Author Topic: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating  (Read 16548 times)

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Deetee

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #60 on: October 25, 2012, 11:07:00 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!

kareng57

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #61 on: October 25, 2012, 11:22:52 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.

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #62 on: October 25, 2012, 11:25:12 PM »
I guess if people are that rude and demanding in your area on Halloween night they are probably rude and demanding in general. 

snowdragon

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #63 on: October 25, 2012, 11:40:56 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

ettiquit

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #64 on: October 27, 2012, 02:07:47 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.   

Sharnita

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #65 on: October 27, 2012, 02:09:52 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".

snowdragon

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #66 on: October 27, 2012, 11:49:59 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. 

Rohanna

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #67 on: October 27, 2012, 11:58:13 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.
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snowdragon

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #68 on: October 28, 2012, 12:11:04 AM »
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.

Rohanna

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #69 on: October 28, 2012, 12:38:04 AM »
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.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

Raintree

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #70 on: October 28, 2012, 01:31:01 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).

ettiquit

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #71 on: October 28, 2012, 09:20:20 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).



camlan

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #72 on: October 28, 2012, 10:33:09 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?
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Outdoor Girl

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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #73 on: October 28, 2012, 10:41:40 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.
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Re: Dear Abby on Trick-or-Treating
« Reply #74 on: October 28, 2012, 10:56:16 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!