After every Halloween, we are all left wishing we did things differently. So why not make resolutions to improve for next year? Follow Modern Manners Guy’s 3 tips for the best Halloween ever.
Every New Year's Eve people look back on the year that was and figure out how to improve for the upcoming year. However, New Year’s isn’t the only holiday that should encourage resolutions. After taking my daughter and son trick or treating recently, I realized that there are some Halloween resolutions I need to put into action.
Sponsor: With lynda.com, you can learn software, business, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Try lynda.com free for 7 days by visiting lynda.com/manners.
On Halloween night, our neighborhood was inundated with kids of all ages dressed in costumes that would rival any Comic-Con. As my little daughter and her friends scampered up to different houses treating every piece of candy like it was gold, I took notes of changes that I wished for next year. From the kids that were way too old to trick or treat, to the house that didn't want to participate, to that one kid's costume that made him completely immobile, Halloween resolutions are definitely called for. So check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for Halloween Resolutions:
Halloween Resolution #1: The Improper Costume
As a parent, there is nothing more fun than dressing your child up for Halloween; whether a princess, a superhero, or a fluffy barnyard animal, the costume is really more fun for you than it is for them. (“Puh-lease, can we just take one more picture of you?!?!”) Good luck with that one.
Some parents tend to go overboard with the costume creations though, just for the sake of having the most original one out there. For example, I saw a 6-year-old dressed as a box of crayons. He was so cute and everyone was in awe of his costume. Sure it was unique, but when you got closer, it was clear that the blue look on his face was not just because he was that particular crayon in the box (the red, green, and yellow were the sides). He looked miserable! He could hardly walk, the cardboard was cutting into his legs and arms, and one time, sadly, he got knocked over by a heard of kids that couldn't avoid his 4-foot-wide crayon box. So there he was, lying flat on the chilly grass, helpless until his dad came over to rescue him, as the other kids ran past him to get candy.
I'd like to say that this was a one-time thing, but I happened to see this particular child throughout the night, moving at a snail's pace with tears rushing down his blue face. Good costume in theory, bad costume in reality.
As I said, I totally get that you want to have fun with your kids on Halloween, but please be realistic. Sure, his costume stood out and made the other kids high five him as they ran by, but that was about the only interaction this child had with his peers on Halloween night. He couldn't even walk up one step to get to the porch and ring the bell because his knees couldn't bend. If you want to take pictures in that awesome costume you made, then invite some kids over to the house beforehand and have a little pre-gamer with some snacks to show off your great costume and take pictures.
However, when it comes time for the actual trick or treating, stick to a costume the child can move in. If there is one thing I learned from this past Halloween is that kids need to be able to move fast in their costumes. Some of the older kids consider October 31st as an every-man-for-himself kind of event. I had to grab my daughter and get her out of the way several times to make sure she didn't get trampled. It’s not so easy to avoid this sort of calamity when your child is wearing a costume that is bigger than their entire body, like my dear crayon box friend. Stick to something fun, but make sure it's functional.
Halloween Resolution #2: Timing Is Everything
As I’ve said in many earlier Modern Manners Guy episodes, timing is critical for pretty much everything in life—and Halloween is no exception. You have to know the neighborhood you're going to and keep it reasonable. For example, my family headed out with a bunch of my daughter's preschool classmates. With little kids, you have to start things early. It's the one reason that we go out for dinner at 5pm these days, taking full advantage of the early bird special. But doing things earlier or at off times for our kids’ schedules is a part of life that we've adapted to over the years.
However, for some reason, many trick or treaters don't quite get the idea. After we were already back home, and the kids were in bed, I could still see rogue trick or treaters hunting my neighborhood like cat burglars. There were knocks on doors at all hours, cars pulling up into the neighborhood to dump packs of kids out to fetch more candy, and even some kids on bicycles racing to beat others to the houses. Am I the only one who thinks that trick or treating should be time sensitive? How much candy can one kid possibly eat anyway? I understand the adventure of getting as much candy as possible, but it's highly improper to think that people should be disturbed from their evening just because you were late to their house.
I'm not trying to be a Halloween downer but let's be serious, folks: proper timing for trick or treating is a must. Not only is it rude to continually bother people late at night for that tiny pack of gum balls, but it’s also is rude to assume that your neighbors owe your kids something simply because you didn't bother to take them out at a reasonable hour. Plus, by 8pm, I'm pretty much tapped out of whatever candy I had, so these latecomers are just wasting heir (and my) time. Trick or treating starts when it gets dark, or even earlier for the little ones, so if you drop off your kids into a neighborhood late, don't be upset when there is no candy left. Be considerate of others and don’t wait until the last minute to ring their doorbell for that last bite-sized Milky Way.
Halloween Resolution #3: Cool it With the Scary
For the record, I love being scared and scaring people. I had a college roommate who was so skittish that every time anyone would tap him on the shoulder, he'd jump. So, being obnoxious college kids, my friends and I took full advantage of sneaking up on him while he was on his computer and giving him a scare. It was always a good laugh. So, when I see people doing their best to frighten kids on Halloween, I can appreciate the holiday spirit.
However, sometimes people get a little carried away. It's one thing to jump out and yell “Boo!” it's quite another to jump out, yell “Boo!” wave a blood-drenched sword in someone's face and then continue to hound them as they cry in fear. That, my friends, is overboard. Case in point: Just this past Halloween, one of my neighbors dressed up as a mass murderer, jumped out from behind a tree, and then chased – yes, chased – kids around his yard. I watched kid after kid burst into tears and run to their parents.
So if you're going to scare the neighborhood kids on Halloween, set some limits. For example, don't hunt them down like a madman! The purpose of spooking someone is to have fun, not put them into therapy at an early age. As well, when the child is obviously not enjoying your prank, drop it. Take off the mask, tell them you're sorry and offer amends (candy usually works). Making a child cry in fear is not a sign of success, it's a sign of immaturity. Stick the basics, Mr. Grown Adult Who Should Know Better. Plus, if you make my kid cry, I promise you, I have some rather unique "tricks" up my sleeve. Happy Halloween!
Do you have a great story about a Halloween gone wrong? Post all the details in the comment section below or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.
As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.