General Etiquette > Holidays

Misunderstanding Holiday Traditions

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This happened while I was passing out candy on Halloween.

Let me start out by saying that my Halloween decorations include a talking skeleton who sticks out his tongue and has eyes that bug out.  It's activated by motion.  I hang the skeleton on my door, and it gives me a heads up when the trick or treaters are entering my yard.

Three kids who live down the street from my house (I don't know where they live exactly, but I see them riding their bikes past my house all the time) came to my door trick or treating.  I believe they are first or second generation immigrants to the U.S., but had never talked to them before.  They weren't wearing costumes that I could tell (it's cold in my area of the U.S., so they could have been wearing costumes underneath their coats) and I gave them some candy.  About five minutes later I opened the door to find they had returned with their elderly grandmother.  I don't think she spoke much, if any, English.  She was laughing away at the skeleton on my door, and I figured they had come back to show her the skeleton.  I stood there with the door open for a minute waiting for them to leave again, when one of the kids piped up and said she wanted some candy too.   :o 

I thought that they didn't understand the trick or treating customs, and I didn't feel it was my place to let them know that the candy was just for the kids, so I gave her a piece, and they left afterwards.  To be honest, I also felt that since they were neighbors I wanted to keep on their good side.

I'm curious, would you have corrected their misunderstanding about the custom?  I know if these people were friends or acquaintances I probably would have, but with strangers I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so. 

Eh, I would have given her some, too. They'll figure it out in time, and it's no big deal.

Personally, I *love* Halloween and am happy to give candy to anyone who makes even a slight attempt at a costume, even adults.

I probably would've done what I did with any other TOTer who didn't have an apparent costume -- smile and ask "Oh, what's your costume?" That gets out the idea that it's at least meant for costuming, if not that it's a kids thing (which I don't think it is! :)), but is still friendly. I'd've given a piece of candy too, but I do that with anyone who shows up.

I would not have corrected the assumption about the custom, especially after the specific request for candy. What good would it do to embarrass her?

Sounds like they were polite and had fun, so I wouldn't worry about an extra piece of candy for an elderly immigrant woman. It probably made her grandkids' day to show her something fun from their new country :)


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