It's not far off. Kids on leafy streets with candy bags and mom or dad's old smartphone. Pinging friends for recommendations of the best houses to hit while updating their candy stash status on the fly.
According to comScore MobiLens, the average smartphone now turns every 12-18 months and many find their way into the clutches of kids. It's a shocking thought but there are more than 15 million kids 13 and up now using cell phones. Roughly 6 million – close to 40 percent – are smart, connecting kids socially, locally and in real time. My own son has my old iPhone 3GS and his brother is waiting for my iPhone4 coming his way any day now.
Marketers are already seeding the idea of a more grown up, cynical Halloween. Check out the Snickers commercial where one kid is on another's shoulders as they dress as an adult emptying candy into the shopping cart. And how about the candy isle end cap I spotted in-store the other day: "Be the Good House." We'll soon be in a competitive, consumer-driven Halloween candy market where our homes are being ranked by kids tweeting their way from our door.
Soon they won't even waste time knocking on every door; they'll want guaranteed peer referrals and neighborhood rankings. And why wouldn't they? We're demonstrating the same behavior and powerful technology every day, rating movies, restaurants and even which handyman to hire. They're all decisions now made on the say so of stranger's opinions.
Will it really be that long before our kids are copying us to improve their trick or treating experience? GEO-based apps will help them case the neighborhood and rank us all for our seasonal generosity, front yard decorations or the speed we take to answer the door. Halloween is becoming pretty judgmental pretty fast.
As a kid I always hated going up to the door of the family that gave out apples. What a waste of time. Kids today shouldn't have to deal with that . Just as we do, they'll use their smartphones to plot strategy, cut corners and improve efficiency. To find full sized candy bars with the tap of a few keys and see which of their friends are beating them to it. They'll devise new rating systems and it's entirely possible streets and neighborhoods may be left in ruins as savvy trick or treaters pre-map their evenings based on the best potential ROI.
Halloween is changing scarily around us. So as you answer your first knock on the door this year and grab the candy jar, think on this. Any one of those little horrors could be unliking you before they get next door.