Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: norrina on October 23, 2012, 08:55:26 AM

Title: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: norrina on October 23, 2012, 08:55:26 AM
My apologies if this has already been posted; I didn't see another thread but that doesn't mean I didn't miss it!

10/23/2012, first letter: http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/

On Halloween night 2011, the letter-writer planned her family's dinner for 5pm in order to be finished eating before TOTing began. 3 siblings from down the street came by to TOT while the letter-writer was eating, and she told them to come back later. The children's mother than called the letter-writer to tell her she was wrong to send the children away.

ETA (since this was a Dear Abby column after all), that Abby told the letter-writer that the children's mother may not have wanted them TOTing after dark, and the letter-writer should have been "welcoming" and given the children candy when they called.

Every neighborhood/city that I have lived in has had set TOT hours, so maybe that is coloring my view, because I don't think the letter-writer was in the wrong to tell the children to come back later. I also think that the children's mother was out of line to call the letter-writer, regardless of whether there were TOT hours and/or whether her children were TOTing outside of those hours. No one is obligated to participate in TOTing, so the mother had no right to call the letter-writer and complain if she opted not to participate.

Other thoughts?
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Bexx27 on October 23, 2012, 08:58:25 AM
It's not the LW's job to teach other people's children manners. If she didn't want to be interrupted she shouldn't have answered the door. Since she did answer, why not just give them candy? It wouldn't have taken any additional time.

I also don't think 5pm is an unreasonable time to start trick-or-treating.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 23, 2012, 09:01:52 AM
It depends to me.  Like you, I've tended to live where there are set hours, though I think 5 has been within those hours and definitely daylight hours are included so her demand that they "come back when it is dark" seems out of line.  I also wonder, was her porch light on?  If so, I think contributed to the situation.  If I were the mom I probably wouldn't call her, we probably wouldn't go back and depending on the tone it might cool the relationship.  I do wonder if she had previously seen them and indicated an interest in seeing their costumes or something?


It's not the LW's job to teach other people's children manners. If she didn't want to be interrupted she shouldn't have answered the door. Since she did answer, why not just give them candy? It wouldn't have taken any additional time.

I also don't think 5pm is an unreasonable time to start trick-or-treating.

Good point.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: camlan on October 23, 2012, 09:08:56 AM
Definitely, the mother of the kids shouldn't have called to berate the letter writer.

My town has set trick-or-treating hours. This year they are from 5-8. In fact, most places I've lived, the very littlest kids are out around 5 pm--it's not dark and it's not as cold as it would be later on. I'm always ready for TOTers by 5--the candy's in a bowl, the bowl's by the door, the porch light is on. But I probably won't be stationed at the door until about 6, when the crowds start coming by.

The letter writer seems to think that no one should TOT until dark. But she should check what the rules are in her city/town.

Although I do think you can TOT too early. Would 4 pm be too early? People aren't home from work, for one thing.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: WillyNilly on October 23, 2012, 09:13:31 AM
Set hours?  How does that even work?  I've never heard of set ToT hours...

I do think the LW was ridiculous and in the wrong though.  First off, in my experience many kids, especially younger ones, ToT while its still light out or just at dusk, once its full dark they lessen and after 8 its almost none, after 9 is very rare (and unlikely to yield a door opening so impractical on the part of the kids).

All kids know that there are clues to look for - decorations, porch light on, etc to see if a house is welcoming of ToT'ers.  All the LW needed to do was take down her door decoration, close her blinds and not have the porch light on and not answer her door.  Later, after she'd eaten, she could put out the decoration, light her light and open her blinds with lights on inside and kids would know she'd answer.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Jones on October 23, 2012, 09:15:37 AM
ToTing hours. We don't have a set time in my town, but if we did, 5 PM would be within that time. The tiniest tots get started around 5, and the last of the big ones come by before 8:30. I've never had one after 9:30, and I think that latest one was on a Halloween weekend, rather than weeknight. The little kid numbers drop sharply once dark hits, there are always church/school/city sponsored safe events they disappear to with their parents until school night bedtime hits. The bulk of costumed visitors seem to show up on the streets between 5:30 and 6:30.

If the LW didn't want to hand out candy, she should not have answered the door. Mom shouldn't have called to berate her, but I can see the conversation as such:
TOTer: But mom, I know you said we had to be home by (sunset) but Neighbor Lady made us come back after dark! That's why we were late!

In which case Mom should have asked Neighbor Lady what specifically was said before making a judgement. "Scolding" another adult is a bit far either way.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 09:18:04 AM
What I don't get is that in the time it took for her to tell the kids to please come back later, she could have given each kid a candy and closed the door.  Unless she didn't have the candy ready, then why even answer the door at all.  Just finish eating.  It's reasonable to think, "Halloween night, I didn't invite anyone and the doorbell is ringing.  Must be early t'treaters, let me not answer since I don't have the candy ready."
 
But do I think she was rude for telling them to come back later?  No.   The mom was rude to call and chastise the letter wiriter for it.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: camlan on October 23, 2012, 09:22:18 AM
What I don't get is that in the time it took for her to tell the kids to please come back later, she could have given each kid a candy and closed the door.  Unless she didn't have the candy ready, then why even answer the door at all.  Just finish eating.  It's reasonable to think, "Halloween night, I didn't invite anyone and the doorbell is ringing.  Must be early t'treaters, let me not answer since I don't have the candy ready."
 
But do I think she was rude for telling them to come back later?  No.   The mom was rude to call and chastise the letter wiriter for it.

The letter writer wanted to teach them a lesson--not to TOT before dark.

Then the kids' mother calls and tries to tell the LW she's been rude.

I did wonder if there was some sort of history between the two women, since they seem determined to point out the other's failings in parenting and answering the door.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Thipu1 on October 23, 2012, 09:23:00 AM
Most TorT in our neighborhood is done in the afternoon because the YMCA has a party at 5 and there's a neat parade after dark.    Also, most kids seem to concentrate on the merchants along 7th Ave.  It's considered safe and the merchants seem to enjoy it, too.  Many of them are outside their shops in costume and dispensing treats from 5 gallon tins. 

I certainly don't think that 5 pm is too early, especially when the children are small.

The LW could easily had given out a few treats early but that could snowball.  If other kids see the children receiving treats, they're likely to start heading over. 

Still, I think the mother of the children was a bit out of line.  What's an extra piece of candy or two? 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Witty Username Goes Here on October 23, 2012, 09:27:21 AM
We don't have set hours for trick-or-treating.  And, we expect to get interrupted during dinner on Halloween.  The only time trick-or-treaters annoy me is when the house is clearly dark (we turn off all lights, including the porch light, when we're done for the night - usually about 9:00) and they ring the doorbell anyway.  Other than that, we don't care what time you come.  We're actually just happy to have trick-or-treaters.  Our last house, we would get 100+.  Here, on a good Halloween we'll get 10.  We still buy 20 bags of candy anyway. :)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: lowspark on October 23, 2012, 09:29:47 AM
It's not the LW's job to teach other people's children manners. If she didn't want to be interrupted she shouldn't have answered the door. Since she did answer, why not just give them candy? It wouldn't have taken any additional time.
I also don't think 5pm is an unreasonable time to start trick-or-treating.

This is exactly what I was going to say. If you answer the door, then give them candy. If you don't want to give them candy, don't answer the door. Simple as that.

We don't have set hours for TOT here, kids just go when they want. But mostly it runs from about 7 to 830 or so with the possibility of a few stragglers up to 9. So really, not before dusk. Five is pretty early and if someone knocked on my door that early I would definitely not be ready, so I probably wouldn't answer. I turn on my porch light if when I'm ready and turn it off when I run out or by about 9.

The mom calling her to compain though? That's pretty SS. I'd be willing to bet the kids ended up getting plenty of candy that night so what's one house more or less?
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 23, 2012, 09:31:38 AM
My guess is that mom wasn't complaining that they didn't get candy but that they were treated like they had done something wrong.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: audrey1962 on October 23, 2012, 09:35:10 AM
This is exactly what I was going to say. If you answer the door, then give them candy. If you don't want to give them candy, don't answer the door. Simple as that.

Agreed. And in my neighborhood, you turn your porch light on to signal that you are offering candy. No porch light means no candy. (Yes, the lights are on if it's still light out and when you approach the house you can tell if the light is on or not). So if your neighborhood is like mine, don't turn on the porch light until you're ready to offer candy.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 09:35:40 AM
Op might want to add to her post that it was intentional for the mother to turn them away to teach a lesson.  Especially adding this bit: 

I told them to come back later, when I wasn't eating dinner. I wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. An hour later I received a call from the boys' mother scolding me for sending them away.

This changes my view considerably.  Taking the OP's post at face value I think the complaining mom was overreacting.  However with actually reading the letter (thought the OP was thorough) the mom was indeed rude. 
 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: norrina on October 23, 2012, 09:36:58 AM
I'm appreciating the discussion.

I'm just going to respond quickly to those posters who have indicated their city doesn't have set hours and/or they don't know how set hours would work. The cities that I have lived in, TOT hours have started at 6pm, and ended between 7:30pm and 8:30pm, depending on the city. There really isn't any way to enforce the hours, but most TOTers seemed to respect the set hours voluntarily.

As far as how I've always "advertised" my house as welcoming TOTers, the most decorating I've ever done is the occasional Jack-o-Lantern. Typical in my neighborhoods has been light on = welcome, light off = please don't call.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: AylaM on October 23, 2012, 09:41:58 AM
I don't see where the letter writer told the kids to come back after dark.  She said after they were done eating.  Different.  It may be dark by that time, but the LW did not specify that.

The county I'm in has had ToT from 6-8 in the past.  At five I am not ready and not really expecting ToT, but might be expecting my cousins who drop by unannounced.

If there were set ToT hours and the kids fell outside of them, then I can't say she was wrong to send the kids away without candy.  She probably shouldn't use a thing like dinner being over as a good time to come back though.  She should have either cited the set ToT hours, told them she just wasn't ready and to come back in a little bit, or just given them candy.

The mom on the other hand was way out of line.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: magicdomino on October 23, 2012, 09:48:53 AM
As far as I know, there are no set hours in my neighborhood.  Sometimes a little one will appear while it is still light outside, but many people aren't home from work yet at 5:00, much less set up for trick-or-treaters.  Most TOTs come between 7:00 and 8:30, and I close for business at 9:00.

I'll be putting last minute touches on my Halloween decorations at 5:00.  However, I can stop and grab some candy for a little visitor.  I agree that the letter-writer should have either ignored the door, or gone ahead and passed out the candy.


As far as how I've always "advertised" my house as welcoming TOTers, the most decorating I've ever done is the occasional Jack-o-Lantern. Typical in my neighborhoods has been light on = welcome, light off = please don't call.

Somehwat off-topic:  None of my immediate neighbors celebrate Halloween, leaving me as the one spot of light on a dark block.  If I don't decorate the heck out of the yard, the kids won't bother to come.  A jack-o-lantern or two won't cut it.  Fortunately, I enjoy decorating the heck out of my yard. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Knitterly on October 23, 2012, 09:50:00 AM
I've never heard of set hours for trick or treating. 
5pm does seem a little early, but we are taking Little Knit out around 5:30.  We're only going to be doing a few houses, but her bedtime is at 6:30-7ish, and I want her to be able to enjoy it and not have it be stressful.

We usually start getting ToT-ers around 5:30 in my neighbourhood.  I think my earliest was a little one around 4:45 last year.

I'm curious to know how the kids are supposed to know when the LW is "done eating".  Mr K and I usually have dinner around 6:30, as do a lot of people I know.  I couldn't expect the neighbourhood kids to know that.  I think the LW was being a bit unfair.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 23, 2012, 09:56:37 AM
I gotta say, depending on where you live, it can start getting dark not that long after 5.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: lowspark on October 23, 2012, 09:57:45 AM
Op might want to add to her post that it was intentional for the mother to turn them away to teach a lesson.  Especially adding this bit: 

I told them to come back later, when I wasn't eating dinner. I wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. An hour later I received a call from the boys' mother scolding me for sending them away.

This changes my view considerably.  Taking the OP's post at face value I think the complaining mom was overreacting.  However with actually reading the letter (thought the OP was thorough) the mom was indeed rude.

Although this does establish the OP's motives, i.e. "to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives", I still read it as saying that the only part of that she verbalized was to come back after she ate dinner. Which, of course, is just plain silly if she expects them to know her dinner hours.

But again, if I were the mother, I would just tell my kids to not worry about what that grumpy lady said and hey! what kind of candy did you get, anything good? (In other words, bean dip.) I can't imagine what possible gain can come from calling the OP up to complain.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Zilla on October 23, 2012, 10:03:46 AM
Op might want to add to her post that it was intentional for the mother to turn them away to teach a lesson.  Especially adding this bit: 

I told them to come back later, when I wasn't eating dinner. I wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. An hour later I received a call from the boys' mother scolding me for sending them away.

This changes my view considerably.  Taking the OP's post at face value I think the complaining mom was overreacting.  However with actually reading the letter (thought the OP was thorough) the mom was indeed rude.

Although this does establish the OP's motives, i.e. "to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives", I still read it as saying that the only part of that she verbalized was to come back after she ate dinner. Which, of course, is just plain silly if she expects them to know her dinner hours.

But again, if I were the mother, I would just tell my kids to not worry about what that grumpy lady said and hey! what kind of candy did you get, anything good? (In other words, bean dip.) I can't imagine what possible gain can come from calling the OP up to complain.

