From Ghost Town to Treat Street: An Experiment in Community Building

by katiedelp on

By Katie Delp Maybe you’ve had this experience.

There’s a knock on the door Halloween night. You throw open the door, candy in hand, only to find a fifteen-year old boy with his little sister. Both in street clothes and both holding out their hands expectantly.


After a decade in my community of Historic South Atlanta, I knew that parents with little superheroes and bumblebees were a rare site on Halloween. Most families either chose not to participate or they drove to suburban neighborhoods for a safer, more lively atmosphere. The kids who did stop by were rarely in costume and seemed to have just realized that it was the day you can go door-to-door and people will give you candy.

I am not passionate that people celebrate Halloween. The scary and the frightening is not for me. However, I am passionate about creativity and community. Both of which can be strong themes of October 31.


Five years ago, a collaborative conversation gave birth to South Atlanta Treat Street. This fall carnival has been a growing community builder since its inception.

To foster creativity, our friends at Moving in the Spirit always bring former costumes to pass along to neighborhood kids. A face painting station transforms kids into pirates, butterflies, and rock stars.


Crafts and simple carnival games (think ring toss and donut on a string) entertain the young ones and provide leadership opportunities for youth who oversee the activities. Residents without kids have also come out to volunteer and be a part of the festivities. And everyone donates candy!

Over the years, we’ve made community memories with group performances of Thriller, costume contests, or family-friendly movies projected on the side of the building. This year, we’re planning to include some good ‘old line dancing.

We’re looking forward to our 5th Annual South Atlanta Treat Street tomorrow. It is truly one of the easiest neighborhood activities I help organize each year. But it’s a genuine time of community and creativity that I am delighted to be a part of in our neighborhood.

1 Comment