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Halloween etiquette, anyone?

Posted: Friday, Nov 2nd, 2012

Herald Correspondence

I think the people of Evanston need a gentle reminder of Halloween trick-or-treating etiquette.

If the house you want to trick-or-treat at does not have a porch light on, that means that person does not intend to participate in the giving away of candy to trick-or-treaters.

This could be for many reasons. Maybe they are elderly and cannot get up and down stairs or out of a chair easily. Perhaps they do not have any candy to pass out. It’s possible they do not celebrate Halloween for religious reasons. It could be that they have a sleeping baby they do not want awakened by the ringing of the door or a knock.

Or, maybe that person is a sex offender and by law cannot — and should not — have trick-or-treaters coming to their home. If you do go to a house with the light off, and no one answers when you ring the bell or knock, it does not mean you should continue to knock or ring the bell and yell, “We want candy!”

And there are driveways and walkways up to front doors for a reason, so one doesn’t have to walk on the grass or through the yard of the person from which they are trying to gain sugary goodness.

 If there is an obviously younger child in front of you going up to the house, who is walking slower than you, you should not be rude and push your way past him, and say, “Move, kid!” Instead, you should wait your turn. Halloween and trick-or-treating should be enjoyed by all people of all ages, not just the fast ones, racing to get to as many homes as possible, to get as much candy as possible.

 These are all things I learned as a child when I went trick-or-treating. These are things I am teaching my 2-year-old when he goes trick or treating. But it seems like these are things that the youth of today were not taught.

Please and thank you, holding the door open for someone, excuse me, or pardon me, go a long way. It’s too bad that it seems like simple kindness and manners don’t exist anymore.

I moved to Evanston six years ago from the “big city” of Denver. Evanston is a very small town compared to Denver, but at least in Denver no one knocked on my door when the porch light was off, and no one demanded candy when the door wasn’t answered. For being so small a town, some of the people in Evanston sure do have a big city mentality.

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