Thinking that all parties are "reasonable" I have a feeling the letter writer might have said something more to that effect of her lesson she was determined to teach them.  It's one thing to tell them to come back later as they are eating dinner and another to think therefore influence your words to teach those boys a lesson in interrupting them!
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: HermioneGranger on October 23, 2012, 10:19:52 AM
In my neighborhood, you won't get any candy before 6, as most people get home from work between 5 and 6.  I've had kids banging on my (locked, storm) door at 5:30, when the porch light has also been out.  No parents, either, to tell them there is obviously no candy yet if the door is locked and the light is out.   ::)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: RegionMom on October 23, 2012, 10:23:22 AM
Well, I might not eat dinner till after 8pm, and not be all cleaned up till after 9pm, so the ToT'rs are just out of luck!!  Neener neener!!

Yeesh...these two women must have really easy lives, to be so rude to kidlets in costume. 

I like to sit in the driveway and watch the costumed ones go buy--my porch light is wonky, and I like the fun atmosphere of being outside.  The kids like the few less steps they have to take to get a treat from me.  No candy, too tempting for me.  But I do give wax fangs or lips, and spider rings!  Once I had squishy eyeball balls.   ;D
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: O'Dell on October 23, 2012, 10:34:00 AM
I think the LW is silly. If you aren't ready to give out candy, you leave the porch light off and don't answer the door if someone comes. When you are ready, you switch on the light and keep your shoes on. :P

I think the woman who called was silly too. In the end it's really just candy. I agree with Sharnita that the woman probably called because the LW implied that they did something wrong, but most neighborhoods have a grumpy neighbor or 2. Best just to teach kids that they are that way and to not take them too seriously.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 23, 2012, 11:52:47 AM
Although I would never call someone to complain about them turning my kid away, I can totally understand why the Mom was upset. 

Picture your kids, all dressed up, excited, gung-ho to trick-or-treat.  At a certain age, this might only be the second or third time they've ever even done it!  It is sort of scary to go up to a house and ring the doorbell--scary but thrilling because the people will be happy to see you and give you candy.

Then you come to the house that looks like WILL give you candy.  You ring the doorbell, you shout, "Trick or Treat!"  And, instead of a chuckle, a "how cute!" and a piece of candy, you get scolded and sent away.  This a complete downer, sort of scary but in a negative way and turns you off to the whole experience.  The LW basically sh*t on the Halloween experience for these kids.

"You'll shoot your eye out kid!"

The LW should be ashamed of herself.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 23, 2012, 12:52:36 PM
I really believe the letter writer must have said something very pointed to the boys to try to teach them a lesson.  The reason I feel this way is first, the boys remembered the exchange enough to comment about it to their mom.  I know after an hour of trick or treating my kids couldn't have told you which houses they had visited let alone who gave them candy and who didn't. 

Second, for the mom to make a point of calling the letter writer, what her boys told her had to be more than "Mrs. Grumpy said to come back after she was through with dinner."  It had to be at least "Mrs Grumpy said we were trick or treating too early."

If she didn't want her dinner disturb she shouldn't have opened the door. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 23, 2012, 01:02:52 PM
Actually, I wonder if the kids were so upset they quit trick or treating and went home and it took mom a while to calm them down before she called.

I was struck by the LW's phrasing - "When I answered, I was bombarded with requests for candy from three boys who live down the street."
I assume that bombarded with requests for candy means that she opened the door and the kids "trick or treat"  - which is protocol for somebody opening the door to trick or treaters.  She seems really unreasonable.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 23, 2012, 01:52:46 PM
We have set hours here.  5-8pm.  We get callers as early as 3:30, when most people here are at work. I've had neighbors comment on it both ways.  ( IE: Why can't people just be there, this one day for the kids? and Why do kids come that early?) and they seem to get here earlier each year.  There is one family that starts as soon as the kids get home from school and if there are cars in the drive the kids are encouraged by their parents (?)/caregivers(?) to just keep ringing the bell til they get a response. 
   I don't think the LW was very nice, but really if there are established hours and you go outside them, you can't expect to get candy at every house - decorated or not.   As to why she answered the door, perhaps she was expecting a delivery or something. ( I have a delivery from amazon, that I will have to sign for scheduled that day latest delivery time here is 5pm, so I can see it)  I would not expect early TOT'ers if that were not the way things were done. Heck I might not be set up until 4:59 and would not be wanting to take the time from my dinner to get candy out for early folks while I was eating. Asking them to come back during the established hours would be OK -- doing it nastily would not be.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: violinp on October 23, 2012, 02:12:59 PM
We have set hours in our hometown to trick or treat, but if kids show up early, we just give them the candy. It's usually very little ones (as in, need to be helped to toddle up the stairs), so I figure there's no harm.

I think the woman was rude to lecture the kids. It wasn't like they knocked at her door on purpose to specifically bother her or something; it's Halloween trick or treaters. True, they were a bit early, but if she was so against kids coming early, shouldn't she just have not answered the door? It's not like the kids would've waited at her house banging on the door until she opened it.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 24, 2012, 09:32:34 AM
I think our town sets hours, but I'm in the camp of "how long does it take to hand out two bits of candy?" Course if other people are out and see you're handing it out, that may get three more people out at five looking for Halloween candy before the TOT hours, and it would be an organization. Then you may get fifty people, and it would be a movement!  (joke)

Seriously though, don't know if anyone handled this right.

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on October 24, 2012, 10:10:19 AM
ToT'ing starts at about 5 here- after "normal" work hours, and ends around 830. It can be *really* cold by Hallowe'en, so the little kids can't always wait until after sundown (which, due to the region not being in our proper time zone, occurs an hour later than it should anyhow)

I am very suspicious that the letter-writer is exaggerating her "scolding" from the mom, since it's pretty obvious she over-reacted to a couple of small trick-or-treaters.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Jones on October 24, 2012, 11:39:09 AM
It is freaking snowing here right now! Not even Halloween yet...We may have to do the festivities a little early in the day 'cause there's no way we're slip and sliding in the dark.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Magnet on October 24, 2012, 11:49:47 AM
I live in an apartment building and people who want T or Ters sign up and indicate the hours for which candy will be dispensed.  I would not be happy if some child rang my bell before or after the time specified.  If there were continual ringing of my door before/after the specified time, I feel I am well within my rights to inform the child that he or she is disrupting my dinner and to go away and not come back until the time specified.   
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: sparksals on October 24, 2012, 11:51:11 AM
I have never heard of set hours either.  When I was a kid, we went out just at dark, around 5:30 PM and stayed out til around 9.  Sometimes we went home to dump off our first load.  I rarely see kids with pillow cases anymore. 


I think the lady who answered the door was really mean.  Sheeesh!  She took the time to answer the door.  What effort does it take to grab the bowl of candy? 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 24, 2012, 12:07:23 PM
I'm going to come off as the Halloween Grinch here, but...

When did simply being Halloween *entitle* kids to candy?  For me, the protocol was always go to the house, knock, say "trick or treat" in a sing-songy voice, and either:

a) Get complimented on my costume and get candy
b) Get complimented on my costume, but be told they were out of candy
c) Get sent away without candy
d) Get ignored.

And you know what happened with house b through d?  I went to the next house!  I agree that she probably shouldn't have answered the door if she'd already sat down to dinner, but just the act of opening the door doesn't require her to dispense candy like a gumball machine.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on October 24, 2012, 12:17:56 PM
Everything I've ever read says the "established protocol" if you don't want to hand out candy is to make it obvious you aren't offering any (any combination of: no decorations/porch light off/disconnect doorbell/polite sign on door). If you are home, and planning on handing out candy, then I don't see why you need to teach kids a "lesson" when they are doing something culturally appropriate at what most people seem to feel is a reasonable time, just because it's sooner than you'd like.

 If was handing out candy but didn't want to answer the door just then, I'd leave a prominent note and a small bowl of something relatively plain (to discourage someone wanting to grab the whole bowl of something really tempting).

We have so few chances to interact as a neighbourhood, its a shame when people on either side ruin it (either greedy parents driving kids around all night to the "good" neighborhoods"*, or cranky people yelling at kids for doing what they're told they are allowed to do).

*note: I don't count people who let their kids go around friends or grandparents neighbourhoods- or people who live in unsafe areas (I live off a busy street- we NEVER get ToT'ers :(  )- I mean people who bus in vanloads of kids to the rich areas to the point people get pissed off and stop giving out candy.

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 24, 2012, 12:24:10 PM
Around here, the protocol is no light visible in the house, period.  No lamps, no TV, the house has to be utterly dark or CANDY CANDY CANDY!

Yeah, no.  I don't think so, kid.  That said, this year we actually have the money to do candy giving, and if I have my way we're gonna.  I just hate the culture of "you HAVE to!"
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: O'Dell on October 24, 2012, 12:26:48 PM
I'm going to come off as the Halloween Grinch here, but...

When did simply being Halloween *entitle* kids to candy?  For me, the protocol was always go to the house, knock, say "trick or treat" in a sing-songy voice, and either:

a) Get complimented on my costume and get candy
b) Get complimented on my costume, but be told they were out of candy
c) Get sent away without candy
d) Get ignored.

And you know what happened with house b through d?  I went to the next house!  I agree that she probably shouldn't have answered the door if she'd already sat down to dinner, but just the act of opening the door doesn't require her to dispense candy like a gumball machine.

Except for c) that's how it worked when I was a kid. But I notice your list doesn't include e) go away and come back later. I think the LW would have been fine if she had said "I don't have the candy ready." It's the implication that the kids did somethign wrong with showing up when they did. I don't recall reading anything in the letter about set ToTing hours and I'd imagine this woman would have mentioned it to bolster her point that they were in the wrong.

And anyone answering their door to "teach" the kids a lesson on how to ToT would have been laughed at and mocked by us kids for the rest of the evening. And we might very well have deliberately "tricked" her in subsequent years because of it or maybe even that night. She should be happy that her neighbors kids aren't brats like the kids I grew up with. :D
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 24, 2012, 12:30:02 PM
Around here, the protocol is no light visible in the house, period.  No lamps, no TV, the house has to be utterly dark or CANDY CANDY CANDY!

Yeah, no.  I don't think so, kid.  That said, this year we actually have the money to do candy giving, and if I have my way we're gonna.  I just hate the culture of "you HAVE to!"


  I *HATE* that thinking.... if the porch light is off that should be enough.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Tabby Uprising on October 24, 2012, 12:41:23 PM
I have never heard of set hours either.  When I was a kid, we went out just at dark, around 5:30 PM and stayed out til around 9.  Sometimes we went home to dump off our first load.  I rarely see kids with pillow cases anymore. 


I think the lady who answered the door was really mean.  Sheeesh!  She took the time to answer the door.  What effort does it take to grab the bowl of candy?

I live in a huge neighborhood with a well-organized HOA.  We get monthly newsletters with all the community info/events and October's included helpful ToT tips and guidelines.  Nothing mandated or set in stone, but just suggestions to make it all go smoother.  They asked people not to ToT after 9pm, don't ring the doorbell/knock more than twice and give people a moment to answer, don't walk on yards or through flower beds and if you don't want to give out candy leave your porch light off.

We'll see how that goes!
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on October 24, 2012, 01:05:16 PM
I do like the towns that give out pumpkin posters (or similar) in the paper or flyers to signify a ToT'ing friendly house- seems like a good way to let families find friendly houses on Hallowe'en, especially if you live somewhere were some folks have become hostile to the custom.

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Jaelle on October 24, 2012, 01:06:34 PM
I also would like to know if the area has set ToT hours. I just checked the times for four communities here (I have them on my desk right now for various reasons ;)) and two of the four fall within that timeframe.

If the area doesn't have set hours or the set hours have already started, I think the LW was quite ... perhaps not rude, but unreasonable. I take my boys out trick-or-treating about that time. I wouldn't call someone to complain, but if they were scolded and sent away, I'd certainly be irritated. (This is presuming that the lights-on protocol is in effect, etc.)

If not, I understand her trying to teach them a lesson, but I don't really think it's her place. Answer the door or don't. ::)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: jedikaiti on October 24, 2012, 01:17:42 PM
I think the LW was rude and out of line, and so was the kids' mom.

I have, in the past, seen TOTers out as early as 3 - I hoped for the kids that lots of people were home that early!

I would not be surprised in the least if my town has set TOT hours - which I tend to think is a guideline for the safety & convenience of kids, parents, and those with candy to give, rather than a hard & fast rule - but I don't know anything about it, and the city website doesn't mention it.

Quite frankly, I think anything after school on a weekday (or similar time for a weekend) is fair game, but waiting until after-work hours is likely to maximize the fun & the haul for the kids.

I just wish parents would explain to their kids to NOT go up and ring bells at houses whose lights are off. We turned off our front light one year when we ran out of candy and half an hour later our doorbell rang. The dog went nuts and I got to explain to a disappointed teenager that we were out of candy, and any other house with their porch light off should be considered off limits, too. He was mystified.

AFAIK, municipalities setting TOT hours is a relatively recent development - I don't recall hearing of it as a kid, but I do recall one occasion when the city I lived in postponed Halloween for a week - it was very cold that year, and there was ice on the roads, so the city officials put out the word asking everyone to wait a week. A few kids came around on Halloween that year, but not many. Most everybody was OK with postponing.

I do like the towns that give out pumpkin posters (or similar) in the paper or flyers to signify a ToT'ing friendly house- seems like a good way to let families find friendly houses on Hallowe'en, especially if you live somewhere were some folks have become hostile to the custom.

