not looking where they are going. Maybe people are more alert and cautious because the streets aren’t closed off. From a buisiness perspective, I wonder if this is an issue with the Admiral Junction trick-or-treating, which occurs on Halloween? Maybe it makes more sense to do it on Halloween afternoon…maybe less of an impact on the merchants if it were during those same hours?? I do know that a lot of families skip trick-or-treating in the neighborhoods to go to the junction event. I don’t know if that is necessarily sad or bad or a negative. Maybe it’s a way for folks to be home handing out candy instead of going door to door–you’re still participating in your neighborhood celebration and you’ve gotten your trick-or-treating fix in early. There are pros and cons to all of it. Maybe it is time to consider something different. Do we really want this event to grow even bigger?? Bigger is not always better. There seems to be LOTS of community Halloween events all over West Seattle–schools, community centers, even Thriftway has its own little event in their store! I guess if a store like Thriftway sponsors their own trick-or-treating, there must be some value to the business, right? Or, maybe they love Halloween and get a kick out of seeing the kids and costumes. Either way it should be a win-win event, although there will always be those who don’t want to deal with anything so congested or who are getting tired of accommodating people with kids–understandable. When we were little, we skipped all the houses that had their lights ‘off’ on Halloween because they didn’t want trick-or-treaters, and there were plenty–either because they wanted peace and quiet or couldn’t afford the candy, or whatever. It could be that this event has grown too large and popular and has lost some of its original purpose or charm. I’m sure it was never intended to cause any problems for the merchants, the patrons, the nappers or the stroller-pushers. The benefit needs to outweigh the cost and if people are willing to research it carefully and present an alternative to the current practice, that makes sense. Whether or not a change is feasible, necessary or worthwhile is another story.

  • Lou November 7, 2011 (8:04 pm)

    I moved up here over 5 years ago. We’ve gone to the junction trick or treating each year. Why? Because it happens. I didn’t ask for it, but since it’s there it gives my kids more opportunity to wear their costumes and be freaks for a day – they are excited to wear their costumes and show them off. We also spend money at the businesses. We always eat lunch at Elliot Bay…well, we eat there as a family once a week so I guess this really isn’t new. If the the businesses don’t like it, then they should cancel it – no one is going to be disappointed – life will go on. I’ll still patronize the businesses down there. I’m not sure why people are blaming the families that participate – they don’t put this on nor force the junction association to do this.

    BTW, each year I generally comment on how it would be safer if the streets were closed, however, I assumed it was too much of a bother for 2 hours. Would I like them closed? Absolutely. Do I fret over it? Nope. Just need to keep a tight leash on the kids so they don’t get lost or run into the streets…and drivers need to be a little more patient.

    Now, for everyone who says that the junction trick or treating keeps people from not trick or treating in the neighborhoods…prove it? I don’t see it. My kids, and all of their friends who live in different parts of West Seattle, go out each Halloween night in the neighborhoods (and that’s after going to junction, dressing up at school and attending halloween parties). We also get many kids (approx 30) at our house. The junction isn’t keeping kids from going out. Maybe dangerous streets or hilly streets are doing that…I don’t know, but if the junction cancelled trick or treating, I really doubt you’d see a noticeable increase of trick or treaters in your neighborhood. BTW, my last house (approx 1 block away) got no kids on halloween…this is not because of the junction – this is because of location.

  • shoemama November 7, 2011 (8:31 pm)

    Halloween is one of my favorite holidays simply because it’s an opportunity to knock on your neighbors’ doors! Let’s put the trick-or-treating focus back on our neighborhoods. I know there are MANY kids in my neighborhood, yet only a few trick-or-treaters every year – a lost opportunity for REAL connections to your neighbors. I say no to putting more energy into the Junction (or Admiral) trick-or-treating events.

