You know, of course that building a sense of community in your neighborhood is great for renewals, security and crime prevention, and marketing and tenant quality. And you know that now is the perfect time of year to host a harvest party, trick-or-treating event, or Halloween party. But, did you know you can do both things at the same time this year?
It’s true! Halloween is one of the best opportunities for creative and proactive property managers to help create a sense of community in their developments. Because, unlike Christmas and Thanksgiving, people probably aren’t travelling out of state to visit family (or, hosting family at their home). Plus, it’s traditionally celebrated communally, by way of harvest parties and trick-or-treating. Which makes it a perfect opportunity for property managers to bring their community together!
Here are some of the best ideas we’ve seen for tapping into Halloween to create a sense of fun and community for tenants and staff.
- First, if you expect a lot of young children trick-or-treating in your building, ensure your exterior lighting is functional, and consider adding traffic controls such as temporary speed bumps and other speed controls. Additionally, clean up all tripping or falling hazards on the property.
- Designate a start and end time for trick-or-treating, and distribute glow sticks or reflectors to make sure those kids are safe no matter where they go!
- Offer designated signs for the doors of residents who want to participate in trick-or-treating! That way, residents who’d prefer not to will be left alone, and the kids will know exactly which doors to knock on.
- Alternately, you may not allow trick-or-treating on your properties because of the liabilities it presents. You don’t want to be the Halloween Grinch though, so you may want to consider staffing your leasing office or clubhouse for the kids that live in your buildings. They can stop in for a treat before trick-or-treating in the rest of the neighborhood.
- You may want to increase security on Halloween, which is known for at least two nights of mischief. Take it from someone who knows: cleaning dried eggs and wet toilet paper off your building on November 1 is the worst way to spend the day.
- Put out the word to secure pets. Dogs may not recognize children in their costumes, and there will be new people in the area that will excite or frighten them. Not to mention, Halloween is full of scary noises and open doors, and pets are more likely to run away on Halloween night.
- If you allow residents to decorate with Jack-o-Lanterns, you may want to distribute electric candles for safety. If they do use real candles, they should be kept clear of walkways (where they can easily ignore a ghost or princess costume).
- Host a Jack-O-Lantern/pumpkin carving contest. Award a prize for the best pumpkin, and for the best Halloween decorations (this is a great time to hand out glow sticks or electric candles for lighting pumpkins).
- Decorate the office and other common areas. You could even turn the lobby, clubhouse, gym, or a vacant unit into a haunted house for extra fun! Invite your residents to join you, and offer seasonal drinks and snacks as incentive (mulled wine or cider, popcorn balls, candy, etc…)
- Have a pot-luck! Award a prize for the best cupcakes, best cake decoration, or the most creative dish. My favorite: A giant “crock” containing a “witches brew” of apple cider and a block of dry ice (have an adult ladle out the brew: Dry ice can be hazardous to children).
- At your Halloween event, have a ghost story contest and offer gummy worms in dirt to the kids. If you have the space, hire a truck or tractor for hay rides, too!
One last note to make a lasting impression on your residents: Some kids have food allergies that make trick-or-treating complicated. Consider having someone at your office with non-allergenic foods or toys for youngsters who may not be able to eat those Snickers Bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Parents of these children will remember a gesture like this for a long time.
Do a great job with Halloween, and word will get out. If your complex is the neighborhood hot spot for Halloween activities, or if you do a first class hayride or haunted house, people will remember that. That translates into renewals at lease time, and new tenants as kids’ friends move into your complex.
Is your complex planning something great this Halloween? Seen a great idea you can share with fellow readers? Let us know in the comments!Read more on Resident Management