It should be a fun time for every one — kids, parents and the kind folks dishing out the treats. Sadly, as the world gets less Old School this fun time is far from guaranteed. Like it does in so many other areas of life, keeping things Old School always makes it better.
A few Old School guidelines
#1 Have a script & stick to it
Listen, kid, don’t just walk up to somebody’s house and hold open your bag like a mime. In fact, do nothing that can end with the phrase “like a mime”. Say, “Trick or treat”. It’s easy. One line. Three words. That’s one more word than I had in my middle school’s production of Oklahoma. Don’t screw it up. Then say, “Thank you” and you’re outta there.
#2 NO teenagers!
If you’re thirteen or above stop it. You look like a putz. You want every Old School Man in the neighborhood labeling you a putz? They will. Save your rep. You want candy? That’s what younger siblings are for. Tell them you’re checking their bag for cooties or dolemite or something.
#3 Enforce the kids rules
Make sure your little boy or girl knows what to say (#1). And once your little guy isn’t so little, then it’s time to stop (#2).
#4 It should be at NIGHT
Listen city planner guy: Trick or treating is a night thing. Trick or treating in the afternoon is like fireworks in the afternoon. It sucks out the adventure and fun. Why neighborhoods do this is probably the same reason people declaw cats, put warning labels on shampoo and beef about the calories of movie popcorn. Afternoon trick-or-treating leads to Nancy boys. Look it up.
#5 Inter-Neighborhood Trick-or-Treating
Here’s the rule. You must have an anchor in the neighborhood. A grandparent, cousin, your kid’s best friend. Don’t visit a another neighborhood just to get better candy. Exception to the rule: if you feel you can get away with it.
#6 Exercise parental veto over inappropriate costume choices
I see a five year old walk up to my porch dressed like a cowboy. The kid even has a badge. Awesome. A little girl comes up looking like a fairy tale princess. Wonderful.
Then a nine year old walks up looking like a street walker. Sad. I want to give the kid candy and the business card of a social worker. It happens. Kim Kardashian is not a good role model or Halloween costume. I’ll say it again. Sad. That little girl doesn’t know any better. Her parents should. One more time: sad.
One more thing: go light (if at all) on the blood & gore look, especially with the younger kids.
FOR THE GIVERS OF TREATS
#7 “Fruit? Fruit? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”
Give away the good stuff. Candy. Chips. Chocolate. Stuff that rots teeth. Even the First Lady-in-Chief knew better than to preach her usual message of “healthy eating” to trick-or-treaters. Smart move, Mrs. Obama. Until there’s a convenient, workable way to give trick-or-treaters chili, give some good candy.