  • another shop owner November 7, 2011 (8:34 pm)

    thank you to the shop owner for speaking out regarding the expenses incurred with this event and further loss during. to george, unless you have owned a business in the junction in the past decade, you do not have the knowledge base or background to judge the first hand experiences of the shop owner. the shop owner commenting in this thread has thoughtfully shared the costs incurred by so many of the merchants in the junction via first hand knowledge. shop owners, each, spend hundreds of dollars on candy to hand out for free. we saw so many children under the age of 2 and their parents had a candy bag collecting for the infant? really…at that age do they need the candy…who’s consuming it? if this was really about community building and showing off your kids’ costumes, why at that age were you taking ‘free’ candy. nothing in life is free and it costs the merchants not only the expense of the free hand-out but the majority of the businesses lose 50-75% of their normal daily sales during events like these. rents are high and saturday is consistently the best day of the week for sales. closing the streets off on a saturday for a demographic that is focused on keeping track of their child, their costume and candy bag rather than shopping has an extremely negative impact on the merchants. we would not support closing the streets nor extending the hours. if your child needs a nap, perhaps they are too young to be out trick-or-treating. in addition, we recommend the Junction Business Association that sets the date/timing for this event without coordinating with the local merchants consider the negative impacts on business for such an event on a Saturday. if the community wants the trick-or-treat event to continue, consider allocating Junction marketing dollars to help supplement the cost of candy incurred by the merchants and hold the event on the evening of Halloween when it is supposed to be celebrated, not days before on the best business day of the week. events like Summerfest that attract a broad demographic from within and outside West Seattle support local business. events like the kiddie parade, trick-or-treating and the car show attract a more monotonous demographic that in turn has significantly negative impacts on our Junction merchants’ normal business day. consider using the side streets and junction parking lots to host some of these events rather than closing down the street and deterring our regular customers who avoid the Junction like the plague during these events.

    thank you to ‘liberty bell’ for your post. your local merchants spend tireless hours giving back to the community and many don’t have deep pockets, are barely making a living but they do it because they care about the community. think twice before shopping on-line and at the big box or corporate stores with hundreds of locations across the country. these stores do not care about your community…they care about their profit margins and adding to their already deep pockets. your local merchants provide thoughtful selections with competitive pricing. support local or lose the heart and soul character you love so much about west seattle.

  • Italiana November 7, 2011 (8:42 pm)

    I am a MOm of 3 littles ones. Do not close the streets. It’s too much. If you feel it’s too crowded & unsafe don’t go. It can not be fun it looks insane. I am for old fashioned neighborhood trick or treating! If you have the need for more have a kiddie costume party or pumpkin carving party. It has turned into Halloweenapalozza!

  • D-mom November 7, 2011 (8:58 pm)

    My son and I enjoy trick-or-treating in our neighborhood at night. Doing it in the daytime seems odd to me. Due to the crowds, I don’t expect I’d ever go trick-or-treating in the junction. But, having said that, I do think we’d go if the streets were closed off and it was more of a festival atmosphere (and maybe at night).

  • ttt November 7, 2011 (10:00 pm)

    I agree wholeheartedly with Optimistic (comment at 8:32am). Parade, no candy handed out.

  • West Seattle edge November 7, 2011 (10:48 pm)

    Sorry but I don’t feel I can support this in honor of all our great local businesses. They will be the ones to suffer and I am sure this is a night of business that is quite popular for those of us without children. I can appreciate your enthusiasm but really the trick or treating was never meant to be about going business to business, it is really in my opinion a yuppy overload of paranoid new moms/pops wanting to create the “perfect” environment. Enjoy the night, enjoy your kids, trust your community with your supervision, peace out.

  • Neighborly November 7, 2011 (10:48 pm)

    We live a few blocks from The Junction, and neighborhood trick-or-treating is thriving. We had about 100 kids come by that night. My kids don’t celebrate Halloween at school, and would love an event to wear their costumes in daylight, like a junction parade. I’m sure many adults would too. Come on, it’s fun!

  • Liberty Bell November 7, 2011 (11:20 pm)

    CLARIFICATION: It is the American Legion Hi-Yu Parade and the Mobile Chow Down was not a Junction Association sponsored event.

    To Mike, sorry you are not happy with the car show. That is disappointing to hear. However, I have emails and notes from participants who call it one of the best shows and often their favorite. If you have any suggestions, please forward them to the Junction Association and we will take them into consideration.