When I lived in a large condo tower, the association put up flyers asking people who welcomed TOTers to register their unit # at the front desk. Then, on Halloween, parents could pick up a list and take their kids to just those units.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: magicdomino on October 24, 2012, 02:22:19 PM
I have never heard of set hours either.  When I was a kid, we went out just at dark, around 5:30 PM and stayed out til around 9.  Sometimes we went home to dump off our first load.  I rarely see kids with pillow cases anymore. 

6:30 to 9:00 myself -- our parents insisted that we wait until full dark to let people finish their dinner.  Now, it is 7:00 to 8:15, with maybe a straggler around 8:30.  Kids today have no stamina.   ;)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 24, 2012, 02:25:25 PM
I suspect the established hours exist for a few reasons - homeowners complained that they were being bugged for too long a period, safety for the kids and cities where crime and vandalism were particularly bad on Halloween and the surrounding nights.  If there are established hours and the police see kids out 2 hours after that they can treat it as suspicious behavior.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Deetee on October 24, 2012, 02:26:53 PM
The letter writer is ridiculous. 5:00 is close enough to reasonable Trick or Treating hours that you can expect the kids to start coming, so if she doesn't want to give candy at that time, she should turn off the porch light and then NOT answer the door.

No-one needs to give candy, but on Halloween in a trick or treating neighbourhood, you either shut off your lights and do no decorations (and no-one should come by) or put out the decorations and give candy.

Our street gets a lot of kids and the houses are about 50/50 as to whether they participate. I have never seen anyone approach an undecorated house with the porch light off.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 24, 2012, 02:48:29 PM
The letter writer is ridiculous. 5:00 is close enough to reasonable Trick or Treating hours that you can expect the kids to start coming, so if she doesn't want to give candy at that time, she should turn off the porch light and then NOT answer the door.

No-one needs to give candy, but on Halloween in a trick or treating neighbourhood, you either shut off your lights and do no decorations (and no-one should come by) or put out the decorations and give candy.

Our street gets a lot of kids and the houses are about 50/50 as to whether they participate. I have never seen anyone approach an undecorated house with the porch light off.

That's great for your area, but like I said, in some areas it's even more extreme.  I never decorate for Halloween, and I can't watch TV in my living room with the lights off because the ambient glow from the TV means I'll get doorbell ringing every couple of minutes.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: sparksals on October 24, 2012, 03:38:01 PM
I have never heard of set hours either.  When I was a kid, we went out just at dark, around 5:30 PM and stayed out til around 9.  Sometimes we went home to dump off our first load.  I rarely see kids with pillow cases anymore. 

6:30 to 9:00 myself -- our parents insisted that we wait until full dark to let people finish their dinner.  Now, it is 7:00 to 8:15, with maybe a straggler around 8:30.  Kids today have no stamina.   ;)

Where I grew up, it is fully dark at 5:30.  Kinda far north.  Long summer days.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 24, 2012, 05:48:01 PM
The letter writer is ridiculous. 5:00 is close enough to reasonable Trick or Treating hours that you can expect the kids to start coming, so if she doesn't want to give candy at that time, she should turn off the porch light and then NOT answer the door.

No-one needs to give candy, but on Halloween in a trick or treating neighbourhood, you either shut off your lights and do no decorations (and no-one should come by) or put out the decorations and give candy.

Our street gets a lot of kids and the houses are about 50/50 as to whether they participate. I have never seen anyone approach an undecorated house with the porch light off.

That's great for your area, but like I said, in some areas it's even more extreme.  I never decorate for Halloween, and I can't watch TV in my living room with the lights off because the ambient glow from the TV means I'll get doorbell ringing every couple of minutes.

I'll second that. In my neighborhood, even having cars in the drive means you get a continuously rung bell - even having a completely blackened house doesn't work and really - why should I have to sit in the dark with my car not even in  my drive because some entitled kid decides that because the car is there the house better cough up candy?  Or worse yet why should I have to leave my home because the kids don't want to follow the established and published in the newspaper, rules of the day?
   
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 24, 2012, 05:49:52 PM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 24, 2012, 06:47:45 PM
I'd put up a sign telling the children that I wouldn't be giving candy. It might not chase off all but I'm sure it'd do so for many.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 24, 2012, 06:59:27 PM
I'd put up a sign telling the children that I wouldn't be giving candy. It might not chase off all but I'm sure it'd do so for many.

Upside:  I wouldn't have to do grocery shopping for eggs for weeks.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on October 24, 2012, 07:29:09 PM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?

Probably since forever, since the very phrase "trick or treat" is basically a threat.... In the "good old days" boys in particular would be known to perform mild vandalism on houses that didn't fork over. I'd say the custom has become better behaved, not worse, in general over time.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 24, 2012, 07:40:18 PM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?

Probably since forever, since the very phrase "trick or treat" is basically a threat.... In the "good old days" boys in particular would be known to perform mild vandalism on houses that didn't fork over. I'd say the custom has become better behaved, not worse, in general over time.

"Over time" in a broad sense, yes.  But the last couple of decades it's been less destructive, but more demanding. I blame snowflakes.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: camlan on October 25, 2012, 07:50:53 AM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Jules1980 on October 25, 2012, 09:14:29 AM
Maybe its so that Trick or Treating won't interfere with church activities.  My old town used to change the day if it fell on a weekday or Friday night due to school/football games.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 25, 2012, 09:30:48 AM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?

At least since I was a kid. "Treat or trick" meant "Give me candy" when I was young (late 1960's to mid-1970's).  It wasn't like I was really asking, "Hey, do you want to get a trick tonight? If not, give me a treat!" 

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Yvaine on October 25, 2012, 09:53:03 AM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?

At least since I was a kid. "Treat or trick" meant "Give me candy" when I was young (late 1960's to mid-1970's).  It wasn't like I was really asking, "Hey, do you want to get a trick tonight? If not, give me a treat!"

It meant "give me candy" when I was a kid in the 80s too. I mean, it was the "ritual" phrase to ask for it, but that's what it really meant. And there were some adults who interpreted it as wanting kids to perform a "trick" (as in turning a cartwheel or singing a little song, not vandalism) in exchange for the candy.

There was still the vandalism aspect, but it was completely separate from trick-or-treating by that point. The older kids who went around egging and TPing were not the same kids who were going around asking for candy.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: magicdomino on October 25, 2012, 10:02:06 AM
I recently read a book on the history of Halloween.  The earliest mention of kids running around in costume dates to newspaper articles in the early 1800's about poor children disguising themselves and playing tricks on more well-to-do households.  (One suspects that children from those well-to-do households were sneaking out and doing the same thing, but the po' kids got the blame.)  Halloween was all about the tricks until the beginning of the 20th century, when a woman wrote a magazine article recommending inviting the little hooligans in for punch and cookies.  The children would be too distracted and happy about the goodies to put flaming bags of poo on the porch.  By the 1930's, some kids were starting to ask "Trick or Treat" but the trick was still a real threat.  By the 1960's, when I started trick or treating, gathering as much candy as possible was our goal, although teenage boys continued the trick condition (I remember being frightened by boys throwing firecrackers at the younger kids.)

On the whole, I prefer Halloween being all about the candy.  We had to padlock our mailbox to prevent it being blown up by a cherry bomb. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 25, 2012, 10:03:10 AM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?

At least since I was a kid. "Treat or trick" meant "Give me candy" when I was young (late 1960's to mid-1970's).  It wasn't like I was really asking, "Hey, do you want to get a trick tonight? If not, give me a treat!"

It meant "give me candy" when I was a kid in the 80s too. I mean, it was the "ritual" phrase to ask for it, but that's what it really meant. And there were some adults who interpreted it as wanting kids to perform a "trick" (as in turning a cartwheel or singing a little song, not vandalism) in exchange for the candy.

There was still the vandalism aspect, but it was completely separate from trick-or-treating by that point. The older kids who went around egging and TPing were not the same kids who were going around asking for candy.

Well, there's a vast difference between "give me candy" and "gimme candy!", if you get my meaning.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Deetee on October 25, 2012, 10:07:00 PM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?

At least since I was a kid. "Treat or trick" meant "Give me candy" when I was young (late 1960's to mid-1970's).  It wasn't like I was really asking, "Hey, do you want to get a trick tonight? If not, give me a treat!"

It meant "give me candy" when I was a kid in the 80s too. I mean, it was the "ritual" phrase to ask for it, but that's what it really meant. And there were some adults who interpreted it as wanting kids to perform a "trick" (as in turning a cartwheel or singing a little song, not vandalism) in exchange for the candy.

There was still the vandalism aspect, but it was completely separate from trick-or-treating by that point. The older kids who went around egging and TPing were not the same kids who were going around asking for candy.

Well, there's a vast difference between "give me candy" and "gimme candy!", if you get my meaning.

I can't answer when it changed because I have not seen a "Gimme candy" attitude. We get over a 100 trick or treaters on Halloween and they pretty much all say thank-you and make the candy giving well worth while. And as soon as the lights are turned off, they stop coming to my house.

I love me some Halloween in my neighbourhood!
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: kareng57 on October 25, 2012, 10:22:52 PM
Y'know, it's been literally years since I've read a newspaper.  But the basic point still stands, when did it go from "trick or treat" to "gimme candy!"?

At least since I was a kid. "Treat or trick" meant "Give me candy" when I was young (late 1960's to mid-1970's).  It wasn't like I was really asking, "Hey, do you want to get a trick tonight? If not, give me a treat!"

It meant "give me candy" when I was a kid in the 80s too. I mean, it was the "ritual" phrase to ask for it, but that's what it really meant. And there were some adults who interpreted it as wanting kids to perform a "trick" (as in turning a cartwheel or singing a little song, not vandalism) in exchange for the candy.

There was still the vandalism aspect, but it was completely separate from trick-or-treating by that point. The older kids who went around egging and TPing were not the same kids who were going around asking for candy.

Well, there's a vast difference between "give me candy" and "gimme candy!", if you get my meaning.

I can't answer when it changed because I have not seen a "Gimme candy" attitude. We get over a 100 trick or treaters on Halloween and they pretty much all say thank-you and make the candy giving well worth while. And as soon as the lights are turned off, they stop coming to my house.

I love me some Halloween in my neighbourhood!


I too don't really understand the issue here.  Of course there has always been the "threat" of vandalism, but as PPs have said, that was a lot more common 70 or 80 years ago than today.  I do remember a few jerks back in my heyday (1960s or so) who would say "then come on, what kind of a trick are you going to do?" and make the ToTs pretty uncomfortable.  But honestly, for most kids it was (and is) simply a phrase.

I made sure that my kids said Thank You, and I've noticed that the vast majority of current ToTs do that today, as well.

If anyone is so soured on the whole experience, then I agree, turn off the porchlight and and/or stay in a backroom or bedroom to watch TV or do computerwork, if you're so convinced that any visible light in the living area will cause kids to ring the doorbell.

We've never had designated ToT hours in my metro area, although I wouldn't have a problem with them.  Around 8:15 pm is when I plan to turn out the porch light, anyway.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 25, 2012, 10:25:12 PM
I guess if people are that rude and demanding in your area on Halloween night they are probably rude and demanding in general. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 25, 2012, 10:40:56 PM
I guess if people are that rude and demanding in your area on Halloween night they are probably rude and demanding in general.

but usually they are not ringing my bell enmass
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: ettiquit on October 27, 2012, 01:07:47 PM
Everywhere that I've lived in my entire life has had set TOT hours.  This year the hours are 6-8, so when I read this letter I assumed that they purposefully ate dinner at 5:00 because that was before TOT was officially set to begin.  Granted, we have no way of knowing whether there were set hours or not, but if those boys came well before the start of TOT, they were rude.  I personally would not have used the situation as a "teaching moment", but I kind of get her doing that.   
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 27, 2012, 01:09:52 PM
Everywhere that I've lived in my entire life has had set TOT hours.  This year the hours are 6-8, so when I read this letter I assumed that they purposefully ate dinner at 5:00 because that was before TOT was officially set to begin.  Granted, we have no way of knowing whether there were set hours or not, but if those boys came well before the start of TOT, they were rude.  I personally would not have used the situation as a "teaching moment", but I kind of get her doing that.

See, I kind of thought that if that were the situation she would have mentioned it and told them "come back during the designated hours".
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 27, 2012, 10:49:59 PM
Having re-read the letter it sounds to me that she planned her dinner so she would be done before the trick or treaters would normally have been expected. How would she know what time to be able to plan dinner if there were not set hours? If it were "open season" all day, there really would be no time to she could plan for an uninterrupted dinner.
  Her statements that she "wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. "  and that she "sitting down for an early dinner that was planned for 5 p.m. so we wouldn't be disturbed by trick-or-treaters" leads me to believe that there are established hours and the kids violated them. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on October 27, 2012, 10:58:13 PM
Or, just as easily, that she never let/lets her kids go out before "X" hour, so no one else should either. I would be surprised that someone as "precise" sounding as the letter writer would leave out something that would cast her in a much stronger position, and that she would not bring that up to the mother when she called. We could come up with all kinds of reasons why she could be in the right-- but really, we can't go by much more than what she wrote, and what she wrote makes her look like a bit of a grouch.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 27, 2012, 11:11:04 PM
no matter how much of a grouch she is the other mother was out of line to even call her.  That in and of itself, puts the other mother in ehell for me, much more than the lady who sent the kids away.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on October 27, 2012, 11:38:04 PM
Again, it would depend on exactly what was said. If my children came back very upset after being told off, I would certainly call someone to ask them why they talked to my kids that way. Or yes, the letter writer could have been quite polite to the children and the mother was in fact being a SS. We don't know, because we don't know what the mother actually said when she phoned, so I'm not willing to cast her into ehell on the basis of a vague recount of the facts. I'm not seeing that the act of calling is out of line- it could be justified or not depending on context.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Raintree on October 28, 2012, 12:31:01 AM
IMO, it's pretty simple. If you aren't welcoming TOT'ers on Halloween night, turn off your porch light, bring your pumpkin inside and don't answer the door. (Or if it's daylight and the porch light wouldn't be on anyway, just don't answer the door). I think 5 PM is just a tad early and a bit odd to do it during daylight hours; people are just getting home from work and probably aren't ready yet; it's traditionally an evening activity. When I was a kid, the much younger kids started at maybe 6 at the very earliest; older kids would go maybe 7 to 8.

