I know I am late getting this out, but even on the East Coast, this may not be too late. I was speaking to an coworker whose family had moved here from elsewhere in the world. They've been here a few years, and each year I asked if they were taking their son trick-or-treating. The mom wondered if he wasn't getting too old anyway, as he was already 8 years old.
Heck, back East, I remember trick-or-treating well into high school, but I've heard some parents on the west coast cut their kids off at middle school. And I do, as a homeowner, find it odd when roving gangs of teenage boys taller than I am ring the bell after 9pm still looking for candy. ("Get a job!")
But 8? That's still in the heart of the age of trick-or-treat. My kids are beside themselves anticipating the candy binge that begins on this last day of October, to continue through the Christmas holidays.
Anyway, talking with my friend, I realized it might be a little intimidating to join in this all-American holiday tradition if you did not grow up with it, so I wrote up some pointers for her. I am publishing here for new Kimchi Mamas who may not be familiar with how this all works if you are new to the holiday. Everyday stuff that most American/Canadian parents take for granted:
- When to go? Between dusk and 8pm. After 8pm is older kids/teenagers
- Where? A neighborhood of homes. Skip apartment or condo complexes--they don't get much traffic, and are usually not prepared. And you do not have to live in the neighborhood--any child in costume is welcome.
- What equipment? Costume of course, bag to hold candy, and a flashlight is a good idea.
- Which houses? Porchlights on, and halloween decorations are a good sign. Skip if the house looks dark.
- Does the parent go with them? Usually yes, especially children under 10. You can stay on the sidewalk, or go with them up to the house. The key is your child should be in front, facing the door when the it opens.
- What happens next? Child should say loud and clear "Trick or Treat!" and open their bag. Parents do not need to speak. The person who answers the door may ask your child what their costume is, so prepare them for that. They may drop in candy or offer a bowl the child can pull candy out of. I remind my kids to say Thank You, before they run to the next house to pillage.
- What else might happen? Some adults get into Halloween and try to scare the kids a little, so beware of that--if the house looks too scary, skip it.
- How many houses should we go to? As many as you or your child have stamina for.
- What do we do when we get home? Inspect candy for opened or unwrapped--toss these. Remove anything that your family is allergic to. And your call on how much candy to let them eat. At our house, we dole it out over the coming weeks.
Happy Halloween everyone!