General Etiquette > Holidays

Misunderstanding Holiday Traditions

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anonever13:
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. 

MorgnsGrl:
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.

KenveeB:
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.

Enkidu:
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?

Rohanna:
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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