We Are Entitled To Halloween Candy

by admin on October 31, 2012

This is a note delivered to a homeowner in Oshawa, Ontario.

But the homeowner didn’t deliver any candy, instead he posted the note on Kijiji saying he is looking for the author.

“Dear Children of Entitlement (and likely their parents),” starts the Kijiji post. “You have gone ahead and reminded me of why I do not want children, and why I weep for the future.”

The homeowner says he was not home on Halloween and has bought a huge amount of candy, which he will enjoy with his friends on Saturday.

Update:  Homeowner gets and apology from letter writer.  Read here.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Jones October 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I remember seeing this last year; didn’t it end up being a hoax? Regardless, it’s a poignant statement on today’s society.


RobM October 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I understand that in North America Halloween is a bigger deal than it is here in the UK.

Regardless, I used to enjoy trick-or-treating when I was younger and used to enjoy seeing trick or treaters now I’ve grown older.

However, since my mother’s death on halloween 5 years ago, I have great trouble seeing today as anything other than the anniversary of the death of a loved one. I don’t feel like celebrating today or taking part in other people’s celebrations.

Should I have to buy candy and take part regardless of my feelings, the way you seem to think the ‘new guy’ should? What if they’ve got similar problems to mine with taking part in the halloween fun?

I myself would hate to stop others from enjoying the day. But I don’t think that extends to expecting the unwilling to take part against their will.


Calliope October 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm

That note was clearly not written by children. I’m sure it was a teenager or adult’s idea of a joke. Maybe it’s an unfunny one, but responding to this with “You have gone ahead and reminded me of why I do not want children” was over the top. Most children are perfectly sweet, wonderful people.


Cat Whisperer October 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I enjoy Halloween, I really do. When my daughter was little, I loved helping her pick out a costume and taking her out trick-or-treating. I also loved staying home and handing out candy to the kids who came to our door.

I do have some peeves, though.

My biggest peeve: the “kids” who come to my door who are taller than I am, obviously well into their teens, holding out pillow cases and expecting candy. That’s why I keep two different bowls of candy by the door: the good stuff, chocolate bars and that kind of candy, for the little kids. The other bowl has the cheapo lollipops, which I give to the big kids. Sorry, children; but if you’re bigger than I am, you’re too big to be trick-or-treating!

I’m also peeved by the adults who accompany kids expecting me to give them treats. That’s just rude. They get the cheapo lollipops, too.

And finally, a general peeve: the street I live in has churches on either end, and every Halloween, both churches hold a big shindig, which, according to the literature they pass out inviting people to come, is supposed to provide a safer alternative to trick-or-treating for kids, and also to counter the exposure the kids get to the occult and satanic influences of Halloween. I’m not opposed to that at all. But what REALLY happens, is that people bring their kids to the shindig at one of the churches, then trick-or-treat down the street to the other church, and go the shindig there, and then trick-or-treat back up the street again!

I know this happens, because I’ve stood outside and watched the groups exiting the church closest to us, trick-or-treating down the street to the other church, entering their set-up, then coming back up the street again after about half an hour. Frankly, what the churches are purporting to do, which is keep kids from trick-or-treating, has the opposite affect: it draws kids in, who then go out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.

I don’t know what they can do about it, but it’s obvious to me that their message really isn’t getting through to most of the people who attend their Halloween activities.


Linds October 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I have to agree with those who find this appalling and not funny in the least. I read the comments on the article about him receiving an apology, and was just as horrified at how many people feel their children are entitled to other peoples hard earned money. Telling them to be a good sport, and such. When I was growing up, it was never a big deal if someone did not hand out candy. They simply left their lights off and we walked on by. No one cared. As adults, some years we hand out candy and sometimes we aren’t home. This year, we live in the middle of nowhere with 2 neighbors and don’t have to worry about it at all. No one should be forced to celebrate any holiday.


Miss Raven October 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I don’t find this note funny or cute at all. It’s entitled, snarky, greedy garbage. And it was obviously written by an adult. In what generation did children stop calling adults “Mister”? Long before my time, and I’m way too old to be going trick-or-treating. And I don’t think most kids are brought up thinking that “Misters” can’t cook (but the Missus can!). Definitely an older set of ideas.

Did anyone else on the block get this note? Did every single other household hand out candy? In my neighborhood, some people weren’t home, or didn’t celebrate, or ran out of candy. If the porch light’s out, don’t ring the bell. If you ring the bell and get no answer, simply move on.

Did any child really suffer from this poor guy’s absence? Did any child really need that extra one or two pieces of candy on top of the massive load of candy they already didn’t really need?

I find this intrusive and upsetting. I don’t think it’s over the top for the recipient (childless by choice) to mention this sort of complete insanity as one of the reasons he doesn’t want kids.

IMHO, if someone’s not giving your kids something for free, even if everyone else is doing it, it’s none of your D business why.


Rap October 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm

“Normally I hate entitlement of any kind, but I see this letter more as a joke and I think New Neighbor took it way too seriously.”

I didn’t. Oh, I am sure the letter writer was just flexing their rude muscles but I see no reason why the New Neighbor shouldn’t call a spade a spade. Yes, it’s *entitled* to send your new neighbor an anonymous shaming letter letting him know he’s on notice as a bad new neighbor and including demands on how he should appease the local children.

