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Halloween Witch

I want to send someone to e-hell on behalf of my friend for using “manners” to harm to feelings of a young child. I have no problem correcting egregious behavior from children who are not mine, but as you may see, sometimes special considerations need to be made.

I have a friend who has a young child with apraxia — delayed speech. He is a bright and friendly little boy who is working very hard to learn to communicate, but he’s not there yet. This was the first year he was old enough to go trick-or-treating in his neighborhood. He had fun ringing the bell and holding out his bag while his mom said “trick-or-treat”, explaining his speech delay if necessary. One woman refused to give him candy unless he said, “trick-or-treat” for her. His mom said, “I’m sorry, he has a medical condition and isn’t saying any words yet.” The woman then closed her door in his face.

Let me repeat that: on being informed that a child had a medical condition, this woman closed her door in his face.

Luckily he was having enough fun that his mom just said, “Oooh, let’s go see what they have at the next house” and as far as he cared, that was the end of it. For my friend it took several days of gnawing anxiety about the treatment her son received, and of course, worries about her ability to protect him before she could let it go. It’s hard to believe a grown-up could put her own desire to hear “trick-or-treat” over the feelings of a little boy. 1108-10


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  • Louisa November 2, 2011, 4:56 am

    In support of all those pointing out that Hallowe’en attacks through trick or treating are an urban legend (which has been proven again and again), I’d have to add the following. Statistics in all Western countries indicate overwhelmingly that harmed children are abused by family members of friends. That’s where we must show vigilance (I used to work in child protection and sadly you’d see a daddy or uncle caught far more often than a neighbour on a supervised visit). As I said in a previous post, yes I am an Aussie so I may not be familiar with all the TOTing pros and cons, but I agree with posters saying that we can’t teach kids to be too mistrusting and cynical. If there is a custom like this that encourages safe interaction with friendly neighbours, why wouldn’t you allow your children this lovely oppoportunity? You are there with them and I am sure the majority of US folk are not like the horror lady here (or the example given earlier about the fight). Minorities, surely. I’d also like to add that most Aussies resisting the TOT thing are not anti-US as has been perhaps inferred by some here-it’s just we have our own unique expressions and traditions that are disappearing thanks to global media, and so many communities like to enjoy watching your customs from afar rather than adopting them. So happy belated Hallowe’en!

  • AthenaC November 2, 2011, 11:13 pm

    After reading these comments, I am thinking to myself – “See?! I KNEW that porch light off = no more candy.” I’ll explain –

    I was at my MIL’s house on Halloween handing out candy, and for the most part it was lovely. One small girl toddled up to the door, and when I knelt down to ask her, “What do you say?” she got distracted by the bowl of candy in my hand (which included some bright, attention-grabbing red Skittles bags) and reached out to take one. She was maybe 1-1/2, so she was just as adorable as her embarrassed dad. Another little boy (about the same age) knocked on the door, and when I opened up, I heard his mom say, “No, no, no – THEY open the door, sweetie!” Too cute.

    Anyhoo – I kept the candy going as long as I could, but I ran out, and subsequently turned off the porch light, expecting no further trick-or-treaters. Right? Wrong. Not five minutes after I turned off the light, I get a knock at the door. I think, “Surely there has been some misunderstanding. I will inform yon gentle souls that they should continue their quest for Halloween goodies elsewhere, and all will be right with the world.” So I open the door and tell the two boys (one maybe ~9, the other ~15 or so) that sorry, but we just ran out of candy. Older boy grabs a large rock from a stack of rocks on my MIL’s stoop (why does my MIL have a stack of rocks on her stoop? Who knows?) and says, “Then we’re taking a rock – Charlie Brown style!”

    Me: “Did you not see that the porch light was out? Universal signal for ‘no more trick-or-treaters?'”

    Younger boy: “No one told us!”

    Me: “Well, I just did. So going forward, now you know.”

    Darn kid still took his darn rock. Hope my MIL didn’t have any pressing plans for those rocks. Silly, but still irritated the everloving out of me.

    Not 15 minutes later, we got another knock at the door. Instead of answering the door, I said loudly to my husband (hoping the sound carried), “Hey – doesn’t no light mean no more candy? I could have sworn it did – I don’t know why there are people at our door!” or something similar. That was the last knock of the night.

    P.S. I am not interested in any criticism that I know I will get about how I was rude. I don’t care.

  • tdavi November 4, 2011, 7:22 pm

    4 teenagers showed up at my place around 6 pm on Halloween. We don’t normally get trick or treaters that early, and I hadn’t had time to put my puppy away yet (either in her kennel, the back yard or downstairs) or get candy ready. 4 teenagers showed up, not in costume, wanting candy. I opened the door just enough to let them know that as they weren’t wearing costumes I wouldn’t be giving them candy (I personally am of the opinion that if you show up at my door on Halloween in costume, you’ll get at least one piece of candy). The one teenager grabbed the door and swung it open before I had a chance to grab my puppy. She’s only 3 months old and isn’t fully trained yet to sit or stay when people come to the door. She ended up running out, and the teenagers ran away, not even helping with my dog they let out.

  • Gracie C. November 7, 2011, 2:56 pm

    tdavi – I’m a big fan of, “If I’m not ready, I don’t answer the door.” Next time that might be the best way to handle that.

    @Edhla – re: And where does this stop? If participating in Halloween means you absolutely HAVE to give treats to anybody who knocks on your door, what if those people are 30? What if they behave in a threatening way? No costumes? What if the kid had, instead of saying nothing, screeched “GIMME CANDY, LADY! LOTS OF CANDY!” What if he had a behavioural disorder and acted out? Is this magical light-on business really an indication that you must give candy to one and all? It just sounds really entitled to me that once that light goes on, the homeowner now does not have a choice.

    It’s not entitlement, it’s how Halloween works. Are you really comparing a little boy with a speech problem to a 30 year old begging for candy? To someone threatening you? Trick-or-treaters show up and if you’re standing there with a giant bowl of candy you don’t send them away. You give them candy. It’s how…it…works! So, it’s not so much that they don’t have a choice. Sure, they can stand there with their big bowl of candy and refuse a disable child their piece. They can expect people to perform like circus animals for the pleasure of a 10 cent KitKat. But the rest of us are allowed to think that person is a loser, because quite frankly, anybody that behaves the way the women in this story did, has serious issues.