Five Rules For The Jackholes Trying To Ruin Halloween

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Can we not suck the fun out of Halloween?

Can we have one day? One day where it’s just about having fun and there are no guidelines or parameters or judgement or rules?

I’ve been hearing plenty of grumbling on both mainstream and social media. Things that annoy people about Halloween. “Rules” for trick or treating.

There’s been an abundance of people who seem to have a stick up their candy bowl.

They have been lamenting the kids who trample their grass, don’t ask politely for candy. The ones who take the candy and don’t say thank you. People who wonder at the wisdom of giving candy when more kids are overweight. Remember the lady who handed out fat shaming letters to trick or treaters? And there are people who think it’s their job to determine how old is too old for trick or treating.

As a public service and as a person who loves this holiday, I am going to share some thoughts.

Halloween is supposed to be the bad-ass holiday. It’s about being scary. It’s about being scared. It’s about running around in the dark. It’s about playing pranks, having fun. It’s supposed to be harmless mayhem. I don’t want to see Halloween morph into some nauseating Elf On the Shelf type of watered-down cuteness. I don’t want the pre-planned manufactured fun borne of Martha Stewart and Pinterest. Let’s not ruin Halloween.

On behalf of those who like this holiday and aren’t mean fun-sucking candy haters, I’d like to share a few of my “rules.”

1. Turn Off the Lights This one’s really simple, you don’t have to participate. You can turn off your porch light. In fact, if kids and their seeking of candy really bother you, I’m going to ask that you turn off your lights, close your blinds and go to bed because it sounds like you could really use a good night’s sleep.

2. This Ain’t No Disco. And It Ain’t No Country Club. And it’s not a dog and pony show. This is not an exhibition in which kids curtsy and look cute and act proper and display their good grooming and well-appointed manners. It’s not a test in ettiquete or in ANYTHING. Even the most well-disciplined well mannered kids will possibly- nay probably- forget a “Thank you” in their haste and excitement to run off to the next house. Don’t take it personally. Really, it’s not about you. They’re just excited, mkay?

3. You Can’t Guess No One’s Age So Don’t Even Try. Don’t be coy. You know what I’m talking about. The big kids. You know, the ones with a five o’clock shadow and awkward gangly limbs? They travel in packs. They mumble. They look at the ground when talking to you. They look like they might be too old for such childish antics. I’m going to try to appeal to your sympathies as someone who once went through this yourself. Please understand that the kid with the mustache might only be 13. The girl with the ample bosom may only be 12. Kids this age are impossible to identify by age. I dare you to go to any middle school or high school and try.

They are going through the most confusing and awkward period of adolescence. Their brains are sucked dry by the hormones that are running roughshod over their whole existence. They are uncomfortable in their own skin and they probably debated about even going trick or treating. They are at that stage where they still want to be a kid and have fun, but know it might not be cool. So don’t make them feel completely uncool by sneering or asking their age or refusing them candy. Even if they’re not dressed up. They may not have planned on going trick or treating. They may have had their friends knock on their door at the last minute pulling them out of the house. Let them have this. That kid that looks like he could be changing the oil on your car may be still watching Sponge Bob and cuddling on the couch with his parents. Don’t make him think he’s too old for any of it.

4. Kids From Other Neighborhoods ARE Allowed. I honestly can’t believe I have to even say this….

But we cannot segregate Halloween and trick or treating by class or by race or by neighborhood.

If you are bothered by “others” encroaching on your precious ‘hood, then I am going to politely point out that you might be an asshole.

And by this I mean that your head is so far up your McMansion that you may need to seek professional help.

I live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and houses close together. Around our ‘hood? It’s largely rural. We have carloads and vans that drop their kids off to trick or treat. From (gasp!) other neighborhoods. We have to buy insane amounts of candy to give out. I’ve heard grumbles from some. But those grumbles are drowned out by the rest of us. By most of us. You know, the ones having fun. The ones who don’t care where a kid is from. Those elitist whiners are muffled by the all of the houses that put on interactive displays in their front yards. By the neighbors that go to a lot of trouble and time and expense to put on haunted houses in their garages. By the parents that sit at the end of their driveway and chat with the adults passing by. Sometimes handing a cold beer to a weary parent. By the people that want others to enjoy the holiday, no matter where they’re from. If all of this welcoming and camaraderie is disturbing to you, please see Rule # 1.

5. There Are No Rules. Yes. There are no rules. Other than the basic rules of conduct. Like no vandalism or stealing. Rules that don’t even need to be stated because they should be an intrinsic part of being a decent human being. Rules like don’t judge parents or kids based on where they’re from and if they belong on your doorstep. Rules like don’t be mean to a growing kid. Basic civility and decorum. Try it. Try having no expectations and just go with it. Have fun. Laugh with the kids. Laugh and chat with the adults. You may find yourself enjoying Halloween more than ever.

