Halloween Etiquette

Good manners are important, even on Halloween!

Halloween: First celebrated by the Celts in Ireland in the fifth century B.C.  They believed that on October 31, everyone who had died during that year would assemble to select the person or animal whose body they would inhabit for the next twelve months, before passing into the afterlife. (source: Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati)

We adhere to guidelines of behavior when we attend parties, well, Halloween is one big party, with rules that are designed primarily for everyone's safety.

Timely Tips for Trick or Treaters

  • If the porch light is off, do not approach.
  • Say "trick or treat" when they open the door.
  • Always say, "Thank you", even if you receive something you don't like!
  • Please keep off the grass.
  • Carefully cross the street.  Consider carrying a flash light or wear a flashing necklace.
  • Do not block the sidewalk.
  • Wait for your group to cross the street together. Always, look both ways before crossing.
  • If you get lost, stay where you are and wait.  Do not go into anyone's home or car.  Remain on the sidewalk.
  • Do not intentionally scare younger children (too much). Remember when it happened to you?
  • After 9:00 PM, you will find that most people turn off their lights; especially on a school/work night.
  • If it is a self-serve bowl, do not take more than two pieces.
  • Do not enter anyone's home or yard unless your parents approve.
  • Do not eat a treat from your bag until your parents review it. (It's okay if it's from someone you know.)
  • If the house looks too scary, don't go.
  • Don't make fun of someone who does not participate in the Halloween festivities.
  • Don't make fun of someone's costume.
  • Thank your parent, friend, or older brother for taking you "trick or treating".

Be safe, have fun, and let your good manners shine through!

Happy Halloween!

Rosalinda Randall is an etiquette consultant and owner of Your Relationship Edge.  She has been spreading civility throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond for over fourteen years.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

