Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Oct 29, 2014

Mowat Centre’s Trick-or-Treat Index

October 29, 2014

The average 8-year old probably spends little time thinking about urban form or neighbourhood planning. But come October 31st, the night kids turn into candy-crazed zombies and superheroes, children across Toronto will gravitate to neighbourhoods that possess the magic mix of density, walkability and housing stock to yield maximum candy returns.

Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods are frequently ranked according to overall liveability, equity and other measures. But no attempt has been made to identify those best-suited to celebrating the spookiest night of the year. Until now…

Mowat Centre’s Trick-or-Treat Index finally offers an evidence-based answer to the most important question this Halloween: which neighborhoods offer the richest pickings for sweet-hunting creatures?


Our index takes into account five key indicators that ensure candy hauls are optimized in a fun and safe environment:


While door-to-door trick-or-treating in apartment buildings would actually provide an incredibly efficient way of amassing tasty Halloween treats, most buildings only allow candy distribution in the lobby. This means kids forego the real potential that hitting every apartment would yield. Access to a greater number of single, semi and row homes is therefore associated with increased candy-earning potential.


Centennial Scarborough



Among other things, walk score measures population density and road metrics including block length and intersection density, which contribute to pedestrian friendliness and getting more candy, faster.


Mount Pleasant East



Because ghouls, goblins and ghosts are scary enough, running into real-life shady characters is out of the question. Keeping to lower crime areas is vital.


Centennial Scarborough



Kids will be running around in the streets much of the night, likely hopped up on sugar, and so traffic safety is extra important on October 31st.


Lambton Baby Point



The more children in a neighbourhood, the more households are likely to give away candy and engage in awesome, over-the-top Halloween decorations.


Lawrence Park North


With over $355 million worth of goodies up for grabs across the nation, we hope this index will help trick-or-treaters in Toronto boost their share of the annual sugar haul, and ensure homes in the Top 10 are prepared to meet the inevitable onslaught of heightened demand (here are some suggested candy and wine pairings to help you get through it).

As a research centre, we hope our index will further instill the importance of evidence-based, data-driven indices for making good decisions on thorny public policy questions.

Happy Halloween!

Nevena Dragicevic