Now I am certain this was written by adults and not actual children but taking it at face value, a child who tells me his free treat isn’t up to his high standards can go without. And if I don’t *want* to hand out free treats for whatever reason, I do not think it is a child’s business to tell an adult off for NOT treating them to candy. A neighbor child who had the brass to sass me over his entitled treats would get nothing and deal and if I knew which neighbor child left such a note, I’d be sending it to their parents with a “I’m sorry but you’re the parents, I’m not buying your child jack and be on notice, if the little brat steps foot on my property again, I’m calling the cops. Your child isn’t welcome on my property until he and you trot on over and apologize for his rude entitled behavior.”

And if it was an adult (which I suspect) I admit, I would be concerned that simply choosing to not participate in a holiday led to an anonymous rude note on how to rectify the behavior from my adult neighbors. What will they do when I don’t put up Xmas lights?


Goldie October 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Linds, same thing with when my kids where growing up. We lived on a street where some of the residents did not celebrate Halloween, and most residents had pretty intense professional careers, and so were never home at six PM which is the trick-or-treating start time. First year on that street, my kids were surprised that almost no one had their porch lights on. I talked to them about people working late and some people having different beliefs, and they were perfectly understanding! I used to load them in my car and take them to our old neighborhood, where people took Halloween quite seriously — every house decorated to the max, owners sitting outside in costume, spooking the little trick-or-treaters. It was like a big block party. My children have fond memories, not of the candy, but of walking around that neighborhood and interacting with the neighbors. At the same time, they were okay with the fact that not everyone wants to or has the time to sit around and pass out candy for two hours.

Re Esmeralda’s comment, a few times my son went trick-or-treating to his friend’s neighborhood across town, and came back with a religious booklet or two in his candy bag. I think it is ridiculous. The language in the booklet is quite strong and can scare impressionable kids. We had a good laugh over the booklets, but really, forcing one’s beliefs on other people’s children is not funny. To people that feel the urge to do that, I would advise turning their porch light off and not passing anything out at all. I also love how each booklet ended with a church’s contact info and an invitation to come to their services. Yeah riiiight, joining your church will be the first thing on my mind after you’ve judged my kids and promised them hell for walking door-to-door in costume.

Cat Whisperer: why, what’s wrong with the teens? They’re not doing it for the free candy. It’s fine that you give them a cheap lollipop, but why do you say they’re too old to be trick-or-treating? My friend, who admits to having trick-or-treated in his teens (now in his forties), says that Halloween was his favorite holiday growing up, not because of the free candy, but because it is the only night of the year when you can knock on your neighbors’ doors, greet them, and meet them in person. It brings the neighborhood together.


Goodness October 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm

On the one hand, if the kids had unfailingly gotten something great at that address every previous Halloween, I can understand their being disappointed and — maybe — saying something about it. On the other hand, demanding that the homeowner make up for his ‘lapse’ was inexcusable.

The homeowner’s response was unfortunate. I disagree with those who thought he ought not to have replied at all, as, ignoring it, with it’s veiled beligerence, might have caused even more problems. But a better reply might have been to say something like “Sorry kids. Mrs. Whosis no longer lives here, and while nobody is obligated to give to the Trick-or-Treaters, I did feel bad that you were disappointed. This year Halloween fell on a night when I always go out. Other years I’ll probably be around. Them’s the breaks.”

I also agree that the letter was probably written by an adult, probably a parent or older sibling of one of the disappointed Trick-or-Treaters. The kids may not even have been aware that it went out.


Sarah Jane October 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Of course the guy has a right to be gone on Halloween, and of course he has a right to decline handing out candy even if he is home.

Also, of course, this letter is a fake.

What disappoints me is that this was the perfect opportunity for him to laugh it off and show that he is above all this nonsense. Unfortunately, it seems he did just the opposite.


Alice October 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I love all the “stop having fun guys” attitude in comments against teens trick-r-treating.


yankeegal77 October 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I feel really bad for this guy. Wow. Welcome to the neighborhood. Tacky, crass, uncouth…I could write a letter myself to describe the disgusting level of entitlement.

To the PPs who said this was most likely written by an adult, that is possible, but I had an even better vocabulary at a very young age. If I lacked manners and parental discipline, could have written a letter like this and used the word “rectify” at about age eight. Maybe even sooner.

I was always told that not everyone is going to give out candy; if the lights were out, or a house appeared quiet, don’t bother the residents. We only trick-or-treated at people’s houses we knew well, or who were close by and were obviously giving out candy.

And the line about not wanting kids…perhaps a little OTT, but I understand where he’s coming from and don’t blame him one bit for adding that. I, too, weep for the future. Not because of kids, but because so many are being raised with a frightening sense of entitlement. Scarier than any Halloween costume. 🙁


Grace October 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I admit-I’m 20 and I went out tonight. It was less about the candy and more about the dressing up, but I went in full costume, joined a group of kiddos, and was polite, played the game, and left when I have gotten my fair share-no need for greed. This is outrageous. I was pretty appalled by the lack of Halloween etiquette displayed by the kids I was walkin with-I was always taught to take 1-2 and that’s it, especially if the people leave a bucket with a “Take ONE” sign. Kids were taking HANDFULS, and then bragging about it!


L October 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I can’t believe that some of the responses to the letter he received actually suggested that the writer was right, and that he was a tightwad and scrooge to not hand out candy. It’s not a requirement! Maybe he didn’t believe in the holiday, or wasn’t home, etc. It’s such a silly, petty reason to be upset at him. I hope he doesn’t get egged in the future.