MomSquad October 30, 2012 at 06:00 AM
Thanks for sharing this! We're big on manners every day, including Halloween trick-or-treat ;) http://campbell.patch.com/articles/kids-and-manners
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall October 30, 2012 at 06:28 AM
MomSquad,thank you for your comment. Manners and Halloween can be tricky, but not impossible.
Gini Wallace October 31, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Saw this on Facebook and thought I'd share it here.... :-) Tomorrow night a lot of creatures will visit your door. Be open minded. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy might have poor fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy might have motor planning issues. The child who does not say "trick or treat" or "thank you" might be painfully shy, non-verbal, or selectively mute. If you cannot understand thei r words, they may struggle with developmental apraxia of speech. They are thankful in their hearts and minds. The child who looks disappointed when he sees your bowl might have a life-threatening allergy. The child who isn't wearing a costume at all might have SPD or autism. Be kind, be patient, smile, pretend you understand. It's everyone's Halloween. Make a parent feel good by making a big deal of their special child.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte October 31, 2012 at 07:07 AM
@Gini: Love your comment. Hope others will take that to heart. :)
Ryan October 31, 2012 at 07:22 AM
I will be sure to have my kids ask for a little extra at the Obama homes. Go Romney!
Ryan October 31, 2012 at 07:29 AM
If parents do not know to raise their kids this way since the beginning, than their kids will become liberals. This is common sense ("the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way"). You do not need Rosalinda to teach you this if you do, you're a moron and most likely depend on nannies to raise you kids.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall October 31, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Gini, As with all situation and dilemmas in life there are exceptions, and some flexibility is required. In general, most people are very understanding, compassionate, and use common sense, especially when dealing with children. My 'list' is meant to be used as a guideline. Keeping in mind that every family has their own set of rules and beliefs. Guidelines help make it a pleasant experience for everyone. Thank you for contributing to this post. And, for the reminder that kindness is key.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall October 31, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Ryan, Way back in the day, practices, standards, and expectations were very similar from home to home. Today, it vastly differs. Therefore, what may seem like "common sense" to you, is quite the opposite to another. If we based our interactions with others by allowing courtesy, consideration, and respect guide us, well...what a wonderful world. A bit cheesy, but I hope everyone gets my point. Happy Halloween!
Lefty November 01, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Rosalinda are you telling us that today there are people from different areas of the world that do not say, please, thank you and do not understand not to trample on other peoples flowers and grass?
Lefty November 01, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Dog owners allow dogs to crap all over another persons property, what is the their excuse? Is that not common sense? Sometimes they allow this when signs read "NO DOGS ALLOWED" at schools. These are idiots.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall November 01, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Lefty, There are many people in our own back yard who do not say "please" and "thank you" on a regular basis. At Lunardi's the other day, "Give me some of those." ..."Nah, that's all." No, please to the butcher and no, thank you to the butcher. I'm in agreement with you regarding doggy-do-do. In fact, several years ago, I posted a sign similar to yours; sadly, the 'deposits' increased, so I took it down. There are, always have been, and always will be people who are inconsiderate, unaware, self-absorbed, or just weren't taught to mind. Thank you for your posts.
Jim C November 01, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Ryan, I submit that it is "common sense" that when somebody writes a helpful post meant to assist people in proper behavior, it is rude to leave a malevolent and argumentative comment. Perhaps your parents didn't do as good a job raising you as you think they did.
Jim C November 01, 2012 at 06:49 AM
Rosalinda, I want to thank you for your initial post which I took as trying to be helpful. I'm sorry that a few comments have taken it down another path and, indeed, I am sorry that I have to disagree with this particular comment..."common sense" is still common sense, or should be. We have every right to expect others to adhere to the ideas that are common to our country and community. We have a right to be angry when people purposely ignore these customs and when groups of people choose to insulate themselves in a much smaller idea of a community where they are not exposed to these ideas.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall November 01, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Chris, These milestones, however small, feel significant. Thank you for your touching comments.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall November 01, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Jim C, Thank you very much for making very good points. I thought that this quote was appropriate. Have a great week. "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire
MV Resident November 01, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Ryan, You commented on an article regarding Halloween with political jabs, twice. You are also extermely rude. Is this how you teach your kids to behave?
Jim C November 01, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Funny thing about that quote, depending on an individual's world view, it can mean "Everybody is an individual so don't assume that your common sense is the same as someone else's." Or it could mean "People are stupid." :-) I just think that we all have an obligation to get along within our community.
John Hanson November 01, 2012 at 08:15 PM
At what age is too old, to go Tricker Treating?
Jim C November 01, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Our rule was 13. But that was s a soft rule. I don't mind giving out candy to 16 year olds if they're in costume. But I have a problem with 16 year olds dressed up as 16 year olds.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall November 01, 2012 at 11:35 PM
John, Some may disagree, but as Jim C stated, you can determine that for your child. My opinion is, no matter what their age, if they are reasonably polite and have a fun attitude, I'll give them candy.
MV Resident November 01, 2012 at 11:44 PM
About 15 years ago my mother noticed that older kids were out trick 'r' treating. She did not mind this. She felt that it was kids that missed out on Halloween as there appeared to be a decline in trick 'r' treating for a few years due to people feeling it was unsafe for young kids to be out after dark.
The Garzas November 02, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Yesterday we had adults come to our door. Adults meaning the were about 35-40 year old women. They were non-English speakers when I asked them about age. One had no costume and talking on a cell phone holding out Safeway type plastic bag. What gives?
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall November 02, 2012 at 05:28 AM
The Garzas, Oh my, never ask a lady her age...all kidding aside, when you look like you can be someone's mother, I draw the line; no candy for you!
Will Stevens November 05, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Speaking of Mothers, every year I seem to get one or two (this year it was two) Moms holding out their own bags for candy. No costume, just an escort with a walgreens bag looking to add some heft to the family loot. Not cool, Moms. My rule for teenagers trick-or-treating is that it is much easier to give them a piece of candy now than it is to clean TP out of my trees or eggs off my car later.
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