We’ve already started celebrating Halloween around here.
We’re lucky in that a neighborhood somewhat near us had twenty houses participate in a casein free gluten free trick or treating experience. We were invited due to Little Miss’s allergy, and it was a blast. Mister Man got to see a friend of his from preschool who he hasn’t seen in too long. It was pretty cold, but they made it through with smiles on their faces.
Starting tomorrow though, we go by my rules for Halloween.
My Top Ten Rules for Halloween:
Rule #1: We go potty before we leave the house. I’m not begging to use a random neighbor’s bathroom this year. So skeevy and gross last year.
Rule #2: I carry the candy backpack while the wee ones carry their small trick or treat sacks. After every third or fourth house, the small sacks are emptied into my backpack. It keeps my hands free and prevents whining from the wee ones that their bags are too heavy or that they spilled all over.
Rule #3: The wee ones walk on sidewalks and driveways and don’t run across yards. First, I want them to respect other people’s property. Second, it’s been raining way too much lately, and I’d prefer to avoid the mud and muck on their shoes and God only knows what else.
Rule #4: If they want to trick or treat, they do it properly. The ring the doorbell, then step back. They must say trick or treat. No grabbing allowed. After candy has been received, they must wish the homeowner Happy Halloween and say thank you. Again, it’s probably more strict than most parents, but it’s what I model for them, and it’s the level of propriety I expect. And they know it. And while they need small reminders as we go along, they pretty much know what they need to do.
Rule #5: No running ahead. Our neighborhood is a magnet for … nonresidents. Our streets are lined on both sides, filled with cars during the trick or treat hours. There are people and cars everywhere. While we have sidewalks, it’s still not the easiest thing to keep track of everyone, and I refuse to risk it. And I’ll go back to the polite thing. Mister Man’s social aptitude has increased hugely, but norms aren’t easy for him. Having the rules and understanding why they’re there help him grow his social skills, too.
Rule #6: You don’t refuse what’s offered. I have to admit that Mister Man did this at one house tonight. He was polite and said no thank you — then added that he didn’t like it. It’s trick or treating. People don’t care if you like what they’re handing out, and it hurts feelings when you refuse what they offer. Again, this is a bigger social lesson than trick or treating that I’m trying to impart.
Rule #7: Mommy has her own treat. In my neighborhood, the adults carry cups. At various stops, people will offer to refill what you’re drinking. Some have wine, some have beer, and some have Jell-O shots. And really, what other reason than this do you need to be happy living in my neighborhood?
Rule #8: Trick or treated candy is used to supplement our candy bowl. Last year, we had 462 trick or treaters (my husband graphed it in half hour increments). The vast majority of these people don’t live in our neighborhood. I can’t afford to buy candy for 462 people. Little Miss can’t eat dairy. Neither of the wee ones ingests corn syrup anymore (whenever I have control over what they’re eating). That knocks out much of the candy they collect. We sort through it when we get home and take out the “icky” candy and place it in our candy bowl to recycle for the trick or treaters who have yet to come to our home.
Rule #9: The wee ones choose as much candy as they are old. We don’t eat a lot of candy and sweets. And they don’t miss it. They love collecting it, but after that it just sits there. We now have them choose the number of pieces that matches their age. That’s what they get to keep and eat over the next week or so, and then we’re done with the candy.
Which brings me to the most important rule:
Rule #10: Whatever candy is leftover gets donated. There are so many people who have so little for various reasons. And so many people who are so grateful for just some little thing. This year, Mister Man’s school is collecting leftover candy to send to a second grader’s uncle in Iraq. He then plans to share it with his entire unit. And you know what? We’ll be contributing a pretty decent share to that shipment. I have a feeling we’ll all feel pretty good about that.
So what are your rules for Halloween?