I was always taught not to knock on doors that had no porch light on, as this is an indicator that the people inside don't want TOT'ers.

(I have never heard of set TOT hours. Who decides and enforces this?)

I do think the LW was well within her rights to tell the kids to come back later, though it would have been much simpler not to answer the door. The mother who called to tell her off was way out of line. Her little darlings are not entitled to anything, and nobody is obligated to participate in Halloween. (FYI I enjoy having kids come round and giving them treats and I would be surprised but not perturbed to see them come at 5).
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: ettiquit on October 28, 2012, 08:20:20 AM
IMO, it's pretty simple. If you aren't welcoming TOT'ers on Halloween night, turn off your porch light, bring your pumpkin inside and don't answer the door. (Or if it's daylight and the porch light wouldn't be on anyway, just don't answer the door). I think 5 PM is just a tad early and a bit odd to do it during daylight hours; people are just getting home from work and probably aren't ready yet; it's traditionally an evening activity. When I was a kid, the much younger kids started at maybe 6 at the very earliest; older kids would go maybe 7 to 8.

I was always taught not to knock on doors that had no porch light on, as this is an indicator that the people inside don't want TOT'ers.

(I have never heard of set TOT hours. Who decides and enforces this?)

I do think the LW was well within her rights to tell the kids to come back later, though it would have been much simpler not to answer the door. The mother who called to tell her off was way out of line. Her little darlings are not entitled to anything, and nobody is obligated to participate in Halloween. (FYI I enjoy having kids come round and giving them treats and I would be surprised but not perturbed to see them come at 5).

Each community sets their hours, which are published in newspapers and shared on the local news.  Honestly, it's such an accepted practice where I live that I don't think it's necessary for anyone to "enforce" them.  It actually didn't even occur to me that people would TOT outside the set hours (I expect a 10 minute window at start and finish). 

I really wish the LW had specified whether there were set hours, although maybe she assumed (like me) that everyplace operated that way.  Also, she only mentions these 3 kids (from the same house) coming early.  If there weren't set hours, wouldn't more kids be showing up? (We don't know the neighborhood, # of kids, parent's work schedule, etc).


Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: camlan on October 28, 2012, 09:33:09 AM
IMO, it's pretty simple. If you aren't welcoming TOT'ers on Halloween night, turn off your porch light, bring your pumpkin inside and don't answer the door. (Or if it's daylight and the porch light wouldn't be on anyway, just don't answer the door). I think 5 PM is just a tad early and a bit odd to do it during daylight hours; people are just getting home from work and probably aren't ready yet; it's traditionally an evening activity. When I was a kid, the much younger kids started at maybe 6 at the very earliest; older kids would go maybe 7 to 8.
[snip]

(I have never heard of set TOT hours. Who decides and enforces this?)


Depending on where you live, 5 pm can be dusk, if not all the way dark. If you are on the eastern edge of a time zone, sunset is just about an hour earlier than if you are on the western edge of the same time zone.

My town has decided, along with several others in my state, to hold TOT on Tuesday night*, instead of Wednesday. There's a few towns in my state that have made the official TOT date Saturday or Sunday. (Please don't ask me why; I haven't a clue.)

No one really enforces this--if someone knocks on my door at 4:30, I'm not calling the police. I think the set hours are to spare people from getting random knocks on the door at 10 pm or later. The different dates? I'll have candy ready on Tuesday (or whatever date they decide will be the hurricane rain date) and only that day. Someone could go out another day, but I doubt they'd get any candy.

*Which is the day Hurricane Sandy, or it's remnants, will be descending on us, so who knows what will happen?
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Outdoor Girl on October 28, 2012, 09:41:40 AM
Growing up, we never had set ToT hours but it was typical for the doorbell to start ringing shortly after 6:00 and quit by about 8:30.  There were outliers - the one kid who walked the 3 miles all the way into the subdivision to have a larger haul usually knocked on the door about 5:30 and a few of the older kids were closer to 9:00.

I don't blame the mother for being a bit miffed that the kids showed up so early but what she should have done was not answer the door.  Once she answered the door, she should have just given them the candy.

I don't turn my porch light on until I'm ready to hand out candy.  And I turn it out when I'm done handing out candy.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: peaches on October 28, 2012, 09:56:16 AM
We don't have set hours in our neighborhood. The trick-or-treaters start around 6 p.m. and go on until 9 or so.

DH and I take turns answering the door, and we really don't care when they start. The youngest kids come earliest, which makes sense. They can see better during the daylight, and aren't as apt to fall down the steps or become frightened. We've probably had some between 5 and 6 p.m.  I certainly wouldn't turn them away.

The last few years, DH and I have turned off the lights at 9 p.m., then gone out to eat!

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: lowspark on October 29, 2012, 08:04:03 AM
Having re-read the letter it sounds to me that she planned her dinner so she would be done before the trick or treaters would normally have been expected. How would she know what time to be able to plan dinner if there were not set hours? If it were "open season" all day, there really would be no time to she could plan for an uninterrupted dinner.
  Her statements that she "wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. "  and that she "sitting down for an early dinner that was planned for 5 p.m. so we wouldn't be disturbed by trick-or-treaters" leads me to believe that there are established hours and the kids violated them.

Where I live, Houston, there are no set hours for ToT. But no, it's not "open season" all day long. It's dusk to about 8:30 with stragglers till 9. And this is what it has been since I was a kid in the 60s.

Everyone eats dinner -- even the kids -- and THEN the ToTing begins. Dusk here is around 630 and that's pretty much when we get our earliest customers.

Now, I realize that different cities/communites have different norms and expectations but I can't imagine that any place has "open season" all day.


Each community sets their hours, which are published in newspapers and shared on the local news.  Honestly, it's such an accepted practice where I live that I don't think it's necessary for anyone to "enforce" them.  It actually didn't even occur to me that people would TOT outside the set hours (I expect a 10 minute window at start and finish). 

I really wish the LW had specified whether there were set hours, although maybe she assumed (like me) that everyplace operated that way.  Also, she only mentions these 3 kids (from the same house) coming early.  If there weren't set hours, wouldn't more kids be showing up? (We don't know the neighborhood, # of kids, parent's work schedule, etc).


Seems that if she assumed such a thing, she'd have done some research to find out IF that were indeed the case and most especially, what the specific set hours were. It's one thing to assume that there ARE set hours, it's a whole other thing to assume what those hours actually are, as I'm sure they vary according to location.

Again, there aren't set hours here, as far as the city or community mandating them, but we just don't get early birds because the norm is to begin at dusk.

I'm guessing that Mom in this case got a bit overenthusiastic and didn't think about how early the kids were going. When my kids were young, sure, they wanted to run out the door and ToT asap. But it was up to me to calm them down a bit and get some dinner into them and then have them wait till the appropriate time.

Again, LW should have just not answered the door. End of story. But I can tell you that as a mother, even if (or maybe especially if) my kids had come home with a story of a rude lady turning them away with a lecture, my reaction would be "avoid that house and that lady, enjoy your candy, and forget about it." The idea of calling her up to chastise her in return is rude and totally unproductive.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: ettiquit on October 29, 2012, 10:36:48 AM
Having re-read the letter it sounds to me that she planned her dinner so she would be done before the trick or treaters would normally have been expected. How would she know what time to be able to plan dinner if there were not set hours? If it were "open season" all day, there really would be no time to she could plan for an uninterrupted dinner.
  Her statements that she "wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. "  and that she "sitting down for an early dinner that was planned for 5 p.m. so we wouldn't be disturbed by trick-or-treaters" leads me to believe that there are established hours and the kids violated them.

Where I live, Houston, there are no set hours for ToT. But no, it's not "open season" all day long. It's dusk to about 8:30 with stragglers till 9. And this is what it has been since I was a kid in the 60s.

Everyone eats dinner -- even the kids -- and THEN the ToTing begins. Dusk here is around 630 and that's pretty much when we get our earliest customers.

Now, I realize that different cities/communites have different norms and expectations but I can't imagine that any place has "open season" all day.


Each community sets their hours, which are published in newspapers and shared on the local news.  Honestly, it's such an accepted practice where I live that I don't think it's necessary for anyone to "enforce" them.  It actually didn't even occur to me that people would TOT outside the set hours (I expect a 10 minute window at start and finish). 

I really wish the LW had specified whether there were set hours, although maybe she assumed (like me) that everyplace operated that way.  Also, she only mentions these 3 kids (from the same house) coming early.  If there weren't set hours, wouldn't more kids be showing up? (We don't know the neighborhood, # of kids, parent's work schedule, etc).


Seems that if she assumed such a thing, she'd have done some research to find out IF that were indeed the case and most especially, what the specific set hours were. It's one thing to assume that there ARE set hours, it's a whole other thing to assume what those hours actually are, as I'm sure they vary according to location.

Again, there aren't set hours here, as far as the city or community mandating them, but we just don't get early birds because the norm is to begin at dusk.

I'm guessing that Mom in this case got a bit overenthusiastic and didn't think about how early the kids were going. When my kids were young, sure, they wanted to run out the door and ToT asap. But it was up to me to calm them down a bit and get some dinner into them and then have them wait till the appropriate time.

Again, LW should have just not answered the door. End of story. But I can tell you that as a mother, even if (or maybe especially if) my kids had come home with a story of a rude lady turning them away with a lecture, my reaction would be "avoid that house and that lady, enjoy your candy, and forget about it." The idea of calling her up to chastise her in return is rude and totally unproductive.

Sorry - I meant that she may have not included that detail in her letter because she assumed that set hours were a given.  :)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: lowspark on October 29, 2012, 11:02:43 AM
OIC. :)

I guess we all have that experience about something. You know, the realization that the way we've always done things isn't actually the way everyone else does. And of course, it never occurs to (general) you that others might be doing that thing differently till you actually find out they are. So yeah, I actually never heard of set hours, or changing the ToT day (horrors!) to any day but Oct 31, till I read it on the internet a few years ago.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Shoo on October 29, 2012, 11:08:32 AM
I can't imagine being so inflexible that I'd refuse to give candy to some toddlers on Halloween just because they rang my bell when we were having dinner.  I mean, seriously?  That's just all kinds of rigid.  Life is too short, KWIM?

I also can't imagine being so upset by my toddlers not receiving candy on Halloween from the rigid-witch-of-the-west that I'd bother to contact her about it.  That's just as nuts, IMO.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Tierrainney on October 29, 2012, 11:20:59 AM
Well, the children of the Dear Abby letter better not be toddlers, or why wasn't their Mother with them to hear what the letter writter was saying.

As far as I know, No town I've lived in the US has ever had set Trick or Treat hours. I tried to find it for my current city, and the only things posted about Halloween are the parade at the community center and the Downtown business trick or treat that happened last Thursday.

My only problem with Halloween are people who don't seem to know that no outside lights means no candy. We don't get it a lot. But every year or two some one knocks/rings after we are done and have turned out all outside lights.

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 29, 2012, 11:23:44 AM
I can't imagine being so inflexible that I'd refuse to give candy to some toddlers on Halloween just because they rang my bell when we were having dinner.  I mean, seriously?  That's just all kinds of rigid.  Life is too short, KWIM?

I also can't imagine being so upset by my toddlers not receiving candy on Halloween from the rigid-witch-of-the-west that I'd bother to contact her about it.  That's just as nuts, IMO.

Once again, I don't think the call came because the kids didn't get candy.  I think it was possible they were scared to go anywhere else after getting in trouble with the LW for fear that other people might scold them too.  I absolutely wouldn't care if they didn't get candy at her house but I could see how that might be the end of their trick or treating, at least for that year and I could actually see wanting to call about that.  I don't think I would, mostly because it is pointless to try to explain to somebody like that how the potential impact of what they have done/said but I can see this having far more impact then "no candy" from that house.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 29, 2012, 12:10:05 PM
Having re-read the letter it sounds to me that she planned her dinner so she would be done before the trick or treaters would normally have been expected. How would she know what time to be able to plan dinner if there were not set hours? If it were "open season" all day, there really would be no time to she could plan for an uninterrupted dinner.
  Her statements that she "wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. "  and that she "sitting down for an early dinner that was planned for 5 p.m. so we wouldn't be disturbed by trick-or-treaters" leads me to believe that there are established hours and the kids violated them.

Where I live, Houston, there are no set hours for ToT. But no, it's not "open season" all day long. It's dusk to about 8:30 with stragglers till 9. And this is what it has been since I was a kid in the 60s.

Everyone eats dinner -- even the kids -- and THEN the ToTing begins. Dusk here is around 630 and that's pretty much when we get our earliest customers.

Now, I realize that different cities/communites have different norms and expectations but I can't imagine that any place has "open season" all day.
snip

I'm in Houston as well and had always thought of the hours being exactly as you stated and never heard of set hours.

