Oh, the very anticipated one night per year, where you go door-to-door begging for food and it’s perfectly OK. Yes! It’s Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve, Treat of Treat, whatever you choose to call it, kids across the country look forward to this sweet and scary holiday. So avoid being witchy in character, and follow these simple rules for the making of a fun and safe Halloween.
No scary manners: When approaching a home, only trick or treat at those homes with their front porch lights on. When lights are off, that means, for a variety of reasons, they are not participating in Halloween. And, that’s OK! There are always plenty of other homes handing out candy. When you approach a home and ring the doorbell, do so once or moderately knock. Say “trick or treat” and then “thank you” once the homeowner has handed out candy. Try to talk to your children ahead of time and ask them not to grab at candy (I know this is not easy) and wait for the candy to be handed to them. Of course, very small children may not always get this right and that’s OK. It is a learning process for your little ghosts and goblins, a-hem, I mean princes and princesses.
Safety first: Homeowners do your very best to make your property safe for children. Lighted and illuminated walkways are a must, as well as cleared sidewalks and safe driveways. No head injuries or injured limbs wanted, unless they are a part of a Halloween costume. Trick-or-treaters, try to avoid wearing clothing that is too long, especially when walking near jack-o’-lanterns. Parents, carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear if you are trick or treating after dark. Lastly, try to keep pets contained and not charging at children, for both the pets’ and children’s safety.
Trick-or-treating teens: Although, there is much debate about how old is too old, ask yourself this, wouldn’t you rather teens be dressing up for a little fun with friends rather than partying where unforeseen circumstances may arise? Or on roadways driving at night where our kiddos are scrambling across roads and driveways? So, should a teen knock at your door, please, please, offer them a piece of candy with a smile not criticism. Teens, remember to say thank-you and be frightfully polite.
Candy, candy and candy: Yes, you could be that house that hands out apples, books or toothbrushes, but do not be surprised to hear a couple groans here and there. Although the intentions are good, the expectations are high for Kit-Kats, Snickers and peanut butter cups. So, take it with a grain of salt or a spoonful of sugar! Also, when handing out candy, be certain that they are wrapped separately and sealed. And, it is just our personal opinion, but try to avoid handing out hard candy since that is not safe for our littlest trick-or-treaters.
No pranks: Although it may seem “fun” at the time, it almost never fun for the receiver. Not only can it be unpleasant, but it could be criminal. Avoid toilet-papering, egging or smashing pumpkins, or anything along those lines. You may end up in a striped uniform or orange jumpsuit, not a costume, if you are not careful (OK, we are exaggerating).
Have fun: Embrace the chaotic, fun nature of Halloween and the constant “interruptions” of this yearly event. It is a fun night to connect with neighbors, laugh and smile as the constant army of soldiers, Marvel characters, Disney princesses and historical characters ring your doorbell with big smiles, “trick or treat!”
The Etiquette Chics are national bloggers for Blue Star Families, Military One Click and other national organizations, and often are featured on local TV with etiquette advice. They can be reached at etiquettechics@gmail.com or etiquettechics.net for questions and comments.