The Star-News


No tricks for smart kids

Sat, Oct 26 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Smart and savvy kids (or, if they are not yours, kids who are destined-to-spend-years-in-therapy-because-of-their-shrill-overbearing-mothers) will spend considerable time reviewing statistics and spreadsheets while cross-referencing them with apps and GPS coordinates this weekend.

In six days the assault on city streets and homes begins around the time the sun goes down. Ghouls and zombies of all sizes ring doorbells and ask for treats, hoping for candy.

There was a time when trick-or-treaters had only rumors to guide them to the best neighborhoods for sweets.

Someone would have a friend who had a cousin who lived in the rich part of town and word spread at school that pillowcases filled with teeth-rotting booty could be had just a few miles away.

Today that method of seek and retrieval is as quaint and stale as candy corn under a car seat. Now there are databases to be mined and websites to scour.

One starting point enterprising solicitors should consider is the Registrar of Voters.

Politicians and would-be electeds like to know where Democrats and Republicans live. Kids looking for handouts may want this knowledge too. After all, if they are going to spend hours canvassing neighborhoods it behooves them to know if the door they are knocking on hides someone giving away handfuls of  borrowed and possibly sub-par candy or if they’ll be greeted by someone who begrudgingly gives them a bite-sized chocolate bar and a stern lecture about self reliance and God.

The San Diego Association of Governments provides information that is useful to salespeople and children alike.

Their link to demographics in the region gives a quick snapshot of median incomes and household makeups. Surely a candy-seeking ninja will fair better in a community where the median household income is above $150,000 a year.

Or maybe not.

A study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that, in general, middle class families give a larger share of their income than do wealthier households.

For example, according to philanthropy.com, households in the 91910 zip code with discretionary income of $51,835 are likely to donate 4.2 percent of their money to charity.

In 91915, where households have $60,276 to spend how they want, they give away 3.2 percent of that money.

Meanwhile in the 91950, 3.2 percent of their $43,780 discretionary income is spent on contributions.

Generosity, it seems, does know boundaries and is as varied as the costumes that appear on Halloween.

These are all good things for a kid to know if he wants to make a killing on Hallow’s Eve.


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