Me? I love Halloween. I’ll be painting my kids’ faces, helping them with their costumes. I’ll be managing a sleepover of 4 teen age boys who want to play video games and watch horror movies. And I’ll be scrambling to help them piece together last minute costumes when they decide to go out to “just a few houses.” I’ll be lecturing them about being respectful and letting the little ones go first. I’ll be holding my breath hoping that ALL of my kids, younger and older, listen to their Mama and do right.

I’ll be enjoying all of the adorable kids, younger and older, who end up on my doorstep. I’ll visit a few of the haunted houses in my ‘hood. At some point I’ll put a giant bowl of candy on my porch with a little sign asking the kids to take just two. And I’ll do this knowing that some kid is going to dump the whole bowl in their bag. That’s ok. I’m not gonna sweat it.

I’ll be down at my neighbor’s. I heard they’re passing out cold beers.

23 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Old Road Apples and commented:
    This is my favorite of all the posts I’ve read this week. Ms. Kelly’s thoughts eerily track my own: we live at the end of a street, with a gauntlet of old, grumpy people between us and the next cluster of participating houses–I WISH parents would bring their kids to our house. For too many Trick Or Treaters they judge it not worth the time to walk all the way down to our sole beacon of plenty. Sigh. We keep trying to draw them in, though–this year: a strobe light.

    Best Halloween moment ever: a middle-aged guy about three blocks over from us, dressed like a zombie redneck, brandishing a chain saw (with no chain), engine roaring, chasing parents and children up and down the street.

    Worst: I was a 5’9, 170lb 11-year old. The last year I made the rounds (1978) I caught so much abuse from people…my, aren’t you a little old? I was crying by the time I gave up and went home. As cool as it was in later years, being a sort of giant sucked that year. Now, I never say that sort of thing to kids…

    …because even it they are a little old, it’s important to remember that behind every over-aged trick or treater is a Dad, waiting at home, for just one more year of candy bags to pillage after the kids go to bed. Again, sigh.

    And then there were the teenaged girls who ended up on our porch two or three years back, tall and busty in high heels and Fredericks of Hollywood lingerie, too much make-up, and seriously full bags of candy. What are you guys supposed to be?

    “I’m a prostitute,” the first one said, smirking.

    Her associate shrugged, “I’m just a slut.”

    Good enough. I’m ashamed to say that the subversive part of me suppressed the conscientious parent, and I laughed. They each got a few extra pieces of chocolate.

    And there is one rule on my porch: you have to say it, and you have to say it LOUD.

    Not please, or even thank you, though I always appreciate manners. What I need to hear is TRICK OR TREAT!!!! That shit needs to be deafening, or I’m going to make you say it again.

    Like

  2. First of all, Frak Yes! Best post I’ve read this week. My responses, in no particular order: we live at the end of a street, with a gauntlet of old, grumpy people between us and the next cluster of participating houses–I WISH parents would bring their kids to our house. For too many Trick Or Treaters they judge it not worth the time to walk all the way down to our sole beacon of plenty. Sigh. We keep trying to draw them in, though–this year: a strobe light.

    Best Halloween moment ever: a middle-aged guy about three blocks over from us, dressed like a zombie redneck, brandishing a chain saw (with no chain), engine roaring, chasing parents and children up and down the street.

    Worst: I was a 5’9, 170lb 11-year old. The last year I made the rounds (1978) I caught so much abuse from people…my, aren’t you a little old? I was crying by the time I gave up and went home. As cool as it was in later years, being a sort of giant sucked that year. Now, I never say that sort of thing to kids…

    …because even it they are a little old, it’s important to remember that behind every over-aged trick or treater is a Dad, waiting at home, for just one more year of candy bags to pillage after the kids go to bed. Again, sigh.

    And then there were the teenaged girls who ended up on our porch two or three years back, tall and busty in high heels and Fredericks of Hollywood lingerie, too much make-up, and seriously full bags of candy. What are you guys supposed to be?

    “I’m a prostitute,” the first one said, smirking.

    Her associate shrugged, “I’m just a slut.”

    Good enough. I’m ashamed to say that the subversive part of me suppressed the conscientious parent, and I laughed. They each got a few extra pieces of chocolate.

    And there is one rule on my porch: you have to say it, and you have to say it LOUD.

    Not please, or even thank you, though I always appreciate manners. What I need to hear is TRICK OR TREAT!!!! That shit needs to be deafening, or I’m going to make you say it again.

    This is absolutely a repost. Thanks for writing it.

    Like

    1. OK, here’s how you draw them in. Full size candy bars. It’s expensive but they will come. I don’t do it, I have to spend about $100 as it is on candy, but a house up the street does and all the kids know about it and that’s the first place they stop.

