It will become ever easier for people trying to determine exactly how much candy and chips to buy for eager goblins and ghouls on Halloween to pick up, thanks to a new trick or treat app developed by Jens von Bergmann. The Vancouver-based software developer was working with a colleague on a census-mapping app when he came up with the idea for the Trick or Treat Onslaught app.
The Trick or Treat Onslaught app takes information from the 2011 census, but von Bergmann told CBC that the census information does not change that much over time. The specialized trick or treat app will gather information from the census and make note of all kids 5 to 14 years of age.
Von Bergmann said that it was important to note that, while using the app, issues like bad weather and whether the kids will be travelling to neighborhoods that offer bigger Halloween hauls should be considered. He said, though, as far as trick or treat visitors were considered, the outcome was pretty accurate, and he had fairly close to the right amount of candy.
"For the purpose of what this serves, I think it's pretty accurate," said von Bergmann. "I tried it (in my neighbourhood). It was pretty close."
The Trick or Treat Onslaught app does not take into account the houses that might have the best Halloween candy in the neighborhood, and it does not consider how certain neighborhoods might have further developed since the previous census was done.
While the Trick or Treat Onslaught app does a fine job in trying to account for the 5- to 14-year-olds in the area that might be involved in the trick or treat experience, von Bergmann said that he truly hoped that his app might be used to discuss the issues of housing affordability that continue to plague neighborhoods across Canada.
Unfortunately, the Trick or Treat Onslaught app does not work with United States neighborhoods, but the app does give an accurate picture of the age distributions across Canadian neighborhoods. Of course, with Halloween being over for another year, it will be interesting to see what changes could await those who would be eager to make use of the app next year. While the app currently launches with a focus on Vancouver neighborhoods, any neighborhood throughout Canada can be considered.
The one thing that is not detailed in the map is whether there are troublemakers throughout the area. According to Scientific American, there are those who would act more greedy than they otherwise would in ordinary, non-Halloween circumstances because of something called deindividuation. The working theory is that people are more likely to behave in an uninhibited way when they are in groups or are feeling anonymous.
Interestingly enough, though, if the trick or treat group were following a specific person's "lead" -- that is, there was a child who decided to behave in a certain way -- they would continue to do exactly what the lead person did, including stealing candy. However, if a person was on their own, odds were good that the person would not experience the de-individuation that the kids in groups did.
Regardless of whether people decide to make use of the Trick or Treat Onslaught app for next year or try to further coach their children on how to avoid succumbing to the mob mentality which often might occur as a result of Halloween excitement, it is certain that Halloween will continue to prove challenging and exciting for everyone involved, from children to adults alike. The trick or treat experience might be memorable every year that kids and adults participate in it, but there are ways in which Halloween can become a greater joy for everyone.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt / Getty Images]