Children out trick-or-treating. Learn about Halloween manners you need to know and your neighborhood will thrive!

Halloween is a blast for kids and adults. It’s also one of the most mischievous times of the year. While some amount of craziness is to be expected, there are a few Halloween manners you need to know.

A Little Bit of Historical Context

The whole “trick or treat” concept has a pretty interesting history and apparently, manner at times were lacking! Back in the early 20th century, Halloween had more of a rebellious side to it.

Back in the day, kids would get into trouble for playing pranks like tipping over outhouses and soaping windows. “Trick or treat” was like a playful way of saying, “Hey, give us some treats, or we might just pull a messy trick on you!”

As Halloween has evolved over the years, so have our manners. Now days, It’s all about respecting our neighbors and keeping things fun and safe. While most kids aren’t out tipping over outhouses, there are some things we can keep in mind to be considerate of each other on Halloween.

A trick or treat sign placed like a road sign.

Trick-or-Treat Manners

Trick-or-treating is the cumulation of fun in October! Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when headed out in the neighborhoods.

Time it right

Trick-or-treating is not an all night open candy buffet. It’s important to respect your neighbors by not ringing doorbells too early or too late.

Read The Room

Many households choose not to participate in trick-or-treating. If you see a “No Candy” sign or a dark house, be respectful and move on to the next one.

Don’t be greedy

When offered a bowl of candy, instruct your children to only take only one piece to ensure there’s enough for everyone. (Inflation is hitting people’s candy budget these days along with everything else)

Show a little gratitude

Always encourage your children to say “thank you” after receiving candy. People who have taken the time to purchase treats and wait for trick-or-treaters deserve a little gratitude!

Children dressed up for Halloween.

Costume Considerations

Costumes are a big part of Halloween. Dressing up is one of the highlights of the holiday! Unfortuantley, sometimes wearing certain costumes can lead to contraversy. In order to avoid unnessesary drama, consider the following:

Keep it appropriate

Ensure your costume is age-appropriate and does not offend or scare young children unnecessarily. Halloween should be fun, not traumatizing.

Avoid cultural appropriation

Be sensitive to cultural and ethnic differences when choosing a costume. Avoid costumes that may perpetuate stereotypes or offend others.

Costume choices for kids

Help your kids choose costumes that are safe and comfortable. Make sure masks do not obstruct vision, and costumes should be flame-resistant.

Skeleton's covering their ears, mouth, and eyes.

What to do if you are offended someone else’s Halloween costume

Let’s say you come across someone’s Halloween costume that really rubs you the wrong way. It happens, and it can be a bit awkward!

First, take a deep breath and reflect on why it’s bothering you. Understanding your feelings is key because it helps you articulate your concerns better.

Once you’ve got your thoughts in order, if you feel comfortable, approach the person wearing the costume in a friendly manner. You could say something like, “Hey, I wanted to chat with you about your costume. I found it a bit offensive because…”

Try to use “I” statements to express your feelings without sounding confrontational. Sometimes, people don’t realize the impact of their choices, and having a civil conversation can be enlightening for both parties.

The goal here is not to attack but to educate and encourage empathy. It’s an opportunity to promote a more inclusive and respectful Halloween celebration for everyone.

What to do if YOUR Halloween costume offends someone else

First and foremost, when someone lets you know they’re upset or uncomfortable with your costume, take a moment to really listen to what they’re saying. It’s important to understand why they feel that way and show empathy for their perspective.

Remember, it’s not about you being a “bad person”; it’s about recognizing the impact your costume choice had on someone else.

If you intended no harm with your costume and it was a misunderstanding, you can gently explain your original intentions, just remember to be open about receiving feedback.

Once you’ve understood their point of view, offer a genuine and heartfelt apology. Let them know that you’re sorry for any hurt or discomfort your costume may have caused.

Cute Halloween decorations.

Decorating Manners

Decorating for halloween is a great time for people to have fun and show their creativity! However, some decorations can be terrifying for younger children or downright offensive. Here are a few things to think about:

Avoid Excessive Violence and Gore

While some Halloween enthusiasts enjoy creating extensive displays, it’s crucial to be mindful of the age and comfort level of your audience. Excessive violence and gore in decorations can be distressing for young children and sensitive individuals. Opt for spooky and fun decorations rather than extremely graphic or gruesome scenes.

Respect Cultural Sensitivities

Keep in mind that Halloween is celebrated differently in various cultures, and some individuals may have cultural or religious sensitivities to certain themes or symbols. Be respectful and considerate of your neighbors’ diverse backgrounds.

Safety First

Ensure that your decorations don’t pose safety hazards for trick-or-treaters or pedestrians. Secure props and decorations to prevent them from falling, and avoid obstructing pathways or walkways.

Communicate with Neighbors

If you plan to have more elaborate decorations, consider discussing your plans with your neighbors in advance. This can help address any concerns and ensure that everyone is comfortable with the Halloween atmosphere in the neighborhood. There have been recent stories in the news about decor that was so realistic, neighbors called the police fearing violent crimes had occurred!

What Should You DO If Your Neighbors Halloween Display Is Offensive or too Violent/Gory?

If you find your neighbor’s Halloween display offensive or excessively violent/gory, it’s important to address the situation respectfully and constructively. Start by having a polite conversation with your neighbors.

Hopefully, a respectful conversation makes things better, but if it doesn’t, you can also reach out to your neighborhood association or homeowners’ association. They may have guidelines or regulations regarding Halloween decorations that your neighbors need to follow.

Keep An Eye On Your Teens

When it comes to Halloween, keeping an eye on your teenagers is all about striking a balance between allowing them to have fun and ensuring their activities are responsible and respectful.

While pranks like egging, toilet papering, or smashing pumpkins might seem harmless, they can lead to unintended consequences and potential trouble.

Make Other Plans

Consider suggesting alternative activities that are fun for teens. Hosting a Halloween party at home can be a fantastic idea. Another great option is organizing a group outing to a haunted house or a Halloween-themed event.

Final Thoughts

Halloween is all about fun, creativity, and community. By observing Halloween manners, such as being considerate while trick-or-treating, choosing costumes thoughtfully, and respecting neighbors with decorations, we can ensure that this holiday remains a fun and inclusive experience for everyone!

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