Today is Halloween! For me, this date marks the passage from fall to winter, and it also brings back fun memories from a time when I was younger.
These days, I’m the one giving out candies from the door, and in a few more years I might be the parent with the small kid going out there and trick-or-treating.
Here are five tips to have a fun and safe Halloween:
1. Bring lots of storage space!
There is nothing more lame than having to end Halloween early because you have no more space to put candies. Keep your kids happy and bring at least one or two big garbage bags. All those candies can become quite heavy, so you might want to have a little cart, or have one person driving slowly so you can put them in the car.
If you decide to drive, drive slow and watch out for other trick-or-treaters — you may not see them in the dim lighting until its too late.
2. Don’t let your kids run wild.
The biggest danger to your kids isn’t mean or grouchy neighbours, believe it or not. In fact, the biggest danger to trick or treaters is going to be cars driving around in the street. Don’t let your kids wander in the middle of the road by themselves, as they may become the next statistic.
There are also various physical obstacles that your kids may not see, such as roped-off lawns or fallen branches in the street. You’ll have less of a chance of something bad happening if you stick to the sidewalk and keep your kids from running wild.
Giving out candies
3. Be selective in what you give out.
Fruits are definitely a no-no, due to a few bad apples, but kids aren’t going to appreciate pennies, either. In fact, too many people buy those cheap toffee candies, and kids usually end up with hundreds of them. Buying only the cheapest candies might seem like the frugal thing to do, but it’s also just plain cheap. I remember that those would be the last candies I would eat, if ever, and usually only after all the good stuff was gone.
Those small cheap bags of chips are more appreciated by kids, but I would also say they are a no-no because they take up a lot of space, and they might also burst in the bag leaving the kid unhappy and the parent with a mess to clean up later.
4. Make it fun with a theme.
I remember that the best houses to go trick-or-treating were those where people really got into it. The house would be decorated, and people would go around to the backyard where friends would jump out from bushes, or things like that. Halloween music would be playing, and the owner would give out really nice treats. These places would be the main topic the next day at school, with every kid talking about how much fun they had.
You don’t have to go this far, but if you take just 30 minutes to do a bit of decoration, your trick-or-treaters will be much happier for it.
5. Use discretion around teenagers.
Depending on where you live, Halloween can be a home owner’s worst nightmare. I used to live in an exurban area where it was almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything without a car; every Halloween, teenagers would go absolutely bat shit insane and get drunk, TP houses, throw eggs, etc… but it was worst for people living near the high school. I lived about 20 km away from the highschool, and nothing ever happened to our place or our block. If you make your place cool (see above), this is probably much less likely to happen, but otherwise, it might be best to keep an eye out for trouble!
At the same time, if you get teenager trick-or-treaters, my recommendation is to enforce a bit of order but leave them feeling happy. I made the mistake of not doing that and shut the door on a group that was being rowdy. We found our pumpkin completely smashed up the next morning. :S
So, reader, what are your own experiences with Halloween? What memories do you remember?