Trick-or-Treating Etiquette

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Countdown to Halloween: 43 Days!

With the advent of global media, a certain amount of understandable paranoia has developed around the practice of trick-or-treating, and sadly, in this safety-minded, child-proofed world we live in, many parents choose to eliminate it altogether from their children’s life experiences. We think that’s just sad.

Those of us raised in an earlier era have such fond memories of racing around the block at sunset, trying to collect as much candy as possible before midnight. No silly little plastic pumpkins for us — we carried sturdy pillowcases, and made pit-stops at home to empty them before heading out to a new neighborhood.

We started planning our costumes at least a month in advance, and spent weeks fashioning papier-mâché masks and props. We lay awake the night before, too excited to sleep just thinking about the adventure ahead, and the treasure trove of sweets that would soon be ours for the taking (or the asking).

For those of you lucky enough to live in a community where trick-or-treating is still alive and well, we offer a few tips on proper trick-or-treating etiquette to keep things fun and safe for all concerned.

1. Masks are great, but make sure yours allows you plenty of visibility, both directly ahead and peripherally. Not only will this help you stay alert to your surroundings, but could save you the humiliation of a black eye when you keep bumping into your sister’s back with your big papier-mâché mouse nose and she finally loses it.

2. Only go to houses that are lit and clearly participating in the holiday. There was a time when we used to throw eggs at houses where people were hiding inside with the lights off because they were too cheap to give out candy, but these days there are just too many of those, and have you seen the cost of eggs lately? Ditto toilet paper. Just leave them alone if they don’t want to play.

3. Wear a real costume. It’s not “cool” to go trick-or-treating in jeans and a T-shirt. If people can make the effort (and spend the money!) to buy candy, you can make the effort to put on a costume. It’s Halloween, not free candy night.

4. If you see a bowl of candy with a sign that says, “take one,” step back and let someone else go first, and encourage them to take a handful. Better to spring the trap than be the patsy.

5. Carry your stash in a dark pillowcase, and hold out a Halloween-themed decoy bag with just a small amount of candy. People will be more generous if they think you haven’t collected all that much.

6. When you sort through your loot at the end of the night, discard anything that’s unwrapped, appears to have been tampered with or is homemade, unless it’s from someone you know and trust (even then it’s likely to be something yucky.)

7. Don’t forget Mom and Dad. They have a sweet tooth too, and if you award them a generous cut right off the bat, they might not confiscate the entire stash and ration it out to you through Christmas, all the while sneaking an occasional piece for themselves.

Need some scary costume ideas? Come on down to Cutting Edge Haunted House in Forth Worth for some inspiration! From evil clowns to bloodthirsty zombies, we’ve got a horrific cast of characters that will scare the nuts right off your chocolate bar!