New Way to Trick or Treat - Dock or Treat by canoe

New Way to Trick or Treat – Dock or Treating

I know it is November and we’ve moved on to other holidays, but I have to tell you about the neatest Halloween experience.

We were introduced to a new way to trick or treat this year – dock or treating! I’m still giddy about it.

We are fortunate to be spending time living in a lake community. These type of neighborhoods are fairly common where we live in the Northeast.

Our neighbors organized a trick or treat event called ‘Dock or Treat.’

Homeowners living directly on the lake volunteered to be available to hand out candy from their docks. Some of them got really into it and even decorated their docks for the event!

About a dozen kids and maybe half a dozen docks participated in this inaugural event. A couple of homes on the lake that didn’t have docks handed out candy from kayaks instead. Talk about dedication to an idea!

New Way to Trick or Treat - Dock or Treat by canoe

A few dads volunteered to paddle the kids in canoes to each of the participating docks. This is a lake that does not allow motorized boats. There was one boat of older kids (12 – 14 years old) who paddled themselves around the lake.

This was a BYOLJ event – Bring Your Own Life Jacket. We don’t mess around with water safety!

My kids told me that many of the docks had “special” candy for the dock or treaters. I believe “special” is code for full-size candy bars. Definitely not necessary, but that’s the holy grail of trick or treating, isn’t it?

New Way to Trick or Treat - Dock or Treat by canoe

As you can see from the pictures, the kids went dock or treating at an early hour. The event was scheduled from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., mainly so that there would still be daylight. Since this event occurred on Halloween, the early time frame also allowed everyone to participate in regular trick or treating too.

Dock or Treating was originally planned for the weekend before Halloween, but was rescheduled for Halloween night due to Mother Nature and one of her rainstorms.

I’d never heard of dock or treating before. Maybe it’s done all over and I’m just now being introduced to the idea. All the kids were pumped about this experience and had SO MUCH FUN!

Candy, costumes and canoes. What’s not to love?!?

But it was the adults with the perma-grins on their faces watching the kids paddle off. Me included!

It was like we all knew there was something special happening. This was a memory maker. This was a story these children would tell to their kids and their grandkids about growing up on a lake in the Northeast.

My heart was bursting with happiness and not just because of the novelty of trick or treating from a canoe. I saw neighbors going out of their way to make Halloween memorable for the kids. They weren’t obligated to do this, but they stepped up anyway to create a little bit of magic for the children.

This sense of community and togetherness was a really special thing to be a part of and to be welcomed into as the new people on the dock block.

Dock or Treating Event Planning Tips

  • You only need a handful of docks to participate to make the event fun and not too long. Five docks was our goal.
  • This event occurred on a lake that does NOT allow motorized boats, so we had to factor in the time it would take to paddle from dock to dock. If you live on a lake that does allow motorboats, the dynamics of the event would definitely change a little.
  • We started the event from one central dock. Not everyone had canoes, so this allowed everyone to participate and the kids to be able to ride in a canoe with their friends.
  • Have a set time for the event. Since there are no dock doorbells, this helps the people who are handing out candy know how long they need to wait on their dock. It’s also helpful if they know how many boats to expect.
  • Try to get RSVPs for trick or treaters in advance so that you have enough canoes or kayaks on hand to take the kids out on the lake.
  • Consider the weather and time of day when planning your event. You’ll need daylight and good weather.
  • Make sure everyone brings a life jacket or you have enough on hand for all the kids.
  • Kids should bring their trick or treating bags/containers in the canoe. Otherwise you’ll have candy sitting on the bottom of the boat that might get wet!
  • Our kids wore their regular costumes and tennis shoes. I did have an extra change of clothes and shoes just in case one of my kids got wet, but thankfully we did not need to use them.
  • We turned our dock or treating event into a potluck. That way, the adults had fun too! Theoretically, the kids got some healthy food in their bellies before they dove into their candy. Theoretically.

If you’ve ever gone dock or treating or plan a dock or treating event, I’d love to hear about it!

Here are some other posts about holiday traditions you might enjoy! 

Egg Painting for Easter – Nothing says Easter like throwing eggs filled with paint.

Our First Day of School Tradition – It’s giant and involves sugar. What’s not to love?

Our Memorial Day Tradition – An act of service to honor those who have passed.

A Simple Birthday Tradition – So many balloons. So much fun!


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