Halloween is the most outstanding indicator of the quality of life a neighborhood offers its children. In order to rate the child friendliness of a neighborhood, Richard Florida, author of Who’s Your City? and The Rise of the Creative Class, has coined an intriguing concept: the “Trick-or-Treater Index.” The idea is simple: just count the number of trick-or-treaters at your door on Halloween night and you’ll get a measure of how child friendly your neighborhood is the whole year.

Many families leave their neighborhood to trick-or-treat in another neighborhood, becoming “Halloween Tourists.” This may provide your kids with entertainment for one night, but it also deprives your neighborhood of your contribution to what should be its most important kid event of the year.

So, you should work to make Halloween a great event in your neighborhood. Decorate your house to welcome trick-or-treaters, and talk to neighbors about their plans to do the same. On the evening of Halloween, have one parent stay behind and the other trick-or-treat through the neighborhood with your kids. On a good night, you’ll make more quality neighborhood connections than you will the rest of the year.

For more tips on making your neighborhood into a Playborhood, visit Playborhood.com.

Contributor Mike Lanza is founder of Playborhood, a blog (and soon-to-be-released book) that shows parents how to give their children a life of neighborhood play.