Boo! Bad Form on Trick or Treat Street

Another Halloween is over, so we can get back to important things like getting ready for Christmas. If we’re lucky, there will be only one more interruption, namely that quaint US American holiday “Thanksgiving” when we get together as families, pretend we don’t hate each other, and participate in two activities that best represent our greatness as a nation– stuffing ourselves with food, and watching emulated blood sports on TV. Eleven months from now the armies of the War on Halloween will be surging and these comments will be available to anyone who cares to read them.

We could complain about religious warfare in the trenches of our kindergartens and primary schools. Is Halloween a pagan celebration? Is it satanist? Is it Christian? (That’s not a dumb question because Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Eve, or the day before All Saints Day). The subtleties of the religious arguments are way too demanding for one with an All Hallows Hangover, so we’ll focus on what we can intellectually cope with– the real meaning of Halloween, which is… TRICK-OR-TREATing.

Sure, it’s an exercise in naked greed and naughtiness, but dammit there are rules. Violating the time-honored if unwritten rules is simply bad form. For example:

Bad form: Sitting in your car with the engine idling to watch your kids go up to the door and beg for candy.Worse form: Driving your kids to a better neighborhood than your own so they can beg for a better quality treat than your poor neighbors can come up with.

Bad form: Pushing your 18-month-old child from door to door in a stroller, and begging for treats on her behalf.

Bad form: Just standing there and not saying “trick-or-treat,” so the adult answering the door has to ask what you want.

Worse form: Replying “We want some candy.”

Bad form: Examining what you have been given before saying “Thank you” in a voice dripping with sarcasm.

Worse form: Liking what you see and asking for more.

Bad form: Going to the door with your teenage children, whether you are wearing a costume or not.

Worse form: Holding out your own goody bag.

Worstest form: Not bothering to interrupt your cell-phone conversation long enough to say “trick-or-treat” or even “thank you.”

In the hope that next year’s event might go a little more smoothly, we’ve prepared a script for your convenience…

1. Child knocks on door or rings bell… once.

2. Homeowner opens door and feigns astonishment that there is a witch, or goblin, or Darth Vader, on his doorstep.

3. Child utters the magic words “Trick or Treat!”

4. Homeowner gushes “Oh look at you,” or “Oh my goodness,” or some similar appreciation of the child’s costume.

5. Child presents container and homeowner deposits one or more treats.

6. Child says “thank you” and homeowner replies “you’re welcome.”

7. Child and homeowner wish each other a “Happy Halloween” and retire to prepare for the next transaction.

Improvisation is fine, but any serious departure from the script, or omission of its key elements, is just… bad form.

What do you think? Please enter a comment below.

One Response to “Boo! Bad Form on Trick or Treat Street”

  1. Phiafly Says:

    Believe it or not, Australia officially adopted this ridiculous American tradition in 2007. I’d guess that 95% of Australians have no idea as to the origin of Halloween or it’s relevance (if any). We had numerous assaults on the night. It seems Australians are adverse to beggers in strange clothing demanding “candy” in the middle of the night.

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