This year, I will accept trick or treaters under one condition… that they are polite.
The politer the child, the more convinced I might be to offer them a treat or two.
Last year I received two “waves” of “Trick or Treaters”… a younger crowd earlier on, with mum and dad and generally dressed up cutely and docile in their behaviour (goodness knows how they behaved after all the sugar had kicked in haha) and then the older kids, almost bullying stuff out of us in larger groups and teenage crowds with normal clothes and simply a mask, which was in fact fairly daunting on the night looking out into the darkness.
But one thing both sets of fancy dress goers had in common was this… in my personal experience, they were oh so rude.
In both sets of groups, we would get a knock on the door, a feeble scream of *Trick or Treat* (the younger kids probably not even giving two hoots as to what it’s all really about other than sugar… and lots of it) and grabbing handfuls of treats, pushing YOU and the others out of the way as they do so, then running off greedily to the next door…(erm, hold on a second?!)… I was literally left shocked after one small group of kids did just this, the parents watched and didn’t acknowledge, thank me or even smile, they simply moved on. I thought better of the parents, but just how rude could they be?!
Has it put me off answering my door this year? Well, to a point yes.
I’ve already had the argument with myself as to wether opening the door and spending my OWN personal pocket money is worth it this year. But, hopefully, if all “Trick or Treaters” followed some obvious rules this year, everybody would be happy, myself included.
Here are some Halloween and “Trick or Treat” etiquette tips (please don’t be rude to the kind participants you encounter) to ensure for a happy outcome on both sides of the door:
The Lost Art Of Etiquette – Halloween & “Trick or Treat”
If the lights are off, keep walking, don’t stop and try the door “just in case”, you may be hassling or upsetting somebody or their pet unnecessarily as a result.
Don’t be greedy, take one or two treats (or listen to the person handing them out), thank them and move on. Don’t nudge or push anybody out of the way, adult or child.
You may be asked what the homeowner gets in return for saying “treat”, so have a witty response, a joke, song, dance, good deed at the ready in return for their kindness.
Smile and say thank you, it’s common courtesy. If the child is too young to understand or too excited to remember, offer this up as the parent if you can, please don’t simply walk on and ignore, this night works both ways. Your neighbours appreciate well mannered children and admire the parents for doing such a good job on ensuring that they are just this ; )
On the same note, if they answer with “trick” please remember not to use threats or bad behaviour as a penalty for this option. Simply use your wit, talent or good manners to come back to them with something fun for all involved or simply move on with no hard feelings.
Be considerate of private property, no trampling on lawns or flower beds, no littering, no damaging decorations or ornaments, be respectful. And parents, no leaning on garden fences or cars whilst waiting for the children, I’ve had this happen to me personally in both cases and scratches and bends in personal property is not a pleasant introduction to your neighbours, I can assure you.
If you have a dog with you, obviously it would not be ok to allow it to walk up to the front door with you, please stay on the pavement. The owner of the door about to be opened may have their own pets and the outcome may not be a pleasant one. And carry the correct disposable bags to pick up any mess left behind you on your journey – funnily, my local village has a lot more mess on pavements after Halloween…
If somebody doesn’t answer their door after one knock or ring of the bell, leave. Do not repeatedly try the door, simply move on and don’t return later “for another go”.
No, you can’t ask to use the toilet whilst knocking on a strangers’ door (go before you leave the house), if you are trekking for miles and hours at a time, you may want to re-think your strategy…
When offered a treat, take it graciously, never return it or ask for something else. And if the house in question has turned their lights off or gone out, but left a bowl of treats for you to dip into on the doorstep, please take just one and leave some for others.
What age is appropriate for such games? It’s a general rule that anybody under 12 years of age can get away with some fun, but anybody over this should be at home opening the door with their family… Some may disagree, but I think this is fair.
And if you are a homeowner who doesn’t want to enter into the spirit of one of the few “interactive” festivities we have, then it may be wiser to enjoy an evening out with friends or family. Go for a nice meal, see a film, visit somebody you’ve been meaning to catch up with, anything to avoid the awkward and potentially stressful situation of sitting in the dark wishing everybody would bog off…
Do you have any tips or tricks (or treats) to share with my halloween loving readers?
Please do leave a comment below to share your thoughts, recipes and stories below.
You can also read the rest of Miss Sue Flay’s “Lost Art Of Etiquette” guides by clicking here.