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Do and Don’ts for Dealing with Trick or Treaters

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

When I was growing up, there was always one house in my neighborhood that handed out popcorn balls on Halloween.  Even at a young age, I knew that popcorn balls sucked.  If you were giving away popcorn balls on my block, it was coming right back to you when I threw it in your bushes.  And I was one of the good kids, at least I had the courtesy not to hurl that crappy popcorn ball through someone’s window.

Equally as aggravating was that one self righteous neighbor who gave you a toothbrush or floss.  Sure, that pillow case full of candy had the potential to rot my teeth.  But those were baby teeth.  They all fell out anyway.  And while baby teeth typically last about 10 years, the stigma of being the biggest jerk on the street can last a lifetime.

And then there’s the health conscious neighbor who gave out apples or, worse yet, raisins.  Here’s a good rule of thumb:  if you’re plan to deliberately disappoint a large number of rabid children hopped up on sugar, it’s never a good idea to arm those little hoodlums with projectiles.  How you like dem apples?

Which is why I recommend sticking with the basics:  candy bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups.  And don’t be stingy either.  Anyone who only gives only one peanut butter cup per child is both a cheapskate and a terrible neighbor.

As an adult, I’ve seen the other side of trick or treating.  While greeting scores of adorable children is fun, it’s important to keep an eye out for any teenagers who are out terrorizing the community.  When any kid over the age of 12 comes to your door in costume, it’s entirely appropriate to warn them that you are armed with a shotgun and a bag of rock salt.  Remind those houligans that you will not hesitate to pepper them with that rock salt should they return to your house with toilet paper, eggs, or soap.  Then, as a goodwill gesture, hook them up them more candy than you give the younger kids.  After the trick or treating is over, stand guard and be vigilant.


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