Cat Whisperer, I’ve known some unfortunate children who were very tall for their age, and of course they were accused of being greedy teens when trick-or-treating. I figure, if someone wants to have fun and participate well into their late teens, why not? Especially if it’s a clever costume!


Anonymous October 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm

@Cat Whisperer–I’d like to propose an amendment your statement on overaged trick-or-treaters. Instead of “no good candy for trick-or-treaters bigger than a certain size” (who might, in some cases, just be really tall twelve-year-olds), or “no good candy for people over a certain age” (who might be accompanying younger siblings or babysitting charges) to “no good candy for people without costumes or manners.” The trouble with Halloween is, there’s plenty to do for little kids (trick-or-treating, trunk or treat events, Mall Halloween, church-sponsored Hallelujah Houses for the religious crowd, Halloween parties at school and through various extra-curricular activities), and there’s plenty for adults too (house parties, bar-hopping, etc)., but there’s really nothing for teenagers, so some might get into vandalism, underage drinking, etc. So, if a group of teenagers decided to dress up and go trick-or-treating instead, then of course I’d give them candy. Also, Halloween costumes don’t have to cost money–last year, I didn’t have a lot of money, so I made myself a black cat costume out of bits and pieces I had, and it turned out pretty well. It wasn’t the best costume I’d ever made (that’d probably be my spider costume of 2010), but it at least enabled me to not be the only “loser” at the Halloween party without a costume.


Angel October 31, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I do not think the note was cute or funny, rather, I thought it was nasty and obnoxious. Whether it was written by parents, teenagers, kids, I don’t know or care, it’s just NOT cute at all.

After years of having her candy bowl cleaned out by dozens of kids who were not even from her neighborhood, who grabbed handfuls and never said thank you (or even “trick or treat!”) my cousin opted to not give out candy this year. She turned off her light and had movie night in the basement with her hubby. I don’t blame her in the slightest. Halloween has gotten completely out of control. Our neighborhood has been invaded for years by kids who get dropped off in some mysterious van, there must be 10-15 kids at once, they are rude and nasty, sometimes even vandalizing our front lawns with silly string and toilet paper. It sounds cute and funny until it happens to your house and YOU are the one who has to clean it up.

To be honest, trick or treating is one tradition I wouldn’t mind being laid to rest.


White Lotus October 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm

It is a school night, so tonight’s grown up parties were cocktail-y early ones –just a couple of drive-bys, but fun enough. I got home to an empty bowl on an outside table with a “take only 1 each” sign on it. I am sorry to miss the costumes and I don’t care that most of the people we get are college students on their ways to gigantic revels that will persist into the wee hours. Costumes get treats and students are very creative! Our porch light is on a dusk to dawn sensor, but I will turn it off soon, because no porch light means no or no more candy, or we’re done for the night, here as everywhere else I have lived. I remember as a child being sad when there wasn’t a bowl on the porch though the light was on, especially if there were lots of stairs, but the tech of the time left no real solution for those who were out and didn’t feel comfortable leaving the front light off or a bowl out — the usual fear being that the first kid will scoop the lot. I remember, though, and I have seen, kids being amazingly polite about only taking one of whatever was left out. Our house has never been vandalized at all. I remember one house being TP’d a few blocks from my childhood home. Yes, there were teenagers and sports teams involved. They got in trouble, too.

I don’t think anybody is required to have candy out, or hand it out, home or not, but the porch light seems to be the universal participation signal, whether you are home or not. If you don’t want to leave out a bowl, and for some reason can’t set up a remote app for your porch light, or a motion sensor or a timer to turn it on just before you’re set to arrive, I have no solution for you. You’ll just have to cope, and you are not being rude if you are actually not home. Writing cranky, pseudo-funny notes is a sure way to turn “Mister” into the neighborhood crank, and that is the rude part, IMO. Handing out tracts? My faith also, in principle, doesn’t do Hallowe’en as it is somebody else’s religious celebration. The Prof (converted at uni, before we met) balks a bit, but I (cradle Buddhist) think it is possible to have a quite secular Hallowe’en and use it to educate children on others’ faiths. Discussions, sometimes heated, have ensued. . We have made varying compromises over the years, but handing out Buddhist literature has never even occurred to either of is! Trying to convert people is rude. Bottom line, if you don’t want to hand out candy for whatever reason, aren’t feeling well, are going out, or are just done — as in, after little kid hours — turn off the porch light.


Lex November 1, 2012 at 3:57 am

ARGH! Don’t get me started on ‘Children of Entitlement’ I live in the UK and whilst Halloween has never been as big as it is in the US, the gimme-pig mentality is making it more and more popular! I used to get into the spirit of it – I’d get dressed up in my Cosplay gear and hand out little treat bags of Haribo until 3 years ago… We get a knock on the door and there are a bunch of kids standing there – some in costume, most not. Their mothers were standing at the end of our driveway. Instead of the usual ‘Trick or treat’ or seasonal greeting of appropriate nature, I am greeted with held out hands… So I offer my bowl of treat bags (these are individually packed selections of Haribo sweets – maybe 25-30g worth of sweets – a perfectly appropriate offering). The first two children dig their hands in and literally grab almost every packet in the bowl. Do their mothers stop them or admonish them? No. So having emptied my bowl, there is now nothing left for the other children. Are these kids told to share? No. I get abuse from the mothers of the ‘hard done by’ kids for not having any sweets for their children!!!! The following year I had nothing at all (and got more abuse). Last year, we were out for the evening and my father was round at ours (we’d just bought the house and he was helping us do it up) when a small child, no costume, in floods of tears knocked on the door, held her hands out and said ‘Sweeties’ in between sobs… This year I downloaded a poster from the hampshire police asking people not to knock (http://www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/news-and-appeals/campaigns/halloween-no-trick-or-treat for those that are interested) and posted 3 of them in my front windows. It didn’t stop a couple of determined Gimme-pigs but we just refused to answer the door. We had to be careful not to let our Black Kitten out anyway (in case people tried to hurt him or ‘borrow’ him for their costume) so we just ignored it.


