Halloween Trick-or-Treat Etiquette for Parents

By: Diane Gottsman

On Halloween, as we await trick-or-treaters, we have all opened the door to inappropriate costumes, wild behavior, and not a word of appreciation after being handed a pumpkin full of candy – and all of that was from the parents! — As Halloween approaches and excited children are picking out their costumes, many parents are reminding them about the rules of the holiday such as: be safe, act appropriately and remember your manners. But what about the way that parents should act on Halloween?

Here are some  tips on what parents should do, and what they shouldn’t do, while trick-or-treating with their kids on Halloween:

Skip the drink until later. Think twice before strolling through the neighborhood, carrying a solo cup filled with liquor. Keep the focus on your kids, not your “to go” cup. If someone offers you a refill, use your best judgment and take the situation and your location in mind. Your first priority is the safety of your kids.

Use your own good manners. Remind your kids to offer a loud and clear “Thank you” to those tossing chocolate treats in their bag…whether or not they like their Halloween loot. Your children should also be told to watch for cars, stay close to an adult and be polite to others. While it’s an expected gesture for your child to thank the person handing out candy, it’s also nice to hear it from a grateful parent and fellow neighbor.

Your two month old baby doesn’t count as a Trick-or-Treater. An adult, toting a large plastic pumpkin or over sized pillowcase, claiming they are collecting goodies for their toothless baby dressed as a hot dog, is not a convincing argument. Wait until your little angel can chew before collecting extra sweets.

Let the kids wear the costumes. Adults should refrain from wearing scary masks or costumes that will frighten the neighbors, young and old. If you do choose to dress up, keep the mask off your face or you may get reported for being a “person of interest”.

Go home at an appropriate time. If the porch light is off, it’s your signal that the fun is over. The general consensus to call it a night between 8:30 and 9:00 pm, or earlier for very young children. Halloween is on Friday this year, so there may be more revelers who are prone to stay out later because it’s not a work or school night. Bottom line: respect your neighbors “lights out” signal.

Check the candy before letting your kids indulge. Make sure all of the candy is in its original wrappers.

Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman

Etiquette Expert at The Protocol School of Texas
Diane specializes in executive leadership and etiquette training, with clients ranging from university students to Fortune 500 companies, and her seminars cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media. Her advice is backed by a Master’s Degree in Sociology with an emphasis on adult behavior.
Diane Gottsman

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