Minorities less likely to trick-or-treat this Halloween, according to poll

Monday, October 29, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Two-thirds of parents say their children will trick-or-treat this Halloween, but fewer minorities will let their children go door to door, with some citing safety worries, a poll shows.

The survey found that 73 percent of whites versus 56 percent of minorities said their children will trick-or-treat Wednesday.

That disparity in the survey is similar to the difference in how people view the safety of their neighborhoods, according to the poll by The Associated Press and Ipsos. Lower-income people and minorities are more likely to worry that it might not be safe to send their children out on Halloween night.

Thomas Link, 50, and his family are new to their trailer park in Palatka, Fla. He said he considers it unsafe because he does not know many neighbors, but had not decided whether to let his three young children trick-or-treat.

"I'm very particular about who I let my kids deal with," he said.

Overall, 86 percent of those questioned in the survey said their neighborhoods are safe for trick-or-treating. Ninety-one percent of whites, compared with 75 percent of minorities, said they felt their children would be secure when they went out seeking candy in their area.

Similarly, 93 percent of people earning $50,000 or more said their communities are safe for trick-or-treating, compared with 76 percent of those making less than $25,000.

Even many people who view their neighborhoods as safe take precautions.

Kristi Nichols, 35, of Seaford, Del., who said she lives in the community where she grew up, accompanies her children on their Halloween rounds.

"I'm a forensic nurse and I know what happens," she said. "It's very different from when I was little."

Nearly two-thirds of the people in the survey said their households will distribute Halloween treats to children who come to call; the likeliest to pass out goodies include younger and higher-earning people.

Seventy percent of people in the poll who consider themselves liberals and 67 percent of the moderates questioned said they would hand out treats, compared with 55 percent of conservatives.

Of those adults whose children will not trick-or-treat this year, one-quarter cited safety worries and about one-half said they do not celebrate Halloween.

On a night known for antics that sometimes go too far, 86 percent of the people in the AP survey said they had little or no concern that their property might be the target of Halloween vandalism or pranks. Women younger than 45 were about twice as likely as men of that age to worry about it, with lower-income people, minorities and urban residents also among the most apprehensive.

The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,013 adults conducted from Oct. 16-18. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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