    For the person who asked about the car show making money, it is not a money making event. Considering the cost and the large financial contribution from the Junction Association, it likely never will be. But the intention was never to be a money maker, instead it is an event for the West Seattle community. Only the charities (WS helpline & Pencil Me In For Kids) that have gotten the money from the raffle and 50/50 drawings that benefit financially from the show.

    Again, I will put forth the following: Live Local, Shop Local and Be Local! If you want the Junction and the rest of West Seattle to remain the West Seattle that it has been and is, then support your local independent businesses.

  • DRS November 8, 2011 (7:35 am)

    I’m all for closing the street and I think there are ways to make it profitable with the local businesses.
    One of the reasons the merchants lose business is that it’s so crowded and hectic, even routing everyone the same way wont change that. If the whole thing was more relaxed people would have time and space to shop in addition to getting candy.
    We were there with our almost three year old this year and we didn’t stay long because of the crowd but if it had been more like the other junction events we’d have stayed for lunch, bought some books and coffee and cupcakes just like we do for any other event.

  • WS Neighbor November 8, 2011 (8:23 am)

    In contrast to @Neighborly, I also live about three blocks from the junction, near a playground in fact, and despite bright decorations and an illuminated walkway saw no more than 6 trick or treaters. I figured this was because most people just go to the junction organized Halloween events.

    I know that there are many families on my block who go to the junction events in lieu of going door to door. That makes me sad–we’re ready with candy at the door each Halloween.

  • Elizagrace November 8, 2011 (10:41 am)

    I like the original idea in that it was to raise money to support this event, but it sounds like it would be best spent to help the business owners take some of the financial burden off.

  • ohmygosh November 8, 2011 (11:09 am)

    My vote is to close the street for EVERY holiday. Let the businesses hand out free Christmas gifts to all the kids too..why stop at Halloween??Valentines day boxes of candy for the little ones.
    Silly? No more than expecting..nay…*demanding* that a business hand out goodies on Halloween.

    When did trick or treating become a thing only
    done at businesses anyway? We had tons of fun trick or treating door to door and I miss seeing all the kids and parents on the streets of our neighborhoods on Halloween.Bring the kids back to the neighborhoods!

  • sgs November 8, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    I’m not sure how the WS business association figures into this or how many of the businesses along the route are members, but if there is substantial representation perhaps they should make the decision of whether or not to continue. I would not hold it against them (and stop shopping there) if they decided it is not serving the original purpose any longer. As hosts of the event, if they want to go to the effort to close the streets, than that would be their prerogative.

    We trick or treat at night enjoying the costumes and decorated houses, already have costume parades at school, and my kids would probably have more fun hosting an afternoon Halloween party with ghoulish Halloween food and games than anonymously adding even more candy to their stash. I heard of more parties this year that sounded really fun for all ages, and there is a church here that hosts a harvest festival with game booths, crafts, candy, and a cool maze. Kids wore their costumes and had a great time.

  • The Junction Association November 8, 2011 (2:19 pm)

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I especially appreciate our community’s sensitivity towards small business owners in a difficult economy. Many good points have been raised in this discussion.

    The merchants in our organization (which is comprised of all businesses in The Junction) enjoy this event! It is fun to see all the kids dressed up and have two hours of festivities. However, in recent years this event has become increasingly popular and crowded which creates new issues that the Junction Association takes seriously. Thanks to this discussion, we have a wide range of perspectives and ideas to use when crafting a solution for next year.

    I am in communication with Behnaz and a few other moms on this topic. Ultimately, it will be the decision of The Junction Association on how to proceed with this community event.

    Speaking of community events, The Junction Association is pleased to release the schedule for Hometown Holidays which has many FREE opportunities for families and our community. Website:

    Our local businesses and the individuals in our neighborhood have a partnership which helps to create the fabric of our community. Neighborhood events can, and should, be a win-win. For Trick-or-Treat next year, we will explore ways to improve safety while not asking more of our small business owners.

    Thank you,
    Susan Melrose, Director
    West Seattle Junction Association

  • Keith November 8, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    Personally, I find the idea of trick-or-treating at a store or shopping mall to be missing the real fun of Halloween. And as others have expressed here, if your child needs to nap or be pushed in a stroller, perhaps they’re not ready for trick or treating. But it is nice to see the kiddies all dressed up during the day.