I was suprised a few years ago that our neighborhood Mom's group planned for the members to take their kids out starting at 5 "so that they'd be done before dusk".   The Mom's group was mostly comprised of mom's of toddlers.  I mentioned to one of the organizers that a lot of families wouldn't even be home from work yet to start giving out candy.  In our new neighborhood, I've noticed something similar. Parent's with toddlers seem to start out early and finish up before dark, and then there is a second wave starting around 6:30 of kids who come to the doors by themselves (or in packs) but the parents are walking along the sidewalk.  And around 7:30 the older kids come through till around 8:30 or 9. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Giggity on October 29, 2012, 12:19:29 PM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.

Halloween is October 31. Since when did the date become negotiable?
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Jones on October 29, 2012, 12:19:45 PM
I poked around locally to see if there are "official hours". The Mayor's Walk (costume parade in midtown) is at 4, so TorTing can start after that.


Four o'clock....seriously there's barely any time to get the kids into their costumes after school, and that's if the "fun parent" is off work by four....sigh.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: HenrysMom on October 29, 2012, 12:24:22 PM
At 5p.m., most people aren't off work yet, much less sitting down to dinner.  I know that I certainly wouldn't be ready for TOT'ers by then.  I think the kids were overenthusiastic and the mother sent them TOT rather than deal with them.  LW shouldn't have answered the door, and the mother shouldn't have called to berate the LW.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Knitterly on October 29, 2012, 12:26:17 PM
Likewise, I poked around my city's website to see if there are set hours.  There are not.  But we did get a flyer in the mail letting us know that students from the local high school would be coming around to collect donations of non-perishable food for the city food bank.  The hours on the flyer are 5pm-9pm.

I agree with all others who say that if you're not ready for TOT-ers, just don't answer the door.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 29, 2012, 12:47:31 PM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.

Halloween is October 31. Since when did the date become negotiable?

Well, the is MLK's real birthday and then the day we officially recognize him.  And then the scheduling of Presidents' Day which moved away from the recognition of the actual birth dates of specific presidents. And a bunch of other holidays we recognize on Monday so that it can be a long weekend. I don't think the idea of rescheduling the observation of a holiday is all that out there.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: O'Dell on October 29, 2012, 12:59:51 PM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.

Halloween is October 31. Since when did the date become negotiable?

I've heard of communities switching the day if Oct. 31 falls on a Sunday, but not for other dates. I did live in one community that was originally founded by a group of Brethren and the university that they had founded there didn't have classes on Wednesday due to some Brethren custom. Maybe something like that?

ETA: Heh...I googled ToT in my area out of curiosity and it's 6-8pm in my city. Who knew?! :D Some communities around here start at 5pm and 5:30pm.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: violinp on October 29, 2012, 06:19:36 PM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.

Halloween is October 31. Since when did the date become negotiable?

Lots of cities move it it's on a Sunday.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: jedikaiti on October 29, 2012, 10:02:13 PM
Having re-read the letter it sounds to me that she planned her dinner so she would be done before the trick or treaters would normally have been expected. How would she know what time to be able to plan dinner if there were not set hours? If it were "open season" all day, there really would be no time to she could plan for an uninterrupted dinner.
  Her statements that she "wanted to teach them that they shouldn't overextend the holiday and disrupt other people's lives. "  and that she "sitting down for an early dinner that was planned for 5 p.m. so we wouldn't be disturbed by trick-or-treaters" leads me to believe that there are established hours and the kids violated them.

Where I live, Houston, there are no set hours for ToT. But no, it's not "open season" all day long. It's dusk to about 8:30 with stragglers till 9. And this is what it has been since I was a kid in the 60s.

Everyone eats dinner -- even the kids -- and THEN the ToTing begins. Dusk here is around 630 and that's pretty much when we get our earliest customers.

Now, I realize that different cities/communites have different norms and expectations but I can't imagine that any place has "open season" all day.
snip

I'm in Houston as well and had always thought of the hours being exactly as you stated and never heard of set hours.

I was suprised a few years ago that our neighborhood Mom's group planned for the members to take their kids out starting at 5 "so that they'd be done before dusk".   The Mom's group was mostly comprised of mom's of toddlers.  I mentioned to one of the organizers that a lot of families wouldn't even be home from work yet to start giving out candy.  In our new neighborhood, I've noticed something similar. Parent's with toddlers seem to start out early and finish up before dark, and then there is a second wave starting around 6:30 of kids who come to the doors by themselves (or in packs) but the parents are walking along the sidewalk.  And around 7:30 the older kids come through till around 8:30 or 9.

I can see wanting to take the toddlers out that early - taking them out later could be keeping them up past their bedtime!
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Kariachi on October 30, 2012, 09:20:20 AM
Discussed this with the family, we're in agreement- if you show up at the house, in costume, on the 31st, asking for candy, and we have candy, you're good. Now that I've said that, somebody will show up at 1 am...  :D

The idea of turning someone away because you don't want to give away candy yet is so foreign as to be odd.

Also, in my area two of the major towns have ToT hours, but the rest of the county has no set times.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Jones on October 30, 2012, 09:30:26 AM
I just heard on the radio the announcement regarding ToTing in the next town over (about 30 minutes away) Time starts at....drum roll please....3:00 PM!

Sure beats the 4:00 in my town. Kids and I might head on over there for a half hour then come back to finish up the night by 5:30.  ::)  ;D
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Giggity on October 30, 2012, 11:28:40 AM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.

Halloween is October 31. Since when did the date become negotiable?

Lots of cities move it it's on a Sunday.

But that's not the 31st. It's not Halloween if it happens on any day that's not October 31. You can call it whatever else you want, but Halloween is October 31. That's just how it is.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Jones on October 30, 2012, 11:31:50 AM
They didn't move Halloween though, just part of the celebration. As mentioned previously, this happens all the time for "little" holidays like Columbus Day and MLK Day.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 30, 2012, 11:57:41 AM
I'm pretty sure that in Detroit there is a curfew of 8 pm for kids 15 and under and 9 pm for kids 16 and under tonight and tomorrow because of issues with crime.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 12:33:55 PM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.

Halloween is October 31. Since when did the date become negotiable?

Lots of cities move it it's on a Sunday.

But that's not the 31st. It's not Halloween if it happens on any day that's not October 31. You can call it whatever else you want, but Halloween is October 31. That's just how it is.

Don't offices hold their Christmas parties on days other than Christmas?  Same situation here.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Donovan on October 30, 2012, 12:54:33 PM
I've always lived where there were set hours for ToTing.  I just checked and it is 5:30 to 7 - and they just changed it to Sat night because of Hurricane Sandy's weather.

Not sure why I feel this way but after reading the letter I got the feeling there were set hours (overextending the holiday) and I also think there might be past problems with the letter writer and the family because of the way she described the children.

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sophia on October 30, 2012, 01:38:08 PM
I don't understand the problem.  It is simple.

Was the light ON?

If yes, they were ready to hand out candy.
If no, they were not ready to hand out candy.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 02:17:15 PM
I don't understand the problem.  It is simple.

Was the light ON?

If yes, they were ready to hand out candy.
If no, they were not ready to hand out candy.

Again, not all areas are that binary.  Around here, "the light" refers to any visible light within the structure of the house.  *Any*, nightlights included if they can be seen from the street.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on October 30, 2012, 02:19:46 PM
Well, you definately live in an extreme area for that and I'd consider bringing it up with the city to see if they can do some "public awareness" about the issue in the schools/newspaper/radio- maybe with some volunteer neighbourhood patrols for the first year to redirect kids.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 30, 2012, 03:38:57 PM
Well, you definately live in an extreme area for that and I'd consider bringing it up with the city to see if they can do some "public awareness" about the issue in the schools/newspaper/radio- maybe with some volunteer neighbourhood patrols for the first year to redirect kids.

It's that way with me too and we do advertise "porch light out, no candy there." in the town I live in. Teachers do a lesson with kids, Churches do this, and so do community centers. It's just obnoxiously pervasive.  The kids still start as soon as they get home school, and will ring the bell til you come out - then candy is expected.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 04:02:35 PM
Well, you definately live in an extreme area for that and I'd consider bringing it up with the city to see if they can do some "public awareness" about the issue in the schools/newspaper/radio- maybe with some volunteer neighbourhood patrols for the first year to redirect kids.

Not likely in a big city (we've got enough murders to drown out many human interest stories...)  One of the reasons I'm looking forward to moving.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 30, 2012, 04:07:26 PM
My town not only sets hours for TOT--from 5 to 8 pm, but this year, for reasons I can't fathom, they have changed the day. Official TOT will take place on Tuesday, the 30th, instead of Wednesday, the 31st. One place where I lived as a kid did this as well. I've no idea why. One of the neighboring towns has done the same. Makes absolutely no sense. Last year, TOT was on the 31st.

Halloween is October 31. Since when did the date become negotiable?

Lots of cities move it it's on a Sunday.

But that's not the 31st. It's not Halloween if it happens on any day that's not October 31. You can call it whatever else you want, but Halloween is October 31. That's just how it is.

Don't offices hold their Christmas parties on days other than Christmas?  Same situation here.

I disagree.  Sure, have a Halloween party on a convenient day/date (say the Saturday before Halloween).  But trick-or-treating?  It is only a one day deal and that day is October 31st.  Like St. Patrick's Day--which is ONLY March 17th.  Changing the date of trick-or-treating is just wrong, fundamentally WRONG.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 04:12:36 PM
Actually, originally the Celts held Samhain "on or around" the 31st of October, and it's only when it was absorbed and linked to All Saints Day that it was given a specific day on the calendar.

That said, if there was a blizzard that snowed in my family for Christmas, and we couldn't get together for gift giving until the 5th of January, my Christmas would be January 5th that year.  Because holidays aren't about the calendar, they're about community.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 30, 2012, 04:14:24 PM
Actually, originally the Celts held Samhain "on or around" the 31st of October, and it's only when it was absorbed and linked to All Saints Day that it was given a specific day on the calendar.

That said, if there was a blizzard that snowed in my family for Christmas, and we couldn't get together for gift giving until the 5th of January, my Christmas would be January 5th that year.  Because holidays aren't about the calendar, they're about community.

Granted.  But would you go trick-or-treating on November 10th? 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 04:16:59 PM
Actually, originally the Celts held Samhain "on or around" the 31st of October, and it's only when it was absorbed and linked to All Saints Day that it was given a specific day on the calendar.

That said, if there was a blizzard that snowed in my family for Christmas, and we couldn't get together for gift giving until the 5th of January, my Christmas would be January 5th that year.  Because holidays aren't about the calendar, they're about community.

Granted.  But would you go trick-or-treating on November 10th?

If the city got shut down until then, and that's the day that the community agreed it would be moved to?  Yeah, I would. I certainly wouldn't go wading door to door, asking for candy while people are trying to get their power restored so they could call their insurance agents.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Mikayla on October 30, 2012, 04:32:03 PM
My roomie and I were talking about this just last night.  I grew up outside Chitown, and I'm positive we did our ToT-ing on the 30th in some cases.  I don't remember what decided it.  It might have been to avoid a Saturday night, for example.  But when I asked her what night they trick or treat here, she looked at me as if I was nuts!
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 30, 2012, 04:37:33 PM
Actually, originally the Celts held Samhain "on or around" the 31st of October, and it's only when it was absorbed and linked to All Saints Day that it was given a specific day on the calendar.

That said, if there was a blizzard that snowed in my family for Christmas, and we couldn't get together for gift giving until the 5th of January, my Christmas would be January 5th that year.  Because holidays aren't about the calendar, they're about community.

Granted.  But would you go trick-or-treating on November 10th?

If the city got shut down until then, and that's the day that the community agreed it would be moved to?  Yeah, I would. I certainly wouldn't go wading door to door, asking for candy while people are trying to get their power restored so they could call their insurance agents.

Eh, I wouldn't.  By then, I'm ready to move on to Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: SiotehCat on October 30, 2012, 04:48:07 PM
I also don't agree with changing the day for trick or treating. I give out candy one day of the year and thats on Halloween.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 04:51:59 PM
So in the case of a natural disaster like this, the kids lose out on Halloween on top of the upheaval of the disaster?
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 30, 2012, 06:40:54 PM
So in the case of a natural disaster like this, the kids lose out on Halloween on top of the upheaval of the disaster?

Sorry but yes.  The adults who lived through the natural disaster are likely also traumatized and need to worry about things like food, shelter, dealing with insurance and governmental agencies rather than passing on candies to tots. It's too bad that Sandy interfered with Halloween for the kids but sometimes bigger concerns take precedence. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 07:26:22 PM
So in the case of a natural disaster like this, the kids lose out on Halloween on top of the upheaval of the disaster?

Sorry but yes.  The adults who lived through the natural disaster are likely also traumatized and need to worry about things like food, shelter, dealing with insurance and governmental agencies rather than passing on candies to tots. It's too bad that Sandy interfered with Halloween for the kids but sometimes bigger concerns take precedence.

Which is why you postpone it.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 30, 2012, 07:34:00 PM
So in the case of a natural disaster like this, the kids lose out on Halloween on top of the upheaval of the disaster?

Yes, basically.  You can do a lot of things to celebrate it outside of trick or treating.  Carve a pumpkin, make decorations and decorate the house, make cookies, dress up and walk around the house or the neighborhood or stores.  I was even thinking of trick or treating at our house (she would go room to room with a flashlight and I would give her candy in each room) but it looks like trick or treating is a go here as the weather is going to be okay tomorrow and destruction not too bad (southern Maryland).

