The anