A Parent’s Guide to Halloween(Repost)

  By Shamus   Oct 30, 2009   19 comments
Someone noticed I didn’t post this week. Actually, I guess a couple of people did. Yeah. I had a big writing project going this weekend, which prevented me from getting my weekend writing done. Then Borderlands came out, which prevented me from catching up.

It’s all sorted now. In the meantime, I reheated some leftovers for you:

  1. Most towns have trick-or-treating end before nightfall, but don’t let that stop you from decking your kid out in reflective tape and glowsticks. Sure, it will ruin their Batman costume and make them look like a Christmas tree with a cape, but if you don’t then the other parents will glare at you and make you feel so guilty.
  2. Explain to your kids: Never accept candy from strangers, unless it’s Halloween – when you should wander around the neighborhood begging for it.
  3. Make sure your child has a nice, large sack or pillowcase for trick-or-treat, and avoid using hard containers like buckets. This makes it less obvious when you begin “skimming” their haul when they aren’t looking.
  4. Don’t feel bad about dipping into your child’s candy when they aren’t around. You helped make the costume, after all. And even if you didn’t: all that candy isn’t good for them anyway.
  5. You will see all levels of costumes. You’ll see one kid dressed as a shogun in authentic period garb, and another kid dressed as a ghost using a plaid sheet with a urine stain. For some reason, you’re supposed to give candy and compliments to both of them. I don’t know why either.
  6. Just to mess with the trick or treaters who come to your door: Try dressing as Santa and giving out painted eggs.
  7. It doesn’t matter if your kid is dressed up as Frankenstein, a zombie, or Idi Amin, the moment you hand them a flashlight they are going to start waving it around in everyone’s eyes and making lightsaber noises. Little brats.
  8. To get revenge, make them wear their coats. Oh yeah. That will make their costume look real good.

Enjoy your Halloween. Save me a Zagnut.

19Just 19 comments.


  1. chabuhi says:

    9. Tell your teenager that a) they are too old for trick-or-treating, and b) their high school gym uniform is not a costume.

  2. OddlucK says:

    The word ‘Zagnut’ makes me giggle. I’m not sure why.

  3. onosson says:

    Some of us have to deal with winter conditions (snow and cold) almost every other Halloween. Coats and boots are just a given.

    P.S. That’s why we Canadians have our Thanksgiving a month earlier.

  4. SteveDJ says:

    3a) If your kids return from their rounds early enough, you can sort through their haul, separate out all the icky stuff they (and you) aren’t going to want, and give it back away to other kids coming to your door. :) (…because seriously, you secretly want to keep the good stuff you bought to give away, right?)

  5. Lilfut says:

    10. Always be nice to others, unless you’re dressed as a zombie and/or monster clown, in which case it’s okay to make the school punching bag jump into low orbit.

    (quick explanation: at school today we got to wear costumes. one of my “friends” [may want to rethink that categorization] got a zombie clown costume and decided to jump around a corner screaming like an a-hole and freaking me the hell out)

  6. Mom says:

    put a scoop of ice cream in everyone’s sack

  7. Juni says:

    SteveDJ:

    Dude, I have to try that this year.

  8. Heron says:

    We went to a halloween trick-or-treat activity in our neighborhood last night. (photo) Trouble is, our daughter is far too young for candy (barely started on liquidy food), so we couldn’t take any candy without making it painfully obvious that we just wanted more chocolate for ourselves.

    Edit: this avatar is making me look like a grumpy old man :(

  9. Rosseloh says:

    @Mom:
    I’d never thought of that. (evil laughter)

    Off-topic: Looks like a free weekend for Champions Online on steam; time for me to finally see if this is as good as it looks from your reviews!

  10. Johannes says:

    @Lilfut: your post made me SO think of this clip.

  11. Telas says:

    I grew up in a traditional southern house with a big, full-length porch, fronted with bushes, and a side door around the corner. The front door was recessed by a few feet.

    My dad had an ugly mask, and an old shirt with (fake?) bloodstains on it.

    And every year for Halloween, we’d play “kids off the porch”. At the doorbell, my dad would don the mask, grab a tray of candy, exit the side door, creep around the porch, where he’d growl at the kids. Sometimes he made it right behind them before they noticed.

    BAM! Kids off the porch. Some with very creative (and athletic) dismounts…

    I miss the good old days.

  12. Graham says:

    @onosson –

    Damn straight!

    Coats are built into your costume up here. I think this comic sums it up nicely.

    http://www.mooseheadstew.com/2009/10/24/

    If you ever picked a costume that didn’t work with a parka under it, the only time you could show it off was at halloween parties or at school. While trick-or-treating, that fairy princess costume became a parka with a tutu, wand, and tiara.

  13. RPharazon says:

    15) If you see a teenager (or anyone over 15 years old) without a legitimate and well-designed costume, tell them to bug off, and that they are much too old to go trick or treating.

    16) If you see a teenager (or anyone over 15 years old) with a legitimate and well-designed costume, give them something better than just candy. A 4-8GB USB memory stick works well. This will give an incentive to have good costumes.

    17) If you’re a poor student without any money, candy, or costume ideas, stay inside playing TF2 until all the kids have gone. Remember to turn off all the lights in your house!

  14. Gary says:

    Not so sure about telling the large group of teenagers to bug-off. I’m not fond of peeling egg off of my car or house. :D

  15. Scotticus says:

    HOW have I need seen this before?!?

  16. Mr. Son says:

    I’m with the “teenagers: costume or GTFO” crowd.
    (Went trick or treating. Is 24. Was a pirate (NOT Jack Sparrow).)

  17. Namaps says:

    “Most towns have trick-or-treating end before nightfall”

    Huh? I’ve never lived anywhere where trick-or-treating even started before nightfall…

  18. Chuk says:

    Yeah, “before nightfall” at this time of year is like 4:30. No one goes trick or treating that early unless they’re doing it inside the mall or something.

  19. Erik says:

    I highly recommend never giving out eggs for Halloween. I think some stores around here actually take eggs off the shelves during the Holiday as a preventative measure.

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