Kate November 1, 2012 at 4:41 am

More reasons for me to never celebrate Halloween.
I only went trick or treating once as a child, and then my father made the rules very clear – we only knocked on the doors of people we knew. If our neighbour had their light off, we didn’t even knock on their door. We never knocked on the doors of families we didn’t already know – and that was his pet peeve which he passed onto me. There’s nothing I dislike more than strangers coming round and demanding sweets. I think its rude. If you do know people in your area, that’s great, but if it’s strangers – it’s just not polite.
My teacher told me a story one year. She had to nip out on Halloween, and wouldn’t be at home the whole night, because she went to check on her mother who was still independant but got lonely a lot. So she left a big bowl on her doorstep filled with candy, early in the evening, and then went to check on her – then realised she had forgotten something and went back home. She had only been gone maybe fifteen minutes, and the huge bowl was empty – rather then taking a handful, somebody had just tipped this entire huge bowl into their bags, so there was nothing for anyone else. If that doesn’t tell you this is a holiday about greed I don’t know what does. She was devastated.
I never give candy. I find answering the door to strangers difficult enough, I suffer from anxiety, and the idea of opening it to groups of strangers, or potentially groups of teenagers, fills me with so much fear that Halloween has become one of my least favourite nights of the year. I am just glad that I’ve moved to a new place this year where we’re out of the way and nobody knocked.


Kate November 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

@Cat Whisperer, I do see your point, but I was the same height at age 12 as many people are when they reach adulthood. Some kids just get really tall, really quickly.
I live in Australia, so Halloween isn’t really a thing here, although it’s started to gain popularity over the past few years or so. Fortunately I haven’t seen any examples of Halloween rudeness like this note (which I sincerely hope is a joke).


cocacola35 November 1, 2012 at 6:58 am

I don’t think knocking on unfamiliar neighbors’ doors is rude. I don’t know half the kids on my block, but trick or treating gives me a chance to see the neat costumes and get to know more of my neighbors. I do think it’s rude to knock on doors when the porch light is off (I was taught that was a sign the neighbors weren’t participating), dumping the whole bowl of candy in your bag, or writing an entitled letter to non-participating neighbors like in the OP.

I don’t understand why the letter was written in the first place- when I was a kid, some neighbors didn’t participate and it really wasn’t traumatic. There were still plenty of opportunities to get candy. I never felt shorted nor would it occur to me that everyone HAD to participate in handing out candy. It’s entitled jerks like this letter writer that ruin Halloween for all kids and I’m glad they were called out publicly on it.


Jenn50 November 1, 2012 at 8:18 am

@Kate: It’s not rude to knock on the door of a stranger on Hallowe’en if they’ve indicated they’re “playing along”. My kids have been taught to go only to houses where there are Hallowe’en decorations, to walk on the walkways, not people’s lawns, and to say thank you, and wish people a good night at every house. We get between 200-350 kids every year, and most of them are kids we barely know, or don’t know at all.

@CatWhisperer: My son was nearly 6 feet tall at 12. Under your rule, he would have been the only kid in his school not getting to trick or treat because he was bigger than the homeowners. This is the first year he didn’t go, (at 15) but most of his classmates did. I share the rule of a previous poster who said “in costume and with manners” gets candy. I will cheerfully give candy to a 40 year old under those rules!


The Elf November 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

We’re in our late thirties and went out on Halloween in full costume. We decided that since we get so few trick-or-treaters anyway (being sort of an odd corner of the neighborhood, and with many non-participants), we’d wander around. We didn’t trick or treat, but we did have a lot of fun.


The Elf November 1, 2012 at 8:44 am

Somebody could be 80 and trick-or-treating and I’d still give them candy. (And if you’re a parent escorting a huge crowd of kids, you are definitely taking one for the team. Have a Kit-Kat. Have three.) But no costume? Grrrrrr…… If you don’t have a costume, you at least need to have a story. “I’m a serial killer! I look like everbody else!” “I’m dressed as a normal teenager.” “I’m the evil me from the mirror universe.” But if you show up in normal clothes and just stick your treat bag out, I’m giving you exactly one peice of candy. That’s it. Everybody else gets a handful of the good stuff.


Rap November 1, 2012 at 9:49 am

“What disappoints me is that this was the perfect opportunity for him to laugh it off and show that he is above all this nonsense. Unfortunately, it seems he did just the opposite.”

Right…because getting a creepy note with demands from people purporting to be your neighbors, and who claim to be anoyed with you is something polite folk just laugh off and ignore. Because neighbors never act on this kind of thing.

What he did was not rude or unusual. He didn’t give out candy at Halloween because he wasn’t home. What he got wasn’t a shrug, it was a creepy note with demands that clearly wasn’t written by a *child*. It’s not nonsense, its a neighbor of his trying to bully him into participating. He got a note from his neighbor *demanding* he spend money and participate.

