Why Zillow is Wrong About Halloween


I have a bone to pick with our friends over at Zillow.  Every year they do a list of the best places to trick or treat on Halloween.  This is this year's list: trick-or-treat-social-blog-seo-800x1080-v3-4b4bee

Yet again New York did not make the list.


To make the cut, trick or treaters must be able to get serious candy in a short period of time.  So Zillow considers home values, proximity of homes to one another, crime rate and percentage of youngsters under 10.  Well – it’s no wonder New York didn’t make the cut!  69% of the population are renters and 86% of us are over 10.  But I am here to make a case for New York trick or treating.

New York does Halloween better than any other city in the country

I’ll give other holidays to other cities.  Last year we officially said Rochester was the best city for Thanksgiving.  Paris probably has Valentine’s Day.  Las Vegas can have bachelor parties (is that a holiday?)  St. Patrick’s Day can go to Chicago or Boston.

But New York has Halloween.   We have a parade with over 50,000 people, a jack-o-lantern blaze with 7,000 pumpkins,  a Halloween dog parade, horror film festivals, and countless haunted houses.  Even our museums host Halloween Parties!  It’s also widely known that New Yorkers like costumes.  We have Fashion Week, Broadway, the Met Gala….we even dress up for Christmas.   So yes….Halloween is a big deal in Gotham.

Kids in New York absolutely get the most candy in the shortest amount of time

Families in New York aren’t exactly typical.  Our toddlers can navigate crowds and hail a cab.  They sleep in walk-in closets, have never seen a car seat, and assume train rides include live entertainment.  But that doesn’t mean they don’t like dressing up and collecting candy.  They’re still kids!   And they can collect a lot of candy here.  Unlike other cities, our stores handout candy to youngsters.  These aren’t even recorded in Zillow’s survey (they aren’t “houses”) but who has better candy than a bodega?!?

If kids aren’t going door to door in condensed shopping areas, they often go in their very own apartment building.  They can go from floor to floor collecting candy and don’t even have to worry about a bulky coat ruining the look of their costume.  Win win!

But again – if these apartments are rentals, none of this registers in Zillow’s list.  So yes – it may be a little atypical, but our trick or treating is legit.

New York is relatively safe

Safety was another big requirement in Zillow’s list and when you think of how well lit our streets are and how many people are around during peak trick-or-treating time, kids are pretty darn safe as they collect candy.   Some of them (as we mentioned) don’t even have to leave their apartment building!  New York is the safest big city in the US according to FBI data.  The days of Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver are gone.  Now we have Elmos in Times Square.

So come on Zillow.  At Onboard, we understand that it’s not just about data.  The real value data can bring to your customers is the story it tells and the questions it answers.   In just looking at raw data, New York has once again been omitted by your list, but you miss the spirit that runs through the city this time of year – especially in our youngest inhabitants.

So I implore you to include qualitative data as part of your survey next year, so unconventional cities like ours have a fighting chance.  In the meantime, all of us here at Onboard hope you have a very Happy and safe Halloween.

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