    Why not set up a more limited number of trick or treating stations around the Junction, in areas with more access for all the kids, strollers, etc. ? Put one in Junction Plaza Park, one where Outdoor Movies are held, and maybe a few in selected businesses that could handle a large influx of people during the day without impacting their business, like the Eagles Aerie or ArtsWest. Space it out around the Junction rather than trying to cram it into every business doorway. Enlist parents and Scouts and other volunteers to distribute the candy at the stations, and have the Junction Association pool its resources to provide the candy. It will bring in all the parents and kids seeking free doses of refined sugary goodness and allow the rest of us to visit our favorite Junction businesses and enjoy the show.

  • Momof3 November 8, 2011 (9:45 pm)

    We didn’t go to the junction this year mostly because our kids didn’t ask to go. They just wanted to go around the neighborhood. We won’t go again now that I know how the businesses really feel about it.
    On another note, I had lunch with my husband on Halloween at The Celtic Swell and our waitress commented how much the Alki businesses really welcome and enjoy the trick-or-treaters.

  • J November 8, 2011 (10:28 pm)

    Take back Halloween! The Junction candy hand-out, generous as it is, increases the commercialization of what used to be a wonderful community celebration. Make homemade treats, and trick-or-treat your neighbors.

    I do love the idea of a shortish parade of costumes–and I’m imagining a wonderful nighttime parade just to show off costumes, not to collect candy. (It could be a Dia de los Muertos parade, so that neighborhoods can still have the Hallowe’en night trick-or-treating. But otherwise, I’m with those opposed to stretching out Hallowe’en to other days.) That might be worth closing the street for, for a very short time. And if they weren’t handing out candy, I’d guess the businesses might benefit. How do they do during the 4th of July parade?

  • george November 9, 2011 (12:25 am)

    Lynn, if you want to simplify the figures, be my guest. I think it was calculated based on the costs presented by a store owner. Yes, some people will never buy anything (they’re called window shoppers). Some people will come back and buy something, maybe many times (they’re called customers). It IS a crap shoot, nothing is guaranteed. But tell me, when it snows and the streets are closed, do the shop owners stand and around and blame the weather for no customers and no sales? In Seattle on weekends, great weather can sometimes canibilize sales because no one wants to go indoors to shop. Sports events can wreak havoc on foot traffic. So, IMHO, an event that draws hundreds of foot traffic, you can be creative and make it a significant event for your business. Costs are costs. Heck, use penny candy if you must, the trick or treaters won’t care that much.
    Yes, 15 years of retail sales management experience has taught me many things about customers, sales and marketing.
    To the WSJA, if the merchants really don’t like this event, please discontinue it then. Don’t hold a gun to their head and force them to do this. Thank you for dropping in to listen to the community feedback. The best suggestion I always hear is a one way sign to direct the crowd, and please make it counter clock wise so that you’re not crossing into traffic (stay to the right).

  • The Junction Association November 9, 2011 (9:19 am)

    To be clear, the vast majority of Junction merchants (all that I talk to)enjoy this event at it’s current capacity. It’s fun, easy, and The Junction is packed with smiles! Taking the event to the next level by closing the streets and increasing capacity has drawbacks, of which one is financial to individual businesses. More good ideas have come forth (most recently Keith’s) and there is plenty to work with. Thank you! Susan

  • unicorn November 9, 2011 (8:31 pm)

    In the early 80’s we would paint a store front window! No candy. the stores taped off a square of there windows and you would paint a halloween picture and you could still dress up in costume.

  • DCQ November 10, 2011 (11:17 am)

    Businesses and residents- please review what the Proctor District in Tacoma does…it’s very much like the Junction albeit a little smaller. They have been doing it right for years…close the streets for a few hours, not half the day; merchants have a table or someone standing outside their store handing out small pieces of candy so their stores don’t get overrun but the people who are new to the event do get to go in and take a look since the inside isn’t jammed with kids. Why reinvent the wheel? Take someone else’s successful event and replicate it. It’s very successful and is a great compromise for all parties that are stakeholders…businesses, consumers, neighbors, and residents.

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