Halloween can be a wonderful and fun-filled time not only for the little ones, but also for adults. There are some basic etiquette rules however, that we all need to observe to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone. Here are a few essential tips on how to survive the night of fright!

Trick-or-Treating. This is truly a tradition reserved for younger children who look forward each year to dressing up in their favorite costumes and going door to door to receive unlimited amounts of sugary treats. A child who has reached the age of sixteen or seventeen should retire their pumpkin candy bag for good. Begin trick or treating at dusk while their is still some light for safety. Try not to crowd or stampede the doorways for candy. Teach your children to be patient and polite and to remember the all important “please” when they ask for a treat and “thank you” when they receive it. There is nothing like seeing a ghost or goblin at your front door with impeccable manners.

Neighborhoods. It is perfectly acceptable to travel outside one’s own neighborhood, particularly, for children who live in a hillside neighborhood without sidewalks or for children who may be living in a neighborhood that is less than child-friendly. However, if you do decide to leave your neighborhood, the next best thing is to trick-or-treat in a neighborhood that you are familiar with or that is the neighborhood of a friend. If a house is dark and all the lights are turned off, this is the unwritten signal that the family is not participating in the ritual or may not even be at home.

Costumes. As far as costumes for children, the general rule is that they be kid-friendly. Politically incorrect outfits or very scary horror costumes are not considered appropriate. Older teens and adults may choose to let their wild imagination get the best of them, however, etiquette dictates that whatever they choose, they should try to be considerate of others and their environment. Ask yourself one simple question, “Is my costume disrespectful or would it offend or scare another person at the party”? If the answer is yes, then find an alternate choice. Oftentimes, we think only about ourselves and not of others.

General Halloween Etiquette Tips. Halloween is a perfect “training” time to teach your children to take only one candy and be sure to say “thank you”. After just a few visits, your two year old will be an expert! At least one parent should accompany children up to at least the age of twelve. Make sure to speak with children about general safety rules, staying with their group, and if older, curfew time. Parents should check the treats of the younger children before they eat them. Children should never eat anything that is handmade or specially prepared (unless you know the family).