There are a lot etiquette rules that one must follow when visiting a friend’s house. But on Halloween, you’re bouncing around from home to home and trick-or-treating. Or perhaps you’re sitting at home dishing out candy to children. How do you make sure you’re not being rude to your fellow spooky celebrators?
It’s all about respect and being kind to your fellow man. That’s how to avoid being rude on Halloween!
We broke it down from those who are handing out the treats and for those little goblins and ghouls who are going door to door shouting “Trick or treat!” For those greeting and giving, be sure to be home, be friendly and have enough candy for the whole neighborhood. For those running and collecting as much candy as possible, be sure to say “thank you,” be respectful of your fellow kids and trade your popular Halloween candies fairly.
Want to know what other trick-or-treating mistakes to avoid? It’s easy. Click through to find out how to be the best house and the best guest this Halloween.
There’s a cardinal rule of trick-or-treat house participation: If you’re giving out candy, turn the lights on. If you’re not, turn them off. If you keep your porch lights or flood lights on during your neighborhood’s designated trick-or-treat hours, hopeful little witches and wizards will wander to your doorstep, only to be disappointed when they ring your bell. Plus, you’ll be bothered by the interruptions.
If you’re going to be participating in trick-or-treat, be sure to have enough candy for every kid who may come to your doorstep. We’re not saying that you should buy Target’s entire stock of Halloween candy, we’re just saying you should buy more than enough for everyone. Worst case scenario: You have leftover candy that you can turn into these desserts.
We know that little 4-year-old dressed as a chicken is adorable, but you really should not give them more candy than the princesses, ninjas and ghosts that show up on your doorstep. If you’re giving one kid four mini Snickers bars, you better give every kid four mini Snickers bars.
You kid looks adorable dressed up like a little dinosaur, and while we’re totally in favor of getting your kids involved in the holidays, maybe passing out candy isn’t the best job for your little one. Kids are cute, but not necessarily efficient. Your 4-year-old can only drop a bag of M&M’s so many times, and then no one is amused anymore. There are tons of other houses to get to!
Remember how we just asked you not to turn your home into a ghost’s paradise? That means you should keep your own Halloween costume PG-rated too. Get in the spirit, please! And while a Michael Myers mask or a classic Dracula cape is fine, being a zombie with blood and brains coming out of your head is not. Consider these food-inspired costumes instead.
For most trick-or-treaters, Halloween is about one thing and one thing only: candy. The worst things we ever got trick-or-treating include toothbrushes, religious pamphlets and pennies. If you’re going to be handing out goodies on Halloween, make it something sweet.
Just because you should hand out candy and other treats this Halloween doesn’t mean you should be limited to chocolates, peanuts and sugar. Be sure to have some allergy-friendly options at your home for kids who may be allergic to nuts, wheat, eggs or other common foods. If you do have an allergy-friendly treat available, be sure to set out a teal pumpkin.
There’s some sort of arbitrary rule that once a kid hits a certain age (let’s say 12) that they need to stop trick-or-treating and, we don’t know, grow up or something. We say that’s a bunch of malarkey! If a teen comes to your door dressed in their spookiest garb, throw them a few chocolate bars. Shaming them for trick-or-treating or turning them away is rude. And what would you prefer those tweens and teens do? Drink underage?
There’s a sort of exchange that goes on when a trick-or-treater comes to your door. They say, “Trick or treat!” You say, “Happy Halloween!” You hand out a few pieces of candy; they say, “Thank you.” Then you should say… “You’re welcome!” Don’t forget it, otherwise you risk being rude without knowing it.
And speaking of being rude, now that we have explained the things that houses giving out candy should (and should not) do this October, let’s talk about rude behaviors that trick-or-treaters should avoid.
The No. 1 rule of trick-or-treating: Dress up! Half the fun of Halloween is choosing a costume, whether you decide to make your own avant-garde outfit or choose from the most popular Halloween costumes of all time.
You know how the person dishing out the candy needs to say “Happy Halloween!” and “You’re welcome?” Well, they can’t do that if you don’t say “Trick or Treat!” first. It’s a part of the deal. If you just ring the doorbell and stand there expectantly, it’s weird and rude.
It’s really nice that the folks next door gave you four pieces of candy. That doesn’t lessen the two or three pieces that you got at your current trick-or-treating stop. One bag of Skittles in your plastic pumpkin is worth two in a bush, as the old phrase so nearly says.
We’re not just talking about number of candies you get per house, we’re also talking about types. Yes, some Halloween candies are better than others and more beloved, but that’s no reason to brag about what you got at other houses. Even if they gave out full Hershey bars, keep that to yourself while at another home.
There are a lot of nice things you need to say more often, and “thank you” is at the very top of that list. When you or your kids receive candy (for free, may we add!) be sure to express your gratitude.
Not every house has someone answering the door; sometimes they’re out trick-or-treating themselves, so they just leave a bowl of candy on the stoop. If you come across a house like this with a sign that says “Please take one,” follow the sign’s directions. You’ll get plenty of chocolates and gummies at other houses. Leave some for other kids.
Kids of all ages go trick-or-treating. And if you or your children are tweens or teens, they need to respect the younger kids out on the sidewalks with them. Wearing gory costumes, carrying around scary-looking weapons or pretending like you’re the star of a haunted house is a big no-no. Let the little ones enjoy their time!
Halloween costumes can come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t have to be homemade or elaborate in order to be effective and fun. Mocking the quality or content of another’s Halloween costume is beyond rude; it’s bullying.
There are a lot of pranks you can pull on Halloween, but the “trick” half of trick-or-treat isn’t to be taken literally. If a house has its lights off or if a house is out of candy when you arrive, just move on.
The best part of trick-or-treating, far and away, is after you get home. You and your friends spill all your candy across the floor and do some trades (after mom and dad check for razor blades and opened candies, of course). But trade fair, especially if you’re trading with someone younger or less experienced at trick-or-treating. One Tootsie Roll is not a fair trade for a movie theater-sized box of Milk Duds. And of course, everyone will want to keep these most popular Halloween candies for themselves.
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