What is proper trick-or-treating etiquette? | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Please support our work!

Donate  Advertise

What is proper trick-or-treating etiquette? 

Published October 3, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge DREAMSTIME
  • dreamstime

Halloween is that special time of year when parents turn a blind eye to every health and safety lesson we strive to instill in our children. Here kid, dress up like Joan Rivers, head out into the night and demand candy from strangers! (What? Not everyone's parents make their 10-year-old aspiring comedian walk around saying "Trick-or-treat! Can we tawk here?!")

Moms and dads get a little wacky come October 31st. Maybe it's all those pumpkin-spice lattes. Maybe it's that we know a long, dark winter is looming. Whatever the reason, we're making eyeball fruit punch, watching "DIY gaping wound" tutorials on YouTube and paying way too much for plastic costumes at Party City.

How do we reconcile this temporary madness with helping our kids make good decisions and retain a modicum of self-control? Talk with them about Halloween safety and etiquette.

Self-proclaimed "manners mentor" Maralee McKee offers an extensive list of trick-or-treating tips. First and foremost, costumes are required. Halloween's not just a sugary land-grab. Historically, sweet treats were meant to placate wandering spirits. Costumes don't have to be elaborate or expensive, but should be good enough to acknowledge that we're all playing a part in this holiday theater.

Among McKee's other suggestions: Assume that each house has a one-piece limit; don't dig around in the bowl for "the good stuff"; don't offer your opinion of the candy choices; say "Thank you!" every time.

Julia Elliott, editor in chief at Detroit-based Metro Parent, points out that Halloween etiquette applies to adults as well. If you plan to drive your children to another neighborhood, park your car and accompany your gaggle of ghosts. Cruising slowly along behind them is creepy, and not in a good way.

Elliott is also clear: Give out actual treats. No life was ever changed by an apple received on Halloween. Kids get piles of candy in exchange for showing up on your doorstep looking adorable, hilarious or terrifying. Stick to the program, people.

As always, the most important thing to remember is that you're the parent — on Halloween, and every other day. Decide what sort of etiquette you think is relevant and important, and make sure your kids understand your rules — before the sugar rush kicks in.

In this monthly column, comedian, writer and mom Autumn Spencer answers tricky parenting questions. Have a question for Autumn? Send it to [email protected].

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Autumn Spencer


Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Kids VT

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2024 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation