Yesterday we went trick or treating as we do every year. The kids are always excited and have their costumes and face painting all planned out.
For me yesterday was a mad rush to get ready on time, as we were out for the afternoon, then nipping to the local supermarket for a quick tea idea. And as per usual, when you’re rushing, the shop’s packed, you have to queue at the tills because there aren’t enough checkouts open…. you know what I mean.
So all home, fed, and then it’s time for kids to dress up, and I do their requested face paints! Then get our littlest bat monster dressed up, Chihuahua in his skeleton costume (he loved it so much he managed to wriggle out of it after about 10 minutes). And off we went, plastic buckets in hands, into the dark Halloween evening.
The village in which we live has a brilliant attitude towards the Halloween celebration. Lots of houses are adorned with cobwebs, skeletons and spooky scary stuff enticing children to go to the front door. Some families go further and answer the door in their own creepy costumes. Last year one guy scared my 5yr old to death until I had explained about 50 times that it was just a man dressed up!(said man didn’t go quite as OTT this year I noticed). Other people just pop a bowl of sweets outside so they don’t have to bother coming to the door.
It’s a very nice warm atmosphere, quite the opposite to how Halloween should be, as local trick or treaters are young children, with grown ups accompanying them. Everyone chats and says hello and comments on how scary the kids look. We all seem to follow the rule that we can only call at the houses which have a pumpkin outside the door, or decorations up, and any without we leave them in peace.
This is a lot different from when I was young. I don’t remember doing trick or treats as a child – we dressed up for the school disco instead (with mum’s homemade bin bag cloak). But I do remember mum and dad complaining about the teenagers who didn’t dress up, knocking on every door along our street hoping they could get money instead of sweets. We never did a pumpkin but they still came, and mum always used to worry about elderly neighbours answering the door in the dark.
So I have been thinking about this and I am wondering what age is acceptable to still be trick or treating? My daughter is 10 now and enjoys dressing up with her siblings, but what about next year when she is in high school? Is she too old then? When does it come to the point when she is too old but her siblings still go?
And whilst we are walking from house to house, for me there’s a feeling of cheekiness, knocking on doors expecting a handful of sweets from the homeowner. But they do have pumpkins outside and sweets to give out.
And we all spend so much time teaching our children not to talk to strangers, not to take things from strangers, yet here we are encouraging it one night a year. Or is that ok because we as parents are with them so strangers aren’t as much as a danger then?
Seems like we send our kids a lot of mixed messages and how much do they understand?
I would love to hear your thoughts, What do you think?