(Frankly, I don't consider Halloween THAT big of a deal, at least emotionally.  To me it isn't really a family holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas so "missing" it would be a drag but not a huge emotional loss either.  Kids adapt well and take their cues from their parents about these things too.)

But anyway, yes to your question. I would not like to participate in a postponed Halloween trick or treating even because I consider trick or treating legit only on the one day.  Kind of like when people shoot off fireworks on July 3rd or July 5th--that is just wrong.

I know I sound very rigid and, in reality, if ever confronted with the situation, I probably WOULD go along--but mentally, I'd be protesting.

The idea of towns/people actually scheduling trick or treating to be any day other than the 31st (for no reason at all) is just beyond the pale.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: SiotehCat on October 30, 2012, 07:38:05 PM
So in the case of a natural disaster like this, the kids lose out on Halloween on top of the upheaval of the disaster?

Sorry but yes.  The adults who lived through the natural disaster are likely also traumatized and need to worry about things like food, shelter, dealing with insurance and governmental agencies rather than passing on candies to tots. It's too bad that Sandy interfered with Halloween for the kids but sometimes bigger concerns take precedence.

Which is why you postpone it.

I am fine for people postponing any holiday on their own. I am not okay with anyone, in most cases The City, telling me that I must also postpone my holiday.

Giving out candy is completely voluntary for anyone participating. I choose to only give it out on Halloween.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 30, 2012, 07:58:16 PM
See now, this is a situation that makes my brain hurt.  You've already said (a lot of you, anyway), that the city dictates the times fro ToTing.  But designating an alternate day would be wrong?

I guess to me, a date on a calendar is just a number that, as a society, we've given weight to.  If we, as a society (which a governing body represents) decides on a rain delay for that, what's the real difference?

To use the Independence Day example above... if a hurricane had swept through and made landfall at 5PM on July 4, I would be fine with a rain delay.  But then, if we all saw things exactly the same way, this site wouldn't even exist.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 30, 2012, 10:29:01 PM
Trick or treat is not a right or even a need.  It does not need to have more than one day. the difference between Halloween and most other holidays is that the entire neighborhood is not held hostage to it. If you move your family Christmas, my family is not affected. If the trick or treating gets moved...we are, even if we have lights off and no decorations, we get t-o-t'ers.
  And how far out are we supposed to move halloween? In my state there are entire communities underwater, one area of Brooklyn has an tired neighborhood of 80 homes burned to the ground - when are they supposed to hold Halloween?  And what about the areas that are not affected...do they have to wait or is everyone supposed to be holding T-or-T twice?
  Sorry, but I think that moving it is just a bit much. 

On the October 30th T-or-Ting it's called beggars night, devil's night or mischief night here...kids in some communities like to extend the holiday. It''s part of the reason why communities started setting hours when I was a kid and why some people take a hard line with regards to it.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: kareng57 on October 30, 2012, 10:43:34 PM
See now, this is a situation that makes my brain hurt.  You've already said (a lot of you, anyway), that the city dictates the times fro ToTing.  But designating an alternate day would be wrong?

I guess to me, a date on a calendar is just a number that, as a society, we've given weight to.  If we, as a society (which a governing body represents) decides on a rain delay for that, what's the real difference?

To use the Independence Day example above... if a hurricane had swept through and made landfall at 5PM on July 4, I would be fine with a rain delay.  But then, if we all saw things exactly the same way, this site wouldn't even exist.


To start with, I'm kind of perplexed as to why a community would move the celebration from the 31st to the 30th.  Of course we all know that sometimes celebrations are moved so that they won't be on a Sunday, or the need to be on a long weekend - but why move it from a mid-weekday to another mid-weekday?

But to answer later PPs - yes, I wouldn't think it would be wrong for a town to designate a postponed-Halloween for a couple of weeks later, due to the storms  Obviously this is not a situation that would be happening every few years.  Sometimes it's good for kids to regain a sense of "normalcy".  Naturally no one who declines to participate has no obligation in the postponed celebration either.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: jellyjar on October 31, 2012, 10:58:04 AM
I would assume that in some communities, that they move Halloween to another night than Wednesday due to church services on Wednesday night.  I am sure there could be other reasons, but that is why I would guess that Wednesday night Halloween would be moved to another weeknight. If a large part of the community attends church that night, then it is a scheduling conflict.  I know our service is cancelled tonight in lieu of a community festival. 

I think if you don't want to hand out candy on any other night than Oct. 31st, it is fine and well within your rights.  It isn't a requirement to hand out candy at all.  But if I lived in a community that moved the date, then I would want to celebrate on the night the community does.  Because I am a part of the community.  Especially in areas that have been devastated by the hurricane.  The holiday was truly created by and for children and if it helps some normalcy for kids in something that was scary, disruptive and traumatic in their lives, I would love to hand out candy on whatever night the community decided on.  Children do bounce back, but if a little candy will help make life a little more normal and happy for them, then I don't see the harm in changing the date.  As long as I know what date it is. :)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Giggity on October 31, 2012, 11:51:50 AM
Don't offices hold their Christmas parties on days other than Christmas?  Same situation here.

Christmas parties aren't ever held on December 25. Halloween is always October 31. Call it what you want, but if it doesn't happen on October 31, it's not trick-or-treating.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 31, 2012, 12:11:05 PM
Don't offices hold their Christmas parties on days other than Christmas?  Same situation here.

Christmas parties aren't ever held on December 25. Halloween is always October 31. Call it what you want, but if it doesn't happen on October 31, it's not trick-or-treating.
Sure it is. Even it is on Halloween a lot of places offer trick or treating at other times as well. I doubt the entire country recognizes the authority of Hotdish of e-hell so if some community somewhere offers trick or treating tomorrow instead of tonight, it will be trick or treating no matter how you or I feel about the term or the date.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: ettiquit on October 31, 2012, 12:57:18 PM
Don't offices hold their Christmas parties on days other than Christmas?  Same situation here.

Christmas parties aren't ever held on December 25. Halloween is always October 31. Call it what you want, but if it doesn't happen on October 31, it's not trick-or-treating.
Sure it is. Even it is on Halloween a lot of places offer trick or treating at other times as well. I doubt the entire country recognizes the authority of Hotdish of e-hell so if some community somewhere offers trick or treating tomorrow instead of tonight, it will be trick or treating no matter how you or I feel about the term or the date.

There have been many years in my area in which ToT was on a day other than the 31st.  It's still ToTing because everyone still dresses up and goes house to house asking for candy. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Giggity on October 31, 2012, 01:19:00 PM
I give up. I'm just gonna keep Halloween today, because that's when all my calendars say it is.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: mstigerlily on October 31, 2012, 01:26:21 PM
I agree, October 31 is Halloween. However, my birthday is on (a date) and I often celebrate it on the weekend nearest. I view the moving ToT the same way.

The worst excuse to move ToT was the one my hometown used to use- the big high school football rivalry game (and the last game of the season) was always the Friday around Halloween. If the game and Halloween fell on the same day, guess which got moved? :o
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 31, 2012, 01:38:41 PM
I agree, October 31 is Halloween. However, my birthday is on (a date) and I often celebrate it on the weekend nearest. I view the moving ToT the same way.

The worst excuse to move ToT was the one my hometown used to use- the big high school football rivalry game (and the last game of the season) was always the Friday around Halloween. If the game and Halloween fell on the same day, guess which got moved? :o

That would work if the suggestion were only to move it to a weekend, but there are suggestions here to move it several weeks so that kids affected by the Hurricane can t-o-t.  I see that as beyond the pale. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 31, 2012, 01:42:22 PM
I agree, October 31 is Halloween. However, my birthday is on (a date) and I often celebrate it on the weekend nearest. I view the moving ToT the same way.

The worst excuse to move ToT was the one my hometown used to use- the big high school football rivalry game (and the last game of the season) was always the Friday around Halloween. If the game and Halloween fell on the same day, guess which got moved? :o

That would work if the suggestion were only to move it to a weekend, but there are suggestions here to move it several weeks so that kids affected by the Hurricane can t-o-t.  I see that as beyond the pale.

I'm just suggesting wait until things return to a semblance of normal.  Streetlights working, streets clear, homes have power.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 31, 2012, 01:54:41 PM
I agree, October 31 is Halloween. However, my birthday is on (a date) and I often celebrate it on the weekend nearest. I view the moving ToT the same way.

The worst excuse to move ToT was the one my hometown used to use- the big high school football rivalry game (and the last game of the season) was always the Friday around Halloween. If the game and Halloween fell on the same day, guess which got moved? :o

That would work if the suggestion were only to move it to a weekend, but there are suggestions here to move it several weeks so that kids affected by the Hurricane can t-o-t.  I see that as beyond the pale.

I'm just suggesting wait until things return to a semblance of normal.  Streetlights working, streets clear, homes have power.

  that could be weeks or even months in some areas. Life moves on. Moving it a day or two, I'd said is marginally ok, moving it weeks into the future,,,not so much,  Months? forget it.  When we had the October surprise here, I had friends with out power for 6 weeks afterward, and that was not nearly as devastating as this is....so let's give a 4-6 week conservative estimate, people are supposed to hold T-O-Ting in December because the kids missed out? I really think that's more than a bit much.   4 weeks would put it at thanksgiving weekend.  From personal experience, in something of this magnitude, even if power is on and streets clear the adults in this situation will be eyebrow deep in dealing with FEMA and other aid agencies for ages. It can take weeks to get help where it's needed. For the most devastated areas, people may just be getting out of temporary shelters over the course of the next few weeks.
    So this year the kids will have to do with out.
 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 31, 2012, 02:01:11 PM
On every calendar I see Christmas is on December 25 and yet some families open gifts the evening of the 24th, does that mean those aren't Christmas gifts?  Or if a parent goes into the hospital on December 20th and gets out the 30th and presents their child would gifts would you say "I don't know what those are but you mom didn't give you a Christmas present this year?" 

If the date is that important no matter the holiday then you are consistent but it seems really callous.  If you would never dream of applying that standard to Christmas why is Halloween the one sticking point?
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 31, 2012, 02:37:23 PM
On every calendar I see Christmas is on December 25 and yet some families open gifts the evening of the 24th, does that mean those aren't Christmas gifts?  Or if a parent goes into the hospital on December 20th and gets out the 30th and presents their child would gifts would you say "I don't know what those are but you mom didn't give you a Christmas present this year?" 

If the date is that important no matter the holiday then you are consistent but it seems really callous.  If you would never dream of applying that standard to Christmas why is Halloween the one sticking point?

As noted by someone else, Christmas is a personal, family event.  You can open your presents or celebrant in a way that is convenient to you.  Go for it.  Trick-or-treating is a community event and affects a lot of people at once. 

For me, Halloween doesn't compare at all to Christmas in emotional resonance, in importance, in almost any way.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 31, 2012, 02:49:33 PM
On every calendar I see Christmas is on December 25 and yet some families open gifts the evening of the 24th, does that mean those aren't Christmas gifts?  Or if a parent goes into the hospital on December 20th and gets out the 30th and presents their child would gifts would you say "I don't know what those are but you mom didn't give you a Christmas present this year?" 

If the date is that important no matter the holiday then you are consistent but it seems really callous.  If you would never dream of applying that standard to Christmas why is Halloween the one sticking point?

As noted by someone else, Christmas is a personal, family event.  You can open your presents or celebrant in a way that is convenient to you.  Go for it.  Trick-or-treating is a community event and affects a lot of people at once. 

For me, Halloween d

But then we have the rejection of the community decision of when to celebrate it.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Betelnut on October 31, 2012, 02:54:57 PM
On every calendar I see Christmas is on December 25 and yet some families open gifts the evening of the 24th, does that mean those aren't Christmas gifts?  Or if a parent goes into the hospital on December 20th and gets out the 30th and presents their child would gifts would you say "I don't know what those are but you mom didn't give you a Christmas present this year?" 

If the date is that important no matter the holiday then you are consistent but it seems really callous.  If you would never dream of applying that standard to Christmas why is Halloween the one sticking point?

As noted by someone else, Christmas is a personal, family event.  You can open your presents or celebrant in a way that is convenient to you.  Go for it.  Trick-or-treating is a community event and affects a lot of people at once. 
 

But then we have the rejection of the community decision of when to celebrate it.

That's right--I am not agreeing with the community to hold Halloween on any day besides the 31st.  (I can't get the quotes to work right--sorry.)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: ettiquit on October 31, 2012, 02:55:33 PM
I give up. I'm just gonna keep Halloween today, because that's when all my calendars say it is.

Of course today is Halloween.  ToT is a Halloween-related event that can occur on any day on or near the 31st.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on October 31, 2012, 02:57:21 PM
I give up. I'm just gonna keep Halloween today, because that's when all my calendars say it is.

Of course today is Halloween.  ToT is a Halloween-related event that can occur on any day on or near the 31st.

and people can make their own choices as to whether or not they participate or when they are willing to participate.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Giggity on October 31, 2012, 03:12:16 PM
On every calendar I see Christmas is on December 25 and yet some families open gifts the evening of the 24th, does that mean those aren't Christmas gifts?  Or if a parent goes into the hospital on December 20th and gets out the 30th and presents their child would gifts would you say "I don't know what those are but you mom didn't give you a Christmas present this year?" 

If the date is that important no matter the holiday then you are consistent but it seems really callous.  If you would never dream of applying that standard to Christmas why is Halloween the one sticking point?