Thats rude and he has every right to not laugh it off simply because it involved children (in theory). Why does being polite mean he has to put up with this? He did nothing wrong and was treated poorly and he’s the bady guy for publically saying “I was treated poorly for nothing”?


Shea November 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

I agree that the letter wasn’t written by children. It doesn’t sound like kids at all, it sounds like an adult trying (and failing) to sound like a kid.

As for teenagers being too old to trick or treat and being “just in it for the candy”, I really dislike that mindset. My feeling is, if they’re wearing a costume (by which I mean something more than a witch hat or a mask paired with regular street clothes), they’re just as deserving of candy as the little ones. I trick-or-treated until I was probably 15, and it really wasn’t for the candy. It was because I loved to dress up (I still do!). I’d learned how to sew as a kid, and by the time I was a young teenager, I was perfectly capable of sewing my own Halloween costumes. I’d often start work on them weeks in advance, and they were often pretty elaborate. I never had an adult turn me away for being “too old”, usually they either complimented me on my costume or just cheerfully gave me a treat (of course I thanked them) and let me go on my way. I think it’s a bit silly to turn away a fully costumed teenager just because they are, in your estimation, “too old”. Of course, it’s your candy and your right to do so, but just keep in mind that trick-or-treating teenagers aren’t necessarily just greedy gimme pigs trying to get as much candy as possible.


LovleAnjel November 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

Cat Whisperer – I understand your feelings about the teens. My friends & I did some trick-or-treating in hospital, but we did full-on costumes (junior year I was the masque of red death with full suppurating sores all over my face), and if the homeowner told us we were too old and got no candy, we said thank you and moved on. It was more about hanging out together and running around on a nice night showing off our creativity.


LovleAnjel November 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

High school, not hospital! Stupid autocorrect.


Akili November 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

And of course some places have a law in which people who’re on the sex offender’s list HAVE to have their lights off and not hand out candy. So for all the letter writer knew s/he was telling someone to break the law.

On the note of teenagers going out on Halloween, I trick-or-treated a lot more AS a teen then as a child because the place I live is freezing. I also did it once while in college because there were two things to do for fun, drink (even if you’re underage) or go out and get candy. It’s a lot more the fun of dressing up and walking around then the getting of the candy, and I’m honestly a bit sad that I’ve grown too much to do it anymore.


Library Diva November 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

I don’t understand why people get all twisted up about who should and shouldn’t be trick-or-treating, how they should approach it, and what constitutes a costume. I live in a neighborhood that is slowly gentrifying, and there are a lot of poor kids there. I’d never begrudge anyone who wasn’t dressed up or just came with a pillowcase. Where is it written that this is just a small-children holiday, anyway? IT’S FUN to get dressed up and go house-to-house, and I’d rather see a teenager trick-or-treating than smashing things or engaging in risky behavior. Teens are a forgotten group in modern civic life. Bars and restaurants offer activities that are fun for adults, and civic groups offer great things that you’re too old for once you’re about 10. Some malls even ban unaccompanied teens. I think that if many people had their way, children would be confined once they hit 12 or 13 and released upon their 18th birthday. And it’s too bad, because it’s a small minority giving a bad rap to the vast majority who are no trouble at all.

A lot of kids aren’t socially “there yet” to say please, thank-you and trick-or-treat. This holiday is a great way to help with that, but as they’re learning that behavior, they’ll still get candy from me. As for people grabbing too much, I have an easy solution. I keep the candy in a plastic pumpkin that I hold in one hand away from the kids and scoop from it into their bags. They don’t get the opportunity to grab with both hands. Some kids are still learning that, too, others will just seize the opportunity even when they know better. I just don’t let them do it and then I don’t get mad about it. After five years of giving away more than 5 pounds of candy on an average Halloween, I’ve never had anyone complain about the way I did it or tried to get at my pumpkin. I even had one little boy extremely impressed by my pumpkin, which broke my heart, because it was just a dollar store one and the sort of thing that would have been familiar to a kid from a more financially average family by that age.

I love Halloween and don’t begrudge anybody anything on that night. It’s a nice chance to be generous to people you don’t know. I see it as a small way to do something for the neighborhood and keep it a pleasant place to live.


Ellen November 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

We are relatively new in our neighborhood, and taking the kids trick-or-treating is a great way to get to know people, as well as talking to the little ones about “codes”, like porch-lights-off means don’t knock on the door, or blowing out the pumpkins means we’re done for the night, etc.

I think teens who want to dress up and enjoy meeting people is great. I have met plenty of groups of teens who have gone all-out on their costumes and are obviously having a great time together, friendly and laughing. Wonderful. However, in our old neighborhood, there were also teens who shoved little kids out of the way, and showed open disdain if our candy did not meet their expectations. Some didn’t even bother to dress up, while others took pains to be as intimidating as possible. I am 5’10” tall, and a 6’3″ Grim Reaper (complete with scythe) on my porch is not fun or funny. I can only imagine if I were short or elderly. The last time that happened, we were doing a toys instead of candy giveaway. I asked the young man whether he preferred a pink sparkly gummy bracelet or purple glitter bubble wand.


