Trick or treat!

We had a trick-or-treater tonight! It was a little girl with her dad. I gave her a glow-in-the-dark plastic skull full of candy, which was all I had left. (I took the rest of the party leftovers to work today.) They were nice and I turned the skeleton lights on for them, but I really wish non-American trick-or-treaters would learn that you don’t go to houses without their porch lights on! It was pure luck I had the candy. These are the unwritten rules, world! Learn them.


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  1. Why don’t you want trick-or-treater?

  2. Huh? I’m the biggest Halloween fan this side of Sydney Harbour, Anonymous. I’m just trying to make sure the children of the world do it right. They all see American TV shows and think that on October 31, you can just go up to any house and get candy. As I was telling people all day, most towns in the U.S. set specific days and hours for it. You also only go to houses with decorations and lights on. I’ve now had kids both here and in London just knocking on doors at random. Sure, I happened to be receptive, but others just might not be. (Especially the xenophobic ones who see it all as more American cultural imperialism.) I just want people to use a little common sense.

  3. wait a minute – now obviously, there are rules for what date and time trick or treating is, but i’ve never heard this light on rule. in our day, you went to any house on the street, unless they had a sign out that said they were tapped. a light on was a friendly house for kids, and a light off meant you’d probably get a trick and/or a treat. ooooOOOOOoooOoOOoo!

  4. I think it’s regional; I thought that everyone went on 10/31 after dark regardless of the day of week (that’s what we did in Conn. and VA growing up), but just found out last week that there are some states and towns that pick a day, like on the weekend before Halloween, for trick-or-treaters.

    We went to every house, too. It was only the grouches who weren’t home. It’s so different now; most kids go to the mall or local stores rather than going from house to house. We’re lucky if we get 2 or 3 kids a year. We still get a few bags of candy, though, just in case…

  5. We always trick-or-treated the night of Oct 31, and the lights rule was in effect. Light on, hit the house up for candy. Lights off, stay away, grouchy people with no candy.

  6. I have lived in 2 different regions of the US and the lights on rule is the same in both places. As for the night of when to go, I think that does vary a little bit from place to place.

  7. The community I grew up in would dictate when Beggar’s Night would be if Halloween fell on a Sunday. I think they would also change it if it fell on Thursday nights which was the night that the area churches had their youth group activities. And yes, you learned early on that only houses with lights on had any candy left.

  8. i’m from chicago and have never heard of this “lights on” rule. kristy and i would hit every single house within like a mile radius, and then we would go home and put on our little league uniforms and hit the SAME houses over again as “baseball players” (excluding our neighbors and any people who knew us). i swear, one year i had like FOUR huge kitchen sized garbage bags full. i don’t know how i don’t have diabetes. anyway, as you can see, my insane lust for “free stuff” started at an early age…

  9. Huh. I wonder if the lights-on rule was only in effect in not-so-metropolitan places. I thought it was everywhere! What did people do who didn’t want to give out candy? Go out to a movie or something?

  10. They turned up at my place last night too. All I had was a packet of cigarettes and half a bottle of wine. They just had to make do.

  11. I hear little kids prefer menthol.

  12. In the ‘burbs of Sydney they are trying to this ‘orange display’ thing. basically if you want to participate in Halloween (=give out free shit) then you have something orange out front of your house (balloons, pumpkin, etc) that way no one gets embarressed, or gets cigarettes….

  13. Ooh, that’s a good idea!

    (At Weight Watchers last night, one of the girls grumbled that “Only in Sydney would little aboriginal kids in street clothes come to your house and demand ‘ciggies or two bucks.'” Sad but true. Luckily we didn’t have any of them this year…)

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