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The Do's and Don'ts of Trick-or-Treating

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

The highlight of Halloween for children is going out in their chosen Halloween costume to Trick-or-Treat, or in most cases just for the treats, as lets face it, it's all about the sweets!

To ensure that Halloween is a happy one for everyone though, there are a few rules that children (and adults) should try to adhere to...

1) No pumpkin, no trick-or-treating

The rule is, if there is no lit pumpkin, then you don't knock on a door - even if the lights are on. Be respectful that some people are not into Halloween and don't want to take part. Walk on by to the next house you find with a lit pumpkin.

2) Only knock once

If nobody answers the door, they might be otherwise engaged, so wait a minute and then move on, don't keep on knocking or ringing the doorbell

3) Respect people's property

When you are going to people's front doors, make sure that you keep to paths and you are not climbing through bushes or over fences. Remember, if you trash somebody's front garden, or break their Halloween displays, next year they are unlikely to take part again, which means less treats for you!

4) Mind your manners

Manners go a long way, so don't forget your please and thank yous' when you are getting your treats and be sure not to grab handfuls - assume one sweet, unless told otherwise, and while it is exciting, do try and be patient and wait your turn - no pushing in front of other children.

5) Check your sweet before you eat!

Only take sweets that are wrapped, never take homemade sweets, and unless you know the person well, check with an adult that they are safe to eat. If anything looks or smells suspicious, throw it away.

6) Plan your route

Having a route planned can help everyone stay together, so make sure that everyone knows the route and that you have a safe place to meet if anyone gets lost.

If your children are going trick-or-treating without you, discuss with them where they will be and set a curfew time to meet you somewhere.

7) Be seen

In the dark, and particularly while wearing dark clothing, it can be hard to be seen. Take out torches and wear flashing necklaces and bracelets or hang some reflective keyrings from your child. Not only will it help them be seen by any traffic, but you will be able to keep an eye on them better too

8) Stick together

If you are off out as a group, make sure everyone sticks together. This means that you wait for everyone in your group before moving onto the next house. Explain to your children that they have to check with your first if they want to go away from your group.

9) Make sure costumes are safe

Halloween costumes, or indeed any dressing up clothing, can be highly flammable. Always check that costumes you buy carry a UKCA or UKNI mark on the label, and as with all clothing, Halloween and fancy dress outfits should be kept away from fire, lit candles and all other naked flames.

Make sure that your child can see and breathe properly through any masks and that they are not likely to trip over their costume. Comfy shoes are also a must when pounding the streets for sweets.

10) Be aware of the time

Trick-or-treating usually starts around 5.30pm as dusk sets in and either stops when the sweets run out or it gets to 7pm/7.30pm - the time which most younger children will be in bed. You might want to impose a maximum three sweet rule when you get back, so that your child isn't having too much sugar right before bed, they will be tired and younger children perhaps overtired from all the excitement, so giving them a massive sugar spike won't be helpful.

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