Lynn November 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

It’s not that hard to keep things under control… When kids come to the door, admire their costumes or ask questions about them. They love to talk about them. Then before you hand anything out, if the haven’t said “trick or treat” properly, say “What are the magic words?”. Kids can get lazy if people are just handing stuff to them but they know they have a traditional part to play in this transaction, and actually like saying it. Since kids are naturally grabby around candy, control this part too. Keep the bowl out of their reach and put a predetermined amount in each bag. This also keeps my husband from depleting the bowl too early…he loooves the tiny princesses! By this time you have a little relationship going with each group, you get thanked properly, by the kids and their parents, and you mutually wish each other a “Happy Halloween”. Then you can go back to drinking cocktails, eating candy and waiting for the next doorbell ring while watching “Nightmare before Christmas”. Porch light off, you’re done.


Kristi November 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I’ve read a ton of responses to this, both here and on other message boards. The consensus seems to be fairly evenly split between people who think the original letter was appalling and rude, and those that think it was funny, or cute, or whatever. It seems to inspire some very black and white reactions, very little gray.

I find it interesting that so many people seem to feel that he overreacted, or needs to ‘loosen up’, and there are those that remind him that he was a child once too, and somehow try to use guilt to make him look scroogish or selfish. I think it’s ridiculous that anyone would think that the letter was anything other than rude and yet another example of an entitlement mentality.

As others have suggested, maybe Halloween and the tradition of trick-or-treating is something that has outlived its original purpose. Kids these days are so very different than they were a couple of generations ago, and they are not directly to blame, it’s the parents who failed to teach them manners and appreciation who are to blame here. And…I am 100% positive that it was one of those parents who wrote the original letter.


Calliope November 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Amen, Library Diva.


The Elf November 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Library Diva, *anyone* can cobble together a costume. No money? Wear your Mom or Dad’s clothes, go as whatever they do for a living. Or wear their regular clothes and cry “I’m shrinking, I’m shrinking!” Put on your opposite-gender sibling’s (or friends) clothes and go as the opposite gender. Put on your pjs and carry a baby bottle and teddy bear. Put on your grungiest, most worn out clothes, dirty ’em up more, tie a bundle to a stick, and go as a 1920s hobo. Paint your face wild with Mom’s lipstick, go as a clown. If you play sports, wear your uniform. I’m not asking for a lot in a costume! Just something to show you put some effort into dressing up. Or, have a good story to go with your non-costume.


Cat Whisperer November 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Re my comment about trick-or-treaters who are taller than I am, obviously in their teens, not rating the good candy:

My perspective comes from the way I was taught when I was a kid/teen ager, which I admit was 40+ years ago. Back then, my friends and I pretty much all got the same message from our parents: by the time you turned 12 or 13, you’d outgrown door-to-door trick-or-treating in costume. (FWIW, it was somewhat shameful to still be trick-or-treating by the time you were a teen, because trick-or-treating was for little kids, and we wanted to be thought of as more grown up!)

You have to remember, my parents (and the parents of my peer group) were mostly people who grew up during the Great Depression when money wasn’t just tight, it was nonexistant for a lot of people. If candy was given out all, it was a very special treat for the very youngest kids, because there just wasn’t that much to go around. Adults did without: having the maturity to do without something to assure that the small children got a special treat was an act of pride.)

My parents fully expected to give out candy to small children. But the attitude towards kids who were 12 or 13 and up was, you’re old enought to earn money to buy your own candy if you want candy. You can mow lawns or deliver newspapers or babysit or rake leaves or do chores if you want to buy candy. Expecting adults who were not your parents to give you candy when you were obviously old enough to earn money to buy it yourself was an outrage: I can remember my mother making pointed remarks to that effect to teen-agers who came to the door at Halloween. These kids were considered immature at best, and to some extent lazy and lacking in willingness to work– cadging candy at a time when decent young people were proud of earning money to buy their own if they wanted it.

To some extent, this attitude was supported by the way Halloween was merchandised at that time. The Halloween costumes sold by the stores were pretty much only in children’s sizes; there was no market at that time for adult-size or adolescent-size costumes, because costumed trick-or-treating was considered to be an activity for children. (If you were a teen or adult and wanted to dress up for Halloween, you pretty much had to make your own costume as best you could.)

Maybe I’m a relic of a time gone past, but I feel very strongly that once you’re 12 or 13 years old, you’re too old for trick-or-treating. Acceptable activities? How about accompanying younger kids on their rounds, without any expectation of getting candy. Or attending parties– there are many parties sponsored by churches, youth organizations, and other groups. Or going as a group of friends to something like a “haunted house” or an activity like that. There are lots of fun things that you can do, that allow you to dress up and go completely crazy with a costume, that don’t involve trick-or-treating.

I don’t know when it became customary for teen-agers to go through the neighborhoods trick-or-treating for candy, but as far as I’m concerned, the attitudes my parents taught me are still valid: the candy treats are for the little kids. Older kids who are capable of earning their own money and buying their own candy shouldn’t be going around begging for treats. While money may not be as tight as it was when my parents were growing up, or as tight as it was when I was growing up, it still doesn’t grow on trees. I’ll happily give candy to small children. I am not happy giving it out to young people who are capable of earning money to buy their own candy. Trick-or-treating for candy when you’re a small child is cute; trick-or-treating for candy when you’re an adolescent is shiftless.

…And in the end, it is entirely the choice of the person giving out the candy as to who they give it to. There is no entitlement to candy, and once anyone starts to take the attitude that if they dress up in a costume and knock on my door, they are entitled to candy and that I’ve committed an etiquette crime by refusing to give it to them, then IMO things have gone very, very wrong.


