8 Easy Ways Kids Can Use Manners (Even During Trick or Treat)

8 Easy Ways Kids Can Use Manners Even During Trick or Treat

First of all, we need a proper introduction, don’t you think? Trick or Treat, I’d like you to meet our friend Polite Kids 101. Polite Kids 101, this is Trick or Treat. He’s a huge part of the Halloween scene and we’d like you two to be friends and play nicely, okay?

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to be really honest. I think Halloween is a tricky holiday. Don’t you? (And seriously, no pun intended!) I find that folks either love it or hate it. It can be really polarizing, and whichever side a person leans toward, they certainly don’t mind letting you know their super strong feelings about it! Like I said, tricky. 

In the US alone in 2014, consumers went trick or treat crazy, spending a whopping $7.4 billion on the holiday (1)

Halloween-happy families that LOVE the holiday adorn their yards, houses, cars, children, and pets with everything orange, black and pumpkin-y. Fake cobwebs are draped on their bushes, witches fly through their trees and their yards are outfitted with graves, skeletons, and mummies.

Last year these self-proclaimed lovers of Halloween spent $2.79 billion on costumes and another $2.33 billion purchased trick or treat candy (2).

Yes, it’s a seriously, scary/fun event for die hard fans of Halloween.

But while some families LOVE it, there are other families that are not such fans. These families often love autumn and all the fun fall activities, but they HATE Halloween and wish they could by-pass October 31st all together and make a beeline for Thanksgiving.

These folks avoid the ghost and goblin aisles in stores and purposefully change the drive through the neighborhood to avoid yards with sinking zombie man, possessed hanging girl, and life-sized spell casting witch. (Oh yes, these are actual names of real decorations. Pleasant. Really brings up the property values don’t you think?)

And, while we’re at it, let’s give a shout-out to the “in-betweeners.” They fancy light participation in the holiday by referencing the season as the Fall Harvest Time. They may enjoy trick or treat at the local mall or go to a church’s “trunk or treat” activity where participants dress in non-scary costumes and parade from car to car in the parking lot, receiving candy and well wishes. And let’s not forget an in-betweener favorite: a good old-fashioned fall harvest party, complete with games like bobbing for apples, pop goes the pumpkin, and doughnuts on a string.8 Easy Ways Kids Can Use Manners Even During Trick or Treat

True confessions time: I’ve spent time in all of the camps on this particular debate.

When I was a child, I loved and participated in trick or treat activities with my siblings and friends. Our little Mayberry-esque town of Davis, Oklahoma put on a super-fun Halloween carnival where I learned how to walk in a circle to win a cake (because that’s a thing) and bounce a ping pong ball into a styrofoam cup of water to win a gold fish. (My mom clamped down on the goldfish haul after I won 5 in one night! Guess I had really perfected my game by that year.)

When I became a parent, I shied away from the scary side of Halloween activities and played up the Harvest angle with my kids. It wasn’t always easy but was totally doable and aligned more with my family’s needs.

Here’s the bottom line, though: whether your family goes-all-out for Halloween, chooses light participation, or does not participate at all, we all have to get along. That means that manners matter for ALL involved.

Here are 8 Mannerly Tips families should know so you won’t be penalized for tricking when you’re treating:

Trick or Treat Manners for a Happy Halloween

Street Manners

Tell your kids to stay out of the street. If sidewalks are available, use them. If sidewalks aren’t available, follow these safety rules when walking in the street. If you’re driving on Halloween night, please use caution and watch for pedestrians.

Keep Your Halloween Costumes Appropriate

Pick an appropriate halloween costume and other trick or treat manners at the link!Consider the younger eyes in your neighborhood when helping your older kids pick out Halloween costumes.

Some halloween costumes are way over-the-top scary and really aren’t appropriate (much less appreciated) in a neighborhood full of little kids.

My 3 year old granddaughter doesn’t really need to see a hatchet coming out of your 13 year old’s head or other terrifying, nightmarish, or macabre costumes. There are plenty of unobjectionable, harmless, wholesome, and fun costumes available. Encourage them to use their creativity and imaginations in a more positive direction, please.

Yard Manners

Basic yard manners dictate: don’t allow your kids to trample through a person’s yard. Period. Even if it’s closer to go through the grass, don’t do it. It’s rude and disrespectful. And please be especially careful of flower beds!

One Treat Per House

Remind your kids to not be greedy. Goodness knows, there’s plenty of candy to go around! Tell your kids that if a bowl of candy is set out, it is not to signal a free-for-all. They may take one piece each and move along to the next house.

Say Thank You

Remind your kids to say a hearty thank you after each and every treat. It shows kindness and is always the right thing to do. Snatching the candy and running off, while tempting, is terribly rude. Grabby trick or treat kids make for crabby neighbors. Have you ever had this happen to you? Then you know what I mean.

What to Do with Trash

Use your Halloween Manners this October. Find out how at the link!Seriously, do I even have to say this? It happens a lot, so I guess it’s worth repeating: Do not allow your kids to throw used candy wrappers in the neighborhood yards.

You could remind them that their neighbors’ kindness just got them some free candy. To turn around and disrespect that neighbor’s yard with candy wrappers is just not fair to them. Plus, you might want to keep your kids from eating candy until it’s been inspected at home for safety reasons.

If they do eat candy on the run, simply have them keep the empty candy wrappers inside their trick or treat bags so you can discard them later at home. Easy peasy!

No Pranks, Please

The fun with trick or treat is dressing up and getting free candy. Pulling silly pranks is unnecessary. Communicate with older kids that pranks will not be tolerated and could jeopardize their trick or treat activities.

Scaring other kids who are out to trick or treat, knocking on a door and then hiding, or ringing a door bell over and over (and over)? That just plain isn’t fun and it could upset homeowners — especially those with small babies, elderly, people with special needs, and um, ANYONE AT ALL. Not that it’s ever happened to me. Ahem.

If Lights Are Out, Trick or Treat is Over

Typically, trick or treating goes from early dusk until 8:00-9:00 pm. The universal signal for no more candy is hysterical crying no porch light on. Don’t knock or ring the doorbell when the porch light is out because that’s their way of telling you that along with Elvis, the treats have left the building.

Did I leave anything out? What do you wish trick or treat participants knew? Leave a comment below! Be safe, have fun, and remember your manners!

READ NEXT: 50 Fun Family Fall Activities

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About Julie Hunt
I’ve lived a full life with many unimaginable joys and heartache like you wouldn’t believe. Our blog exists to encourage folks to slow down, chill out, and love more.

5 thoughts on “8 Easy Ways Kids Can Use Manners (Even During Trick or Treat)”

  1. There have been a time or two (or probably more!) when we were out Trick-or-treating with the kids that I found myself thinking “oh no they just ran across another yard” or wondering if the kids had remembered to say Thank You at the door. Thanks for the reminder. This year we will go through the ground rules ahead of time, just to be sure they don’t get too enthusiastic and forget their manners.
    I am co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty link party this month and would love to have you stop by for a visit. The current party runs through Monday night. http://alaynascreations.co/2015/10/23/home-matters-linky-party-60/

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Ooh, thanks, Alayna! I’ll check it out now. 🙂 It sounds like you’re doing a great job teaching manners to your kids!

  2. Sahana says:

    These are some advice to know before trick or treating. Thank you for linking up with us at #HomeMattersParty. We would love to have you again next week.

    1. Sahana says:

      *Great advice 🙂

    2. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

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