      Sigh… I feel for the “big” kids. My daughter is only 12 but could easily pass for a college student. Honestly, I don’t get why people care. I love to see all the teens out trick or treating. They usually have the best and funniest costumes. (again, we get a lot of teens because of the full size candy bars up the street).

      The girls dressed up like hookers? Eh. That kind of stuff really doesn’t bother me all that much. Not if they are older. The little girls in “slutty” costumes? That disturbs me on many levels.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny you say this. I used to live in a “transitional neighborhood” in Pittsburgh, before the hipster revolution, and one year, when the Clark Candy Company went up for sale, we were able to buy full sized Clark bars for .20 each. I bought 10 cases of 24 bars. We started handing them out, and about a half hour into it a huge group of teenagers in Bloods colors, several armed openly, appeared out of the dark and pretty much surrounded us. We left the candy on the porch and retreated behind our barred windows–pretty much the only time I ever felt endangered. The next day our neighbors actually chastized me just for doing trick or treat and called me a “stupid, silly white boy.” I live in a college town now, tree-lined streets and all that comes with it, so we give out heaping handfulls of chocolates, but not full-sized bars.

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  3. Don’t give out religious tracts instead of candy! Either you embrace the holiday and give out candy, or you don’t believe in the holiday and pray quietly for our salvation. Period.

    Now, as a non-candy giver-outer because I am too tired by the time I get home and usually forget to buy candy anyway: do not bang on my door if the lights are off on the porch AND downstairs because you can see my car in the parking lot. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Yes! You are cracking me up! And for REAL, everyone needs to know the porch lights off rule. When I had a baby sleeping and some kids would ring my doorbell at 9:00 at night when my lights were off I was not too happy. I still gave them candy, I figured it probably wasn’t their fault, they were probably clueless…

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  4. Is this like a big city vs small town thing? Cause where I live, there are only *so many* neighborhoods, so everyone goes everywhere and tries to avoid moose. I’m not joking.

    This year, for the first time, our church and the town are collaborating and making an outdoor event in the park with candy and games and an outdoor movie. I’m probably gonna make popcorn til I die. So excited. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I dress up just to hand out candy, because the kids love it more when they see an “adult” (quotations because I’m legally an adult, but I consider myself an old kid haha!) dressing up just for the hell of it! Keep on rocking that Halloween spirit, we all need some:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! I love to see adults dressed up too! My step dad always dressed up and it made Halloween so much more festive for us kids. He would decorate the house and have spooky music playing, it was awesome. I might dress up for Trick or Treating this year too, if I can get my act together.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That does sound fun! My mom and I watch old “scary” monster movies from like the 30s – 60s (where you can see the zippers on costumes and the strings holding up the UFOs) and it really gets me in the mood for the holiday!

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  6. Damn straight, bitches!! We take all comers and are glad to have them for one night as I sit around my firepit in my cow costume getting shitfaced drunk. Have fun! BTW, you and girl child look beautiful in your cover picture thingy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thank you Don! That picture has deep meaning that kind of inspired me to start writing again. Maybe I should write a blog post about it…

      I think I’m gonna need to see pictures of Don the shit faced cow… that sounds like something that needs to be shared with your blogging community. My daughter wants me to dress up for Halloween night. Maybe I’ll be a drunk blogger… I think I can pull that off.

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    2. Don, I don’t know you and until now I’ve never read your blog–heading over soon–but with just this comment you’ve become a hero of mine. I’m ashamed to admit that it never once occurred to me to get soused for Trick or Treat. I’m amending the candy shopping list to include a fifth of Crown. That little purple velvet bag is perfect for a holiday–I can stuff it full of Kit Kat bars.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Junk, you won’t be disappointed. Don is hilarious and also seriously talented. And I’m glad you are going to be able to have some fun imbibing whilst Trick or Treating! Halloween’s for us too, ya know?

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  7. A. Men. Sistah. We have a nearby church that does a “treats not tricks” thing every year where the entire church is a maze and it ends in a recreation room with carnival games and usually some special attraction with hot chocolate and coffee and cookies and chairs for the adults. The line goes around the building and hundreds of kids from everywhere visit. The second year I walked up to the door greeter and tried to quietly hand him a donation. He handed it back and said thank you – this is something we want to do. Please come in and enjoy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s so cool. A lot of my neighbors really get into Halloween and go all out. My neighbors across the street from me put on a haunted house with professional actors and professional costumes/makeup. It’s amazing. And we have the Skeletons that do the different stunts every day on another neighbor’s porch. (Instagram Baxter Skeletons, it’s amazing what they do). I love that so many people get into it and do it just to make Halloween cool for everyone else! We don’t go all out. We will be sitting at the end of the driveway with some beer though, so there’s that.

      Liked by 1 person

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