Emmy November 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm

My getting candy from me rules are simple. Come to my door, being wearing something out of your normal clothes, say trick or treat and bam, you get candy. I don’t care how old you are, and I’m laxed on the say trick or treat rule, especially with small or shy children (often the parents will say it for them and that totally counts). I do grade costumes using candy. One kid came to my door last night in regular street clothes, but with a rainbow wig on, ok…that gets you piece of candy. You showed up, you’re wearing something I assume you usually don’t wear, so you get a piece of candy. Full costumes will earn 2-3, and something way creative (zombie fairy princess!), is getting at least four pieces!

Since I see a lot of these kids around my neighborhood often, they also earn more candy if I’ve seen them around be particularly nice/helpful/ect. Like my first boy last night, he was a bit older, by himself, and wearing a simple costume. However, I always see him around helping out neighbors with groceries, picking up litter, he’ll wheel up trash cans, I’ve also seen him hold open the door at the corner store too, so he made out candy wise from me for his good behavior else where. Another kid asked how old I was and when I said I’d just turned 26 he said “No way! You look 16!”, true or not any kid who thinks I look 10 years younger then I am is gettin extra candy too.

I did have one particularly entitled little snowflake. He glanced into my candy bowl and said “Is that all you got, I don’t like any of that”, at which point is mother glanced in the bowl and echoed “Oh yeah, he doesn’t like any of those kinds of candy”, so I put on a big smile and said “Good thing the grocery store is accross the street then. Happy Halloween!” and shut my door. See, you can also loose candy from me (he was set up for 3 pieces until that comment).


Rap November 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm

” lot of kids aren’t socially “there yet” to say please, thank-you and trick-or-treat.”

If your kid is not old enough or socially together enough to say please and thank you, they are not old enough to go trick or treating without you there period.

I’m not trying to be harsh, I swear. I just see this excuse for what it is. My own family pulls this occasionally with the nieces and nephews “Oh come on, he’s too little” or “she’s still learning”… I’m fine with that if you are *there* correcting the rudeness, but 99 times out of a 100, there’s no correction at all. If a kid can’t come to my door, and say “please” and “thank you” because he’s not socially ready, then he needs a parent there to say “Johnny, say please” and is NOT old enough to trick or treat in a pack of ffriends with no adults or just one adult. Take responsiblity for your kid’s behavior – if they aren’t old enough to show their manners, they really do need your guidance and prescence at their side when they are in public.


Sugaryfun November 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Kudos to the homeowner on his reply! Halloween’s kind of all about entitlement isn’t it? The whole trick or treat thing is basically extortion.

We had trick-or-treaters here the other night and it was a bit awkward asI wasn’t expecting them (though I found I did have some sweets I could give them). Here in Australia Halloween isn’t a big thing and most people don’t really celebrate it. Last year someone put an orange balloon in our letter box with a note saying to display the balloon on the night if we were okay with tricker treaters coming to our door. I like the idea of an opt in system like that. There wasn’t anything like that this year and I hadn’t put up any Halloween decorations, but maybe they took the light I had left on outside for my husband when he came home as an invitation. I have a toddler and a baby and if trick or treaters had woken them by knocking I would have been furious.


JGM1764 November 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I also have to take issue with the “too big to trick-or-treat” thing. When I was, I think, 13 years old I escorted my younger brother (age 10) and some of his friends one Halloween. I wasn’t even collecting candy for myself, I was only going with them because a few of his friends’ moms didn’t want them going out alone, but were ok with an older sibling going with them. Now I stopped growing at around 11 or 12 years old, and I’m very small, and my brother and his friends were all football players, and were big guys for their age, so at 10 years old he and his friends were bigger than I was. I don’t recall anyone telling them that they were too old, but they might have looked it to some people, whereas I might not have.
Also I know a lot of people have a real thing about how kids must actually say “trick-or-treat” when they come to the door. I also don’t demand that of them, because last Halloween a little boy who came to my door said nothing, but after I dropped the candy in his bag, he signed “thank you.” I figured you can’t tell by looking at someone if they’re non-verbal, so I’m not going to be a jerk about it.


Justin November 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

With regard to age, I had fun going out into my teens as I would go with some of my friends taking younger siblings around. One of my fondest memories of Halloween growing up was a local frat house. Each year they would do up their back yard and the whole house and many friends would be in full costume. They always had candy for the younger kids and hot apple cider for the adults and older kids. It became the place to warm up a few minutes with some cider and for people to talk with other neighbors. The fact that they made it welcoming for both the kids and adults stands out to me.

With regard to the leter I think it got out of hand on both sides. However you can’t expect everyone to want to give out candy. It isn’t necessarily a matter of wealth or religion, it could just be choice. These days I don’t give out candy. I don’t know the children in my neighborhood, I don’t have kids who go out, and I really don’t want leftover candy as eat very little of it.


Lynn November 2, 2012 at 6:13 am

I am amused when people assert that things were always better in the old days. I call this the “Get-off-my-lawn” syndrome. I’m in my mid-fifties, and vividly remember from my own trick-or-treating adventures all the empty bowls with hopeful “Take one please” signs attached. We would shake our wise young heads at the sheer naïveté of those households. The day after always revealed a few homes and yards strewn with toilet paper and cars adorned with cracked eggs and shaving cream, usually belonging to families with high school aged kids. Looking back further than my own sordid past, I looked up Halloween on Wikipedia, which is well worth a read, and found this about early trick-or-treating when it finally migrated from Europe to our continent…

“The earliest known use in print of the term “trick or treat” appears in 1927, from Blackie, Alberta, Canada:
Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.”

