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5 Trick-or-treating etiquette tips to embrace this Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching, and kids everywhere are counting down the days until they can go trick-or-treating. Stocking up on candy and other goodies is a joyous time for lots of children, however, unfortunately that fun can be spoiled by bad behavior from kids AND adults.

I won’t say my own kids are perfect by any means, and I certainly have observed them engage in some of these problematic actions. Parenting, after all, is an ongoing learning experience. As someone whose family has participated in a massive town trick-or-treating event since my kids’ were little, I have observed a few things which I want to pass on to you.

Financially Support Those Giving Out Candy

You may think buying a few bags of candy is no big deal, and anyone who chooses to do so is responsible for the financial impact of that decision. This may be true if you are trick-or-treating in a small neighborhood, or within an apartment, however, often times, families travel to another neighborhood or even a whole different town for the experience.

In my community, Halloween sees thousands, yes, thousands of kids descend upon a small section of our town. Houses on these streets can spend hundreds of dollars apiece to accommodate the crowds. To help offset the cost, they will often share a GoFundMe or other method for giving donations. If you don’t see one for your community, reach out to those you know, and ask if you can chip in. Of course, not all families can afford to help out, which is all the more reason to do so if you are able. This ensures houses providing candy can serve all kids who stop by.

Move Your Kids Along

I get it, my kids take FOR-EVER to pick out candy. Again, work in progress. Keeping in mind that other kids are waiting, it is important to encourage our kids to just grab and go. Part of the fun of Halloween is not knowing exactly what you get and trading with siblings and friends. Last year, for example, my son traded everything he got for Hershey Kisses and milk chocolate bars. Of course, kids with allergies, kids who may need more time due to Autism or other special needs, and others may need extra time when getting their candy. See my next point.

Encourage Patience And Kindness

Trick-or-treating is enjoyed by kids of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Your child may see a kid who looks “older” behaving in a way that doesn’t seem appropriate for their age. They might also wonder, why the family ahead of them is asking questions about the candy. This is a good time to remind your kids about patience and kindness, and ensure them that they will get their turn soon enough.

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Don’t Litter

I let my kids have a little bit of their candy as they are trick-or-treating. This means wrappers and other garbage to mind. Considering how small the candy is, tiny wrappers can easily end up tossed on the streets. If you want to be extra careful, wait until you are home to open candy.

Model Politeness And Respect

I am not the type of parent to push my kids into saying “please” and “thank you.” When they are little, I don’t think they fully understand the meaning of these words. And, to my earlier point, some kids, regardless of age, are not able to follow social “norms.” Sometimes, a huge smile and an excited laughter is a thank you in itself. When trick-or-treating with my kids, I make a point of thanking the homeowners for the candy in a way that is clear for them as well as my own children. More often than not, my kids will say thank you as well. Now that my oldest is able to go with his friends, I hope he will model good behavior for his peers.

As I don’t yet have teenagers, I am refraining from speaking about them and how they engage in Halloween. I understand some are uncomfortable seeing teens (or those who appear to be teens) out on Halloween. Personally, I love seeing groups of middle and high schoolers out trick-or-treating. I think it is fantastic how they get into their costumes and just want to have fun. Considering how stressful life for adolescents can be, I am glad they have something to remind them that they are still kids.

No matter how old your kids are, Halloween can be a joyous time for all if we remember to be kind.

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