Halloween Etiquette: Questions of Eternal Significance

Oh, Halloween.

A few years ago we were at the White House for Halloween. Oh, don’t get excited; you don’t get to go inside. BUT! The Obamas did come out for us. Mrs. Obama stepped toward my oldest daughter and said, “I like that costume, girl.” And my daughter said, “Me too, girl.” Ugh. I’ve taught her better, really I have. Did you just say girl to the first lady of the United States? And did she laugh? Eh, I’m in my strapless, pink wedding dress with a tiara and wand and it’s 44 degrees. No one cares.

This year, I  have a question: if you decorate, does that mean you also “have to” give out candy? I am firmly in the camp of there’s no such thing as have to, for pretty much anything. I decorate for Halloween because I belong to the occult. I decorate for Thanksgiving, or harvest season. Does that mean random people can show up and ask for turkey? I decorate for Christmas. I’m not giving gifts to folks just showing up because I have a wreath on the door, a lit tree in the window, and a gnome in the yard that says All Welcome at Christmas. Stop being so literal.

I know those examples are beside the point of what Halloween is “supposed to” be about, but I offer this: stop telling me about supposed to. I put that in the same category as have to. This is like telling me I’m supposed to have the outside Christmas lights down by a certain time the following year, to which I scream madly HAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA. As if.

I could never live under the rules of an HOA. An overzealous HOA rep would’ve left a note about our front door color and that person would still be missing.

So, back to Halloween 2015. The middle girl ditched us, having bought a two-tone wig and found her black cloak, and went to trick-or-treat with a friend (and stay overnight; her evening was largely better than mine, I’m sure). The oldest didn’t want to dress up and I intended on being a ghost but even that seemed hard. The boy was the only one dressed up.


Reversible SpiderMan and Venom. I AM SO AWESOME FOR GETTING THIS. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m awesome regardless.

The Baptist church up the street does something called “fun night.” It’s a celebration to steer kids and parents away from the undead on Halloween. It’s perfect for those of us who don’t have a neighborhood that celebrates. (Our street only has five houses. Of those five, we are the only ones who decorate for anything. Anything. To be fair, we’re the only ones who have kids to enjoy all the fuss, too. (The neighbor beside us used to decorate for Christmas, but I (inadvertently, you judgmental cuss!) did a Martha May Whovier one year and she hasn’t pulled those bulbs out since. She also no longer speaks to us, but that’s another story.)

Anyway. We go to the fun night. We let the boy ride a pony, jump for like 45 minutes in a moonbounce until some other boy kicks him in the stomach and then it’s time to go because I’m all about retaliation, which boy was it. We let him ride tiny rides that don’t leave the ground but upset him because they don’t leave the ground. He dances. HE HAS A BALL. And it wasn’t even 6:00 yet. That’s a win. Plus cotton candy.


OK, so we’re back to the original question (thanks for sticking that out): do the decorations he and I put in the yard a week or so ago mean we have candy?



Me: No.

Husband: Yup.

Me: Stop answering.

When we left fun night, it was just getting dark. Prime trick-or-treat time. We rarely get people because remember, five houses on the block, we’re the only one decorating. We go into the house, I turn off the lights because I have no candy (to share with others) and the light off signifies no candy.

He had turned the light on.

At 8:00, the bell rings. I’m knee deep in drink number five and make no moves to the door because if you sit still long enough, the person you’re avoiding will eventually go away, unless it’s the FBI and that thing has finally come back to bite you. I wish I’d invested in one of those mechanical voices that bellows something ridiculous. And scary.

He runs up the stairs all exasperated. I’m more irritated by people choosing to ring the bell when the light is off. He opens the door and WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT IS ALL THAT LIGHT FROM, WHY IS THE LIGHT ON, WHO TURNED THE LIGHT ON, DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HALLOWEEN CANDY GIVING ETIQUETTE, I LIVE WITH MONSTERS.

He opens the door to tell them “it’s all gone” nudge nudge, wink wink. But then to my astonishment he stops midway and says, y’all are too old anyway.

Hold up. Son. Nah.

You don’t tell kids that. Teens are still kids, just older and taller and pimplier. I almost wanted to run out there with a few mini Twixes. Almost. I’m sorry, teens. If it had been me, I’d have lied better and said we were all out, hiding my 3 Musketeers-smeared fingertips.

If they come back and egg or toilet paper this house, I’m not cleaning up anything.



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