Trick-or-Treating Etiquette

No more tricks, only treats

Emma Lewicky, Contributor // Illustration by Emily Rose

For most, Halloween is considered a night of fun and endless candy. It’s a night that gives you a sense of anonymity, to dress as someone or something else with no rules to stop you. However, it shouldn’t be all mayhem and madness. Have you ever seen the movie Trick ‘r Treat? The movie follows a demonic child posing as a trick-or-treater who punishes those who break the rules of Halloween. Now if this were something that actually happened, the rules should be as follows.

This first rule should be common sense: use your manners. People are handing out candy for free! The least we can do is use our please and thank yous like our parents taught us. The same courtesy should also extend to whoever is chaperoning you around Halloween night. Manners go a long way in making a person feel respected and appreciated.

Additionally, smashing jack-o’-lanterns would be a sure way to earn a visit from the Halloween enforcer. Another obvious rule should be respecting people’s property. This even includes something as small as blowing a candle out from their pumpkin. Now, if pumpkins are off limits, it should go without saying that decorations are off limits too. On Halloween night homeowners willingly let people come and go through their property. It should be treated with respect. If they have a pathway to their door, use it. Avoid walking across their grass and absolutely do not walk through their flower beds. The hydrangeas don’t deserve the abuse.

A common debate of trick-or-treating is when are you too old? What is that sad age when you’re just too grown up for it to be acceptable? With some places even threatening jail time for individuals over 12 caught trick-or-treating, it is a serious conversation. It would seem to be most appropriate to stop trick-or-treating once you reach high school. Trick-or-treating is an event aimed towards children, and what better time to stop than when you’re starting at a new school, evolving into a young adult. And let’s be honest, adults only willingly hand out candy because they want to see the cute kids. Respect the age limitations.

            Something else to consider as a trick-or-treater: is your costume appropriate? When you’re planning your costume, make sure to consider a few things. Is your costume offensive in any way? Something as simple as a religious habit can be seen as distasteful and rude. Could your costume be considered too revealing? There is a sexy version to every costume, but maybe those should be saved for clubs or parties. Don’t forget, a large number of trick-or-treaters are young children and your outfit should be appropriate if you’re going to be around them.

Now for some chaperoning etiquette: don’t be a wet sock! If you’re escorting children around on Halloween night, have some fun and be happy. They’ll probably share their candy with you, as they should. But while having fun, be mindful of safety as well. Halloween is a dark and busy night, with people and hazards around every corner. Make sure to keep a close eye on your surroundings.

The last unwritten rule of Halloween night, and the most important, is have fun! It’s likely that you understand all of these rules already, but just needed some reminding. The most important thing is to be polite and aware. Now, remember these rules or else: you may just be visited by the Halloween rule enforcer!

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