Kids knocking on front and back doors, displacing outdoor property, bad things happening to outhouses … I think we get off pretty easy now.


Gee November 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

I’m glad to see he got an apology. The letter was unbelieveably rude and greedy. News flash: no one owes you free stuff.


mpk November 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I remember a couple of years ago i heard “trick or treat” outside my door. Opened it and there were a couple of older teenages, not dressed in costume and didn’t even have bags. I told them to wait, got a couple of plastic grocery store bags, put some candy in them and gave them to the kids. I figured that i didn’t know their story. Maybe they were just hungry. Maybe they were bored. But, since they weren’t looking to cause trouble, i didn’t mind at all. Just told them to have a good time.
I especially like the story about the little deaf child. you just never know. I couldn’t imagine holding back candy from a child that came to my door for any reason, unless they were really rude or destructive.
What i don’t understand is wanting to hear any kind of stories from these children. The parents probably worked all day and were tired to begin with. I just give the kids their candy and let them be on their way. Love looking at all the costumes. Unfortunately, we’ve been getting less and less kids every year. This year we only had 2 groups of kids come to our house. A total of 10 kids. So, i gave candy to the parents, too. They seemed to get a kick out of that.


Cat November 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I give candy to anyone who comes to the door. I don’t care if they’ve got wrinkles, gray hair, and a walker. I have no age prejudice. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
I think the man who received the nasty note missed a golden opportunity. How about, ” Let’s make a deal. You want candy on Halloween. I want someone to help me carry in groceries, rake the lawn while I mow, and to smile and wave when that person sees me. You do what I want and I’ll be happy to learn to make candied apples for you.”?


kingsrings November 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Trick-or-treating is for kids, and last time I checked, teenagers were still considered kids. Therefore, there’s nothing wrong at all with them trick-or-treating, and I think it’s rather sad and being a killjoy that people like Cat Whisperer “punish” them for doing this. And like others have already said, maybe they’re younger kids who are simply tall for their age.
However, I do have a problem with adults trick-or-treating in neighborhoods just like the kids do. It’s a kids activity. If you want to trick-or-treat as an adult, then do it privately at your Halloween party or in your office, something like that. And most parents do take away some of their kid’s trick-or-treating candy anyways so they won’t have too much, so you’re going to be getting candy already.


Enna November 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

@ Rap I think you are being a bit harsh about children being “too young” and that they shouldn’t be allowed to trick or treat – I think it is a perfect opportunity for children to lean. Last year my Mum decieded to decorate the porch for Halloween and the first child we had was about 3, he was the most adborable litlte boy: yes his mum did say thank you on his behalf but by seeing her do it he will learn by her example. However, if the child is misbehaving or crying etc then the parents SHOULD take the child home.

@ Cat Whisperer – I don’t think anyone can be too old for Halloween either – provided they have good manners and don’t do the pranks. Better then having teenagers drinking underage or vandalising bus stops.

I’m not too sure on the authenticity of the post: following the link whilst the letter was rude I do think the man’s actions were crash especially with this “He also shares his plan to buy a “ridiculous” amount of candy and sit on his deck eating it with friends. And he invites area kids to come and watch.” At least the person who wrote it was mature enough to apologise for it.

People are allowed to have their beliefs but personally I do find the attiutde that Halloween is to do with the Devil is misguided. Giving out religious texts is a big no no in my view. You’re not going to change someone’s behaviour by saying how evil they are being. As for the comment about the child who wasn’t allowed to go as it was the “Devil’s Holiday” but the mum still brought sweets – to me that is contradictory – just don’t celebrate it then full stop.


Rap November 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Enna – I am referring to kids who are out without parents – if your kid is too young to trick or treat and say “trick or treat” or “please” or “thank you” then your child should not be trick or treating alone. I’ve never had a three year old show up by his or herself. If a child is with a parent and does the shy thing, that’s one thing, particularly if mom and dad are there to prompt them to at least try to say “trick or treat” etc. That’s reasonable.

But I get, on occasion, kids who are clearly trick or treating without parents in tow who are eight-thirteen etc who don’t manage the basics. Nope, not giving them a pass. It’s rude, and it’s not because they “aren’t socially there yet” – if mom and dad are trusting them to be out by themselves then they are socially ready to say please and thank you. If they aren’t then mom and dad should be at their side.


Brittany January 5, 2013 at 2:02 am

I’ve always loved Halloween, and when I got too old (according to my mom) to trick-or-treat on my own, I volunteered to take neighbor kids so that I could still go. Now that I’m an adult, I always decorate extravagantly for the holiday.

A few years ago, I lived in a rather large apartment complex that had automatic lighting outside all of the units. Since my front porch was one of the only ones in the complex that was decorated, and I knew that the light would be on, I felt bad about not handing out candy. At the same time, I wanted to take my son trick-or-treating, not sit at home. So, I put a table out on my porch with two huge bowls, one of candy and one of small toys. Next to it, I put a sign, but instead of the usual “Just take 1”, I wrote “Take what you want, but remember, Santa can see you!” I was very surprised to come home at the end of the night to find that both bowls were still half full!!

Apparently, the implied threat of losing Christmas presents is scary enough to make up for having slightly less candy.


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