I already said I give up. Dates are dates and words mean things, but not in this case, I guess, so meh.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Aeris on October 31, 2012, 04:27:26 PM
On every calendar I see Christmas is on December 25 and yet some families open gifts the evening of the 24th, does that mean those aren't Christmas gifts?  Or if a parent goes into the hospital on December 20th and gets out the 30th and presents their child would gifts would you say "I don't know what those are but you mom didn't give you a Christmas present this year?" 

If the date is that important no matter the holiday then you are consistent but it seems really callous.  If you would never dream of applying that standard to Christmas why is Halloween the one sticking point?

I already said I give up. Dates are dates and words mean things, but not in this case, I guess, so meh.

Of course 'words mean things', but the neato thing about language is that words actually only mean what we say they mean. If a significant portion of the English speaking world decided that "asdfqwer" meant 'a light shade of teal', then it would.

You are hellbent that the definition of the phrase "trick or treating" means "dressing up in costume and going door to door asking for candy on and only on October 31". Other people would define "trick or treating" as "dressing up in costume and going door to door asking for candy". While most people would agree this is an activity associated with Halloween, obviously people disagree about whether the requirement that it be ON OCTOBER 31 is actually embedded in the definition, or rather whether it's more a 'on or around October 31' idea.

Unfortunately, you are not the arbiter of all language subtleties. Words mean what a community decides they mean, why may not always coincide with what you personally think words ought to mean.

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on October 31, 2012, 04:32:26 PM
On every calendar I see Christmas is on December 25 and yet some families open gifts the evening of the 24th, does that mean those aren't Christmas gifts?  Or if a parent goes into the hospital on December 20th and gets out the 30th and presents their child would gifts would you say "I don't know what those are but you mom didn't give you a Christmas present this year?" 

If the date is that important no matter the holiday then you are consistent but it seems really callous.  If you would never dream of applying that standard to Christmas why is Halloween the one sticking point?

I already said I give up. Dates are dates and words mean things, but not in this case, I guess, so meh.

Of course 'words mean things', but the neato thing about language is that words actually only mean what we say they mean. If a significant portion of the English speaking world decided that "asdfqwer" meant 'a light shade of teal', then it would.

You are hellbent that the definition of the phrase "trick or treating" means "dressing up in costume and going door to door asking for candy on and only on October 31". Other people would define "trick or treating" as "dressing up in costume and going door to door asking for candy". While most people would agree this is an activity associated with Halloween, obviously people disagree about whether the requirement that it be ON OCTOBER 31 is actually embedded in the definition, or rather whether it's more a 'on or around October 31' idea.

Unfortunately, you are not the arbiter of all language subtleties. Words mean what a community decides they mean, why may not always coincide with what you personally think words ought to mean.

My personal definition would be "An activity, associated with Halloween, consisting of children wearing costumes and going door to door asking for candy, accompanied by the phrase 'trick or treat'.  Typically celebrated on October 31st, the day immediately preceding All Saints Day"
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: AylaM on October 31, 2012, 07:06:47 PM
My opinion, late though it is, is that I can deal with someone moving trick-or-treating a couple of days in either direction, but I won't like it.  Any more than a few days would not have my participation.

I kind of like Halloween, but have not gotten excited about it since I still went trick-or-treating.  I hand out candy because that's what you do.  I hand out candy with a "Happy Halloween!" whenever the doorbell rings, but it isn't something I do because I think it is fun. I do it because I think it it is nice, and because I remember being a kid who went door to door and ad fun, so I want other kids to have that fun too.

If a city council decided to move Halloween a couple of days, I'd grumble but hand out candy. At that point it feels like "we want the kids to have fun, but want them to stay safe and not be too tired for school".  It would annoy me, but I'd participate.

If they moved it more than a few days (to a different week, for example) I'd probably not participate. The further away from the actual date, the less likely I am to participate.   At that point the town is intruding on me a bit too much.  I'm doing a nice thing by handing out candy and it almost feels like I'm being taken advantage of.  Insisting on trick-or-treating a week or so before or after the fact just seems like it is more about free candy than the fun because trick-or-treating is not a necessary part of Halloween.  Traditional, yes, but not necessary.  If trick or treating was cancelled because of something, some sort of party could be arranged for parents to bring kids to.  Kids can still have fun without relying on random neighbors to indulge them.

This all assumes I have not bought the candy.  If I bought the candy, I might just put it out on the porch in a bowl and make myself scarce.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: stargazer on October 31, 2012, 07:30:37 PM
I am absolutely, adamantly opposed to ToT being any day other than Oct 31st.  We went out in rain, we went out in snow, and sometimes we didn't go out as children.  I do not agree with an entire community being held to the government deciding to switch the day (and sometimes for reasons that make zero sense).  If you want to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or whatever on your own on a totally different day - fine.  But I will only be giving out candy on Oct 31st.  (And we do not have set hours.)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: AylaM on October 31, 2012, 07:41:31 PM
I am absolutely, adamantly opposed to ToT being any day other than Oct 31st.  We went out in rain, we went out in snow, and sometimes we didn't go out as children.  I do not agree with an entire community being held to the government deciding to switch the day (and sometimes for reasons that make zero sense).  If you want to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or whatever on your own on a totally different day - fine.  But I will only be giving out candy on Oct 31st.  (And we do not have set hours.)

Oh, I can agree that if I had my say it would only ever fall on Halloween or not at all.  As a kid when it was too cold or too dangerous, we didn't go and planned parties instead.

I'm just such a pushover that I'd hand out candy anyways if the dates were reasonably close.  And if I already have the candy I'd rather the kids eat it than have to figure out what to do with it on my own.  I hand out candy by the handfuls, so if they don't eat it I have a lot left over.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: CluelessBride on October 31, 2012, 07:48:41 PM
Just as an additional perspective, last year we had a freak blizzard the weekend before Halloween.  It left downed power lines and uncleared streets - an obvious hazard for trick or treating.  So the city postponed trick or treating a few days (Nov. 3, I think).  If they hadn't postponed it, I'm sure there would have been kids out, despite the danger, simply because they didn't want to miss out.  Kids don't necessarily get danger, and not all parents are on top of their kids enough to keep them home.  I'd rather have safe kids a few days later than hear about a poor kid being electrocuted by a downed wire or getting hit by a car after slipping on ice walking in the street because the sidewalks are still obstructed with tree branches.  Also, I'd bought my candy in advance.  If the kids hadn't shown up on the 3rd to take my candy, I would have put on 20 pounds.

It is not rude to not celebrate Halloween and not hand out candy.  It's not rude to only celebrate Halloween and hand out candy on October 31.  But I do think it's rude to condemn other people for choosing to celebrate it on a different day.  Or maybe not rude, but it just seems mean-spirited.  I guess I'm just surprised by the posts that are so against towns organizing an optional event, just because they aren't organized to their preference. 

Of course my city also does fireworks on July 3! 

As an aside, this year my immediate area was relatively unaffected by hurricane Sandy. But there are some nearby towns that moved their trick or treating that also had to move it last year due to the blizzard.  So it would have been 2 years in a row with no trick or treating.  Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, life's not fair and all of that. But for cute kids who have been working on their costumes all month I personally like to be as accommodating as possible.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 31, 2012, 07:56:05 PM
I have no issue with community choosing  to observe Halloween at a future date because of a natural disaster that impacted a large portion of their community.  I can see it as being a nice way for those who choose to participate get to forget about the bad xperience for a while and celebrate coming out of the darkness.  But I wouldn't begrudge a neighbor who chose to not participate. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: AylaM on October 31, 2012, 08:25:09 PM
I have a hard time verbalizing my feelings on this.  Rationally I know that I can opt out if I don't want to participate, but it still bugs me a little when trick-or-treating is moved.

A part of it, as I said, is that after too long it seems like the people making the decisions are valuing the free candy kids get by trick-or-treating more than the fun around the holiday.  As I said before, kids can have fun on Halloween and dress up without trick-or-treating.  A lot of parties hand out candy too, you know?

Another part, I suppose is that it seems high-handed to say "well, we decided that we don't want to do this on the 31st, so you should hand out candy out on the 3rd".  When did they ask if I was ok with that?

As silly as it sounds, if I decided to sit on my porch with a bucket of candy on November 3rd and hand out candy to kids who came by I'd have no problem with it.  Heck, I could see a neighborhood mom getting together with other moms to plan trick-or-treating between their group  and have no problem with it.  I'd think it was sweet. 

I guess it is just the assumption that I'm okay with it that bugs me.




 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: kareng57 on October 31, 2012, 10:38:13 PM
I am absolutely, adamantly opposed to ToT being any day other than Oct 31st.  We went out in rain, we went out in snow, and sometimes we didn't go out as children.  I do not agree with an entire community being held to the government deciding to switch the day (and sometimes for reasons that make zero sense).  If you want to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or whatever on your own on a totally different day - fine.  But I will only be giving out candy on Oct 31st.  (And we do not have set hours.)


If you have (or had) young children, would you therefore insist on them going out on Oct. 31, even if the town had mandated another day?  I realize that's not the case in your town, but I'm being hypothetical.

IME it was only once, nearly 50 years ago, that my town (not my present town) indicated that Halloween would be on the 30th, as the 31st was a Sunday.  It wasn't a highly-religious town either, just the general sentiment at that time.  I don't remember anyone getting terribly bent-out-of-shape about it.  But I do imagine that people would be unhappy about their doorbells being rung on both nights.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 31, 2012, 10:45:28 PM
As a teacher I could definitely appreciate the benefit of not having school the day after kids had been out trick or treating.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: stargazer on October 31, 2012, 11:18:21 PM
I am absolutely, adamantly opposed to ToT being any day other than Oct 31st.  We went out in rain, we went out in snow, and sometimes we didn't go out as children.  I do not agree with an entire community being held to the government deciding to switch the day (and sometimes for reasons that make zero sense).  If you want to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or whatever on your own on a totally different day - fine.  But I will only be giving out candy on Oct 31st.  (And we do not have set hours.)

If you have (or had) young children, would you therefore insist on them going out on Oct. 31, even if the town had mandated another day?  I realize that's not the case in your town, but I'm being hypothetical.


I do not support it and would not take them out that night.  There are enough parties and fun stuff to do without the ToT part if the town did mandate that for some reason.  Heck, my office had 200+ kids come through today so those kids are getting a ton of candy anyway and that's after the parties at school! :)   (What a haul - going from cube to cube for 3 floors and getting candy at each desk!)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on October 31, 2012, 11:23:01 PM
I think that perhaps it varies a great deal from town to town and city to city. There are tons and cities that offer a lot of other options and there  are also people who live in places where that is no the case.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on November 01, 2012, 12:56:38 AM
There are no advertised public children's hallowee'n parties on the 31st in my town- I know, because I've looked. There are private ones, and ones for the children of employees/churches/sports teams etc- but nothing that "just anyone" can go to. There was a small city event during the daytime the weekend before hallowee'n, but it was more of an arts-festival for families and didn't involve "party" type events at all.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: ettiquit on November 01, 2012, 07:34:50 AM
As a teacher I could definitely appreciate the benefit of not having school the day after kids had been out trick or treating.

I bet!  I let DS have only 3 pieces of candy last night with his teachers in mind.   ;D
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: ettiquit on November 01, 2012, 07:39:00 AM
I think a large part of this has to do with the community you live in, and its culture.  In all of the neighborhoods I've lived in my whole life, ToT is the day (and hours) that the city decides.  If ToT was held on the 30th, but people went out on the 31st, no one would have any candy and would wonder what the heck you're doing knocking on their door in the first place.  It's simply accepted that we don't decide when ToT is.  Usually it is on the 31st, but sometimes it has been on the 30th (for reasons unbeknownst to me). 

I wish it had been rescheduled this year, because it was bitterly cold, rainy, and windy here last night and DS and I were pretty miserable by the time we got home (the reward of candy was the only thing that kept us going  :P ).

Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on November 01, 2012, 07:48:45 AM
As a teacher I could definitely appreciate the benefit of not having school the day after kids had been out trick or treating.

I bet!  I let DS have only 3 pieces of candy last night with his teachers in mind.   ;D

Older kids sneak them in to school in bags, pockets, books ...
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: lowspark on November 01, 2012, 07:51:30 AM
Our first trick-or-treaters arrived right at 6:35 last night. The bulk of them came between about 7:30 & 8:30. Then we had to turn off our lights because we ran out of candy. Gotta buy more candy next year. We used to get very few kids but now that three houses on our block have elaborate Halloween decorations business has really picked up.

I went to bed at 9:36 (I particularly noted the time) and saw out of my front window a truck driving up to my across-the-street neighbor's decorated house and drop off several kids who apparently were successful in their quest. That seems fairly late to me and I don't know if they were the last or not.

I do know that the "porch light off" was definitely respected as we didn't have any more knocks or doorbells after the front lights were turned off even though several other lights were still on in the house.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: magicdomino on November 01, 2012, 10:23:47 AM
Regarding the postponed trick-or-treating, I've been thinking about this. 

As much as I love Halloween, I would not be supportive of delayed trick-or-treating.  All October, I put a lot of effort and love into my decorations.  But on November 1st, I'm putting everything away and thinking about Thanksgiving.  Without the elaborate decorations, I get less than 5 trick-or-treaters, which isn't really worth the bother.  (Obviously, superstorms trump trick-or-treating, but how often does that happen?  Unless you are in New England and get hit two years in a row.  :-\ )

Early trick or treating would be somewhat less annoying; at least I'd have a Saturday to set up, but it would make the actual holiday  anticlimatic. 

