Halloween is arguably one of the best days of the year to conduct surveillance, practice your bug out drills, and really test your prepper OPSEC. This is the only day out of the year where you are not only allowed to go on other people’s property but are actually incentivized and encouraged to do so while wearing an outfit designed to protect your identity. Now “full disclosure” I have never gone “trick or treating” nor do I have any desire to do so. However I have done some surveillance and drills on Halloween and these are the five things I have learned, and what I look for on my surveillance runs!
Learn your Bug Out Route
This is the perfect time to get a good bug out route in place. There will be an abnormal amount of traffic in the general vicinity especially on foot. People who generally would not be out at night will be roaming the street begging for morsels while decorated in their scariest attire. Generally most preppers talk about a night bug out being tactically advantageous, well this is the best experience you will get in a night setting without there being an actual catastrophe. Adding the value of the sophistication of the numerous outfits it will feel like a real “Purge” scenario, just adding to the hype and excitement. This will give you a real feel for what to expect in regards to the density of people, movement of traffic and the heart pumping realism of getting into the spirit of being in a WROL situation. Not to mention a great way to get the family together for an adventure rooted in the reality of a WROL situation. At the minimum you can have the family together dressed up to take on the world. Afterwards you can have a pizza, your favorite dessert and watch your favorite scary movie together as a family. What’s better than that?
Learn the Neighborhood Security
This is an excellent time to learn what the security around your neighborhood is. When going around the block you can see the openly advertised security signs, neighborhood gates, even beware of dog signs and you can see what infrastructure is set in place whether that be fences, locks, metal bars, motion detecting flood lights, barking dogs, natural topography etc. In a normal setting walking around taking note of local neighborhoods and underlying infrastructure would be seen as very suspicious but during Halloween foot traffic is quite normal so use it to your advantage. This will give you the ability to see what individual houses use as security and to see what security parameters are in place in a certain neighborhood which will give you a greater “security site picture” and a better understanding of the overall community as a whole.
When walking through a neighborhood you get a lot of information about it by what kind of political innuendoes presented on the yard. There is no better way to advertise ones biases then by putting signs up for the whole world to read. So if I see signs in support of Madame Hillary Clinton and or local liberal community organizers I can make a solid case that this neighborhood is probably not in favor of values held by conservatives or libertarian like the 2nd Amendment, and preparedness. Vice versa if I were to see signs in support of a conservative Military/ LEO veteran Sheriff who is a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment chances are I will find individuals who are armed. This goes for car stickers and Flags (American, POW, American Jack, LGBT etc.). If I see a house with a vehicle with Pro/Anti constitution sticker or an American/LGBT flag raised it gives me a better understanding to the mindset of that household.
I can say without equivocation that natural topography is huge factor especially when thinking with a tactical mindset. Understanding what kind of terrain you will be operating in is paramount. Walking on a flat riverbed path is much different from an uphill rocky path. Knowing where water sources are, where different types of topography intersect is something that you should know or at least be familiar with. Especially when operating in low light conditions. Also remember with topography comes unique animal/plant life considerations. Snakes, Bears, spiders, deer, coyotes all of which can be found in the forest. While in snakes, scorpions, cougars, rabbits, and wild dogs can be found in the rocky desert. Also take the time to see if there is any edible/poisonous plantation in your area. Bottom line; get to know your area, terrain, and the players involved.
Density and Movement of people
The density of groups and the pattern by which they move and interact with each other is a topic that one could talk for years about. The whole academic scholarship of anthropology is really centered on these premises. We can discuss if we as humans do this consciously or subconsciously but the fact remains that we do it. So when you’re out there take note of the general movement of people, group sizes and demographics of those groups. See if there is a certain pattern of traffic flow. Do certain groups follow other groups? The incentive in this case is for the individuals to find the most resources (candy, treats etc.). Some will go out with a game plan based upon prior experience while some will wing it while others will follow those who they feel will get the most return on their investment. You may even learn a few shortcuts you didn’t know where there before! Knowing this information will help you better understand how your local communities interact with one another and will allow you to understand how to be the best “Greyman” you can be. Lastly I’ll leave you with this tidbit; chances are if there is a favorite home or neighborhood during the “quote” holidays then it will probably be just as popular during a catastrophe.
Now this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to note however this is a great-itemized list for starters. It’s also important to note that I don’t in any way condone any kind of actions that would violate any state, local, or federal law or ordinances. Now with that being said you will be hard pressed to find a better day to either put your plans into motion or gather critical Intel on your local area. If you have to be out with the family dressed like a princess or zombie you mind as well give your family and yourself the ultimate doomsday experience, and capitalize on the ease of intelligence surveying, and route planning.
The final thought I’ll leave you with is this, if you don’t plan to roam the streets but would rather “stay and play” (distribute candy, treats, resources etc.) what would someone learn about your household, neighborhood or community?