Trick or Treat Etiquette

Oops. Sorry for no post yesterday. I moved this weekend and things are still kind of hectic. I literally just now have enough room to sit down and write (and even then, I’m on a couch using a slightly too tall accent table as a desk). But we can talk about obnoxious moving experiences later. Right now, we have a much more urgent topic to discuss.

Trick or treaters.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown increasingly disappointed and frustrated handing out candy each year. I don’t want to generalize an entire group of kids and teenagers, but trick or treaters… you’ve got to step up your game. Seriously, we go out and buy candy to give out for free, and you act like you don’t even give a shit. It’s not all of you; some of you are really cool and enthusiastic about dressing up and going door to door, and I can appreciate that. But a lot of you… man, where do I begin?

Say “trick or treat” and “thank you.”

You’d think trick or treaters would at least have the basic greeting down, but about a quarter of the kids I see seem to be unfamiliar with the phrase. No, extending their open bag in front of them while remaining silent seems equally appropriate through their eyes.

Not saying “trick or treat” (or even a simple “hi”) is going to make your handful of candy drop down to a single fun size. It’s rude. Like you just expect people to give you something because you showed up to the door.

And not saying “thank you” when you get candy, even if it’s not great, is just as rude. I don’t think I should have to bring up the subject of manners during Halloween, but time and experience has proven it’s something that needs to be addressed. Seriously guys, say “trick or treat” and “thank you.” There’s absolutely no reason not to.

Wear a costume.

Another thing you’d think trick or treaters would have down, but again, time and experience tell me this is something that needs addressing. Don’t go around wearing your normal clothes. You’re not a trick or treater when you’re not in costume, you’re a beggar. Remember Oscar from Hey Arnold? You know, that lazy freeloader with the stupid laugh? That’s what I see when I open the door and see someone asking for candy without a costume.

Oh, and middle school/high school trick or treaters? Wearing your football team jersey isn’t wearing a costume. That’s you wearing your football team jersey, and I assume you’re just stopping by before going to practice. At the very least, wear the whole uniform. The pants, the gloves, the mouth guard, the cleats, the helmet, all of it. At least then you can say you’re going as a football player.

And for that matter, wearing only a mask isn’t wearing a costume. That’s just you wearing a mask. Picking one up at a Halloween store on Halloween isn’t the same as planning to go out for Halloween. Oh, you’ve got a zombie mask? What are you going as? It can’t be a zombie, because your hoodie, jeans, and sneakers are all still intact. Your hands are pretty clean, too. No fake scars, blood, or anything.

I know people don’t always have access to “great” costumes, accessories, and makeup (it can be pretty expensive, after all), but at least look around your house for something. C’mon guys. Get a little creative. Put more than two minutes’ effort into dressing up.

“Am I too old to trick or treat?”

If you’re asking this question, the answer is probably yes. Trick or treating is for kids. I think teenagers can get away with it, but I think it’s more elementary and middle school focused. High schoolers, well… I don’t think it’s a problem as long as they’re in costume, but I think it’s around this time you should think about wrapping up the whole trick or treating thing.

Oh, and as a side note: “You’re never too old for free candy” is a phrase you shouldn’t be proud to say. That’s the kind of thing the unemployed 20-something-year-old says as he’s roaming the streets on Halloween night when a concerned parent asks “aren’t you a little old to be trick or treating” as they cautiously shelter their child from him.

Don’t be upset when we don’t have safe candy for your infant.

Babies aren’t the first demographic that comes to mind when it comes to Halloween. Yeah, it’s pretty cute when you dress your baby up in that pumpkin costume as you take your other kids around the neighborhood. But it’s a holiday when people give out candy. If you’re taking just your baby around, and you’re kind of iffed off that we don’t have anything safe for him or her to eat… umm… tough? I don’t want to be mean, but babies aren’t supposed to be eating candy in the first place, so maybe reconsider taking them out if you’re expecting them to eat what people are handing out.

Like I said last week, Halloween is my new favorite holiday. It’s strange how trick or treating, the custom most associated with Halloween, is the aspect I like the least. Fortunately, there aren’t many kids where I just moved to, so I don’t think I’m going to be too bothered by poor trick or treating etiquette this year. But that’s just me. Other people are still going to have to deal with the things I’ve listed, so trick or treaters, please. I’m begging you. Step up your game a little bit. Say “trick or treat.” Dress up. Be aware of who the holiday is for. And don’t forget, the kid that shows up to my house in a Pikachu costume automatically gets a bowl full of candy. Never underestimate the power of a cool costume. Happy Halloween, and BE SAFE.

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