A Parent’s Guide to Halloween

 By Shamus Oct 31, 2006 12 comments
  1. Most towns have trick-or-treating end before nighfall, 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.

12There are a dozen comments.


  1. some kid says:

    I was never allowed to do anything involving Halloween. They told me it was satanic.

  2. AngiePen says:

    LOL! I was a kid (I’m forty-three for reference — most of my memories of trick-or-treating are from the early seventies) just as all the “safety” crap was starting up. I hated it and so did all my friends. I hate it even more now that I know the scare crap was bogus anyway, just a bunch of urban legends — no kid was ever given an apple with a razor blade in it (who wanted apples anyway?) and the only documented case of a kid being poisoned by Halloween candy turned out to be a stepkid who was poisoned by his own stepfather. The dad had heard the thing about strangers handing out poisoned candy to kids and thought this would be a good way of getting rid of an unwanted stepchild. Lovely. But the stories going around were enough to make a lot of parents take their kids’ candy to hospitals to be X-rayed (hospitals agreed to do this for free on Halloween, wonderful use of resources) or only let them go to the houses of people they knew (WTF?! talk about cutting into your haul!) or even not let their kids go out at all and have lame Halloween parties instead. :(

    My parents always went out with me but they didn’t insist on hanging onto my elbow. I was usually with some friends and we’d dash around with the parents strolling down the sidewalk. The lack of close monitoring was a great boon because one of the safety rules was that any unwrapped candy would be thrown away when we got home (remember the bogus poison-candy scare above) so if we got anything unwrapped that looked good we ate it while we walked. (This one old lady a couple of blocks away made really good peanut brittle.) At that same time, though, I’d run into a lot of my friends from school who were running around by themselves, so it wasn’t yet universal, or even close, for kids not to be allowed trick-or-treating alone.

    some kid — I feel for you, hon. :/ That particular flavor of crap started spreading when I was in my… late teens or early twenties I think. That’s when I started hearing that some schools were forbidding, or at least “strongly advising against” kids coming to school on Halloween dressed as ghosts or devils or goblins or anything like that. What really pissed me off about it is that because of a few fundamentalist Christian parents’ grouching, kids whose parents had no problem at all letting little Johnny wear a demon costume were being told their kids couldn’t be what they wanted for Halloween. Heaven forbid they might offend someone. [eyeroll]

    I was volunteering at an elementary school for a while in the eighties and once when the subject came up, I expressed my contempt for this particular new rule. One of the parents told me with a straight face that the kids who wanted to go trick-or-treating in an objectionable costume could always just wear a different costume to school. Umm, yeah, because SO many parents are just delighted to make or buy TWO costumes for each of their kids each year. [facepalm] I always felt sorry for kids who had parents like that, and thought to myself that if my kids’ school ever had that kind of rule I’d make them go as devils and demons and let the jerks sue me, LOL!

    • Jenelle says:

      I am a Christian and I don’t see anything wrong with trick or treating. It was also in my teens that I had the first inkling of the “Halloween is bad” idea. I get angry that people have to pick on an innocent, now American, tradition. At the very least, people should respect others’ opinions or in my case, convictions. Disagreeing is o.k., but be respectful. Halloween is, in my opinion, an unimportant non-issue.

  3. bkw says:

    Never been much of a proponent of door-to-door begging. Much more in favour of haunted house parties.

  4. The 1st think the kids do after getting home from trick or treating is to sort and number the candy by type. I can never get away with sneaking pieces from their stash!

  5. Rufus Polson says:

    Theoretically, it’s supposed to be door to door extortion, not begging. Before my time, but theoretically if no treat was forthcoming was when you were supposed to play pranks and make ‘em regret it.
    It’s sad, the way tradition falls away . . . when you think that nowadays, that kind of practice could prepare someone for a brilliant career as a corporate lawyer, a politician, a US diplomat . . .

  6. some kid says:

    Thanks for your sympathy AngiePen, but I’ve come to accept it. And when I’m old with a wife and kids I’ll just tell them they can’t go trick or treating. I’ll trie to throw in that “it builds character” crap in somewhere to.

  7. Flexstyle says:

    There’s always the option of going to the local church bash, like our family does. They hand out free candy, give you games to play, people to meet/re-meet…great fun.

    [joke]And anyways, who the heck would want to dress up?[/joke]

  8. Rolld20 says:

    To get revenge, make them wear their coats. Oh yeah. That will make their costume look real good.

    My parents grew up in Michigan. They often had snow on the ground by the end of October. Coats on the 31st were a given. Oh, and they had to walk uphill both ways, too. ;)
    Anyway, going to a party was usually preferable, especially if it was snowing that night.

  9. colin says:

    In winnipeg, if we had to go trick or treating before nightfall, we’d have to start at 2 o’clock.

  10. dyrnwyn says:

    You can bet there will be at least one santa handing out colored eggs this year. great idea thanks

  11. My last halloween (When i was 18) i went out with my best friend and i dressed as drag queen. Its a cheap and easy costume if you didnt plan on going out until you realized “Hey i want candy to god dammit” and you dont have a costume ready. But ill be damned if going around in a dress isnt cold

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