The difference between moving Halloween and moving Columbus Day is that Columbus Day is (a)  a day off for many workers, (b) was moved to make a three-day weekend for those workers, thus profiting the tourist and retail industries, and (c) is permanently set as the second Monday in October.  The date may change, but the position in the calendar doesn't.  The equivilent would be to make Halloween the last Monday in October, or maybe the last Friday, since the problem seems to be going to school the next day.  And you would have to make it national, or at least statewide, because the arbitrary declarations by individual communities is part of the irritation.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 01, 2012, 11:10:44 AM
I am absolutely, adamantly opposed to ToT being any day other than Oct 31st.  We went out in rain, we went out in snow, and sometimes we didn't go out as children.  I do not agree with an entire community being held to the government deciding to switch the day (and sometimes for reasons that make zero sense).  If you want to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or whatever on your own on a totally different day - fine.  But I will only be giving out candy on Oct 31st.  (And we do not have set hours.)

If you have (or had) young children, would you therefore insist on them going out on Oct. 31, even if the town had mandated another day?  I realize that's not the case in your town, but I'm being hypothetical.


I do not support it and would not take them out that night.  There are enough parties and fun stuff to do without the ToT part if the town did mandate that for some reason.  Heck, my office had 200+ kids come through today so those kids are getting a ton of candy anyway and that's after the parties at school! :)   (What a haul - going from cube to cube for 3 floors and getting candy at each desk!)

I really haven't experienced that.  TTing has always been the primary activity for Halloween.  Very few parties or other activities if it is on a school night.  There might be informal parties on Halloween night where families gather at one house after TTing, but not any other activities.  Formal halloween parties were always held on the weekend prior to Halloween unless it happened to fall on the weekend. 

Though I've worked in the corporate world for 20 plus years, I've never known TTing to occur at any company.  The closest is kids going to malls or area stores who hand out candy. 
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 01, 2012, 12:36:03 PM
All my life, Halloween parties have been like cake-smashing.  They're an activity seen in movies that don't exist in real life.  By that, I mean I've never heard of one actually occurring, except in distant second-hand stories.  They've never happened anywhere near me that I've known about.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Outdoor Girl on November 01, 2012, 12:45:07 PM
Weighing in on the moving the day debate.

Hallowe'en and Trick-or-Treating are October 31st, every year.  Part of the fun, as a kid, was getting to stay up late on a school night!  So I'm not a fan of moving the day just because, whether it is the community who wants to move it to a weekend or whatever.  But in the case of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy?  I wouldn't have a problem with them announcing that due to the conditions, ToTing would be moving to [whenever], as long as it was within a week.  If the conditions are so bad that a week isn't enough time?  It should be cancelled.  Have a treasure hunt at your own house with your own kids, using the candy you bought to hand out.  Or get together with your immediate neighbours and have the kids go door to door just to their places.  Or have a neighbourhood party with a treasure hunt for all the kids.

Caveat:  I've never lived anywhere with set ToT hours or days (other than the 31st) so that probably colours my opinion.  I do remember more than one Hallowe'en tromping around in snow boots because there was significant snow on the ground.  We did get driven door to door because it was a rural area but you still had to tromp up the driveway.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: magicdomino on November 01, 2012, 12:47:52 PM
The civic association for my neighborhood has a Halloween party at a near-by school.  I don't know how good it is, since it is very child-oriented, and I don't have kids.  I noticed that this year, it was on a Saturday.  In previous years, it was on Halloween, 5:00 - 7:00.  I'd get a big surge in trick or treaters at 7:15.   :)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: WillyNilly on November 01, 2012, 01:29:41 PM
The problem with moving ToT to another night is who draws the geographical boundaries?  In the quote below Breezy Point (Queens FYI, not Brooklyn) is referenced.  No one is ToT'ing in that neighborhood anytime soon... but in my area of Queens the kids were absolutely out. 
Across the street from me 3 massive trees fell taking out the power for a long block, but my side of the street is fine.  Lower Manhattan (below 39th St) has no power but upper Manhattan does.  But someone on say 40th St - the "no power" area might be their community, the kids might go to school with kids in a blackout zone but their area is not one - where is the line drawn to say "in this neighborhood ToT'ing is on Oct 31, but in that neighborhood its on Nov 3"?

Trick or treat is not a right or even a need.  It does not need to have more than one day. the difference between Halloween and most other holidays is that the entire neighborhood is not held hostage to it. If you move your family Christmas, my family is not affected. If the trick or treating gets moved...we are, even if we have lights off and no decorations, we get t-o-t'ers.
  And how far out are we supposed to move halloween? In my state there are entire communities underwater, one area of Brooklyn has an tired neighborhood of 80 homes burned to the ground - when are they supposed to hold Halloween?  And what about the areas that are not affected...do they have to wait or is everyone supposed to be holding T-or-T twice?
  Sorry, but I think that moving it is just a bit much. 

On the October 30th T-or-Ting it's called beggars night, devil's night or mischief night here...kids in some communities like to extend the holiday. It''s part of the reason why communities started setting hours when I was a kid and why some people take a hard line with regards to it.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Rohanna on November 01, 2012, 01:54:04 PM
I think in the case of a natural event it would be better to suggest that, once things have settled, that people bring candy to donate and one of the local malls or highschools holds a trick or treating party. Then no one has to be bothered and the kids still get to have some fun. This year is was VERY cold, so there were not many ToT'ers. The local shelter house has asked that people with leftover candy bring it, and they will use it to throw from the parade floats and hand out through the crowd for the Xmas parade in late November. I think it's a great solution as it distributes the candy to kids anyhow. Last year they had hundreds of "elves" walking through the crowds handing out candy canes and other treats :)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: jedikaiti on November 01, 2012, 02:15:11 PM
All my life, Halloween parties have been like cake-smashing.  They're an activity seen in movies that don't exist in real life.  By that, I mean I've never heard of one actually occurring, except in distant second-hand stories.  They've never happened anywhere near me that I've known about.

I've been to them as an adult, but never as a kid. We went ToT'ing! In my experience, Halloween parties are for those of us who still want to dress up and have a good time, but are too old to ToT and don't have kids to escort around. :-) (They also tend to happen on nights when we don't have to be at work the next day!)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: stargazer on November 01, 2012, 02:25:58 PM
Some of the parties I'm also referring to are in school.  From what I hear around here, it's a party at school with candy, they come here and ToT and get candy, and then go out at night and get candy.  No wonder their parents bring it in the office the next day!
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on November 01, 2012, 02:28:55 PM
Some of the parties I'm also referring to are in school.  From what I hear around here, it's a party at school with candy, they come here and ToT and get candy, and then go out at night and get candy.  No wonder their parents bring it in the office the next day!

I think even parties at school vary.  I know my sister was saying she talked to somebody who was saying their district did away with holiday parties entirely rather than worry about offending/leaving out anybody.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Tierrainney on November 01, 2012, 02:55:53 PM
Some of the parties I'm also referring to are in school.  From what I hear around here, it's a party at school with candy, they come here and ToT and get candy, and then go out at night and get candy.  No wonder their parents bring it in the office the next day!

I think even parties at school vary.  I know my sister was saying she talked to somebody who was saying their district did away with holiday parties entirely rather than worry about offending/leaving out anybody.

Yes. My second grader is having a "Fall Party" tomorrow. It is not a halloween party. This was emphasised several times by the teacher.  :D  The school does not celebrate Halloween anymore. But it doesn't matter because my child was still very excited that she gets a party in school tomorrow.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Giggity on November 01, 2012, 05:44:14 PM
Unfortunately, you are not the arbiter of all language subtleties.

Be a lot cooler if I were, and easier because there would be no subtleties.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: AngelBarchild on November 01, 2012, 09:48:57 PM
All my life, Halloween parties have been like cake-smashing.  They're an activity seen in movies that don't exist in real life.  By that, I mean I've never heard of one actually occurring, except in distant second-hand stories.  They've never happened anywhere near me that I've known about.

My friends throw a Halloween party every year, now that the kids are in school it sometimes has to be the Saturday before but we always have one.  I thought they were normal.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: kareng57 on November 01, 2012, 10:13:11 PM
Some of the parties I'm also referring to are in school.  From what I hear around here, it's a party at school with candy, they come here and ToT and get candy, and then go out at night and get candy.  No wonder their parents bring it in the office the next day!

I think even parties at school vary.  I know my sister was saying she talked to somebody who was saying their district did away with holiday parties entirely rather than worry about offending/leaving out anybody.


Yes - I never said anything but I did feel that Halloween was getting out-of-control at my kids' elementary school, though I never said anything.  I'd have been fine with a 1 hour or 1 1/2 hour party in the afternoon - but really, it was an all-day event, starting with a costume-parade for the whole school at a morning assembly.  And of course, for a lot of kids (not mine!) this meant two costumes; they couldn't possibly be seen ToTing in the same costume that they'd worn that morning at school....

I know some parents who did not observe Halloween would keep their kids at home that day.  Not really a great loss, since so little work got accomplished, but still.

Overall though I do feel for kids who expected to be able to go out to ToT but couldn't.  Not every community offers alternate celebrations.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: camlan on November 04, 2012, 09:36:06 AM
An update on my town's decision to hold TOT on October 30.

October 29, Hurricane Sandy blew into town. Here in New Hampshire, we were not as hard hit as New York and New Jersey, but many people were without power for up to 4 days, and several streets in town were closed due to downed trees and power lines for two or three days. 

In anticipation of power outages and downed live wires and the need for repair crews to move around freely, the town decided on Sunday night to move TOT to Saturday, Nov. 3, from 5 - 8.

Since no one ever comes TOTing at my house, I have no idea how many people were out last night. From what I understand, about half the cities and towns in the area held TOT as usual on Wednesday night. The other half moved TOT to some time this weekend.

I can understand moving it because of the storm. But I am still puzzled by what prompted the original move from Halloween to Tuesday. Someone upthread mentioned church services on Wednesday night--while there may be a church in town that holds services midweek, the majority do not, so I don't think that was the motivation here.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on November 04, 2012, 12:32:52 PM


I can understand moving it because of the storm. But I am still puzzled by what prompted the original move from Halloween to Tuesday. Someone upthread mentioned church services on Wednesday night--while there may be a church in town that holds services midweek, the majority do not, so I don't think that was the motivation here.

 Any Roman Catholic church in town will have services, it's a Holy Day of obligation for them.  I am not sure about other denominations
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: Sharnita on November 04, 2012, 02:29:14 PM


I can understand moving it because of the storm. But I am still puzzled by what prompted the original move from Halloween to Tuesday. Someone upthread mentioned church services on Wednesday night--while there may be a church in town that holds services midweek, the majority do not, so I don't think that was the motivation here.

 Any Roman Catholic church in town will have services, it's a Holy Day of obligation for them.  I am not sure about other denominations

FWIW,  Halloween  is  also Reformation Day for Lutherans.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 04, 2012, 03:42:07 PM
My town apparently had trick-or-treating last night.  I don't know how I was supposed to know, if we were going to give out candy.  Maybe if we did Halloween, we'd have checked the town website or something and there would have been an announcement?  Or maybe they tell the kids in schools?  Regardless, I had no idea, and I do have kids, we just don't participate.  I find it strange that if the town does decide to do something arbitrary like that, they don't publicize it more.  I'm not sure I ever really thought of it being something that towns regulate, so I'm not sure I would have thought to look up the town website online even if we were planning to participate.  Just looked up the town website now out of curiosity, and it does say there, although it calls it "Begger's Night."  (Isn't it spelled "beggar" anyway?)
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: camlan on November 04, 2012, 04:25:28 PM
My town apparently had trick-or-treating last night.  I don't know how I was supposed to know, if we were going to give out candy.  Maybe if we did Halloween, we'd have checked the town website or something and there would have been an announcement?  Or maybe they tell the kids in schools?  Regardless, I had no idea, and I do have kids, we just don't participate.  I find it strange that if the town does decide to do something arbitrary like that, they don't publicize it more.  I'm not sure I ever really thought of it being something that towns regulate, so I'm not sure I would have thought to look up the town website online even if we were planning to participate.  Just looked up the town website now out of curiosity, and it does say there, although it calls it "Begger's Night."  (Isn't it spelled "beggar" anyway?)

Check to see if the town sends out email bulletins. That's where I found out about the change in TOT to Saturday. They might also use the schools to publicize this information.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: camlan on November 04, 2012, 04:34:54 PM


I can understand moving it because of the storm. But I am still puzzled by what prompted the original move from Halloween to Tuesday. Someone upthread mentioned church services on Wednesday night--while there may be a church in town that holds services midweek, the majority do not, so I don't think that was the motivation here.

 Any Roman Catholic church in town will have services, it's a Holy Day of obligation for them.  I am not sure about other denominations

November 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation--All Saints Day. Many Catholic churches do offer an evening service the night before a Holy Day, but there are still services on Nov. 1. And in the US, this day is mostly celebrated on the following Sunday. But as a Catholic, I've never heard of moving TOT because of All Saints Day. Nor have I heard any priest or nun speak out against TOT on Halloween.

Halloween is in fact a contraction of All Hallows Eve, the eve of All Saints Day, known in earlier times as All Hallows, just as Christmas Eve is the night before Christmas. (This is the Catholic tradition; there are earlier pagan traditions involved, as well.)

All that to say, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the Catholics in town that requested the date change.
Title: Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
Post by: snowdragon on November 04, 2012, 06:07:26 PM
See in our Church, it was ALWAYS Oct31 and we went to church before T-0-Ting. It never failed. While the priests would not have asked for the t-o-ting to be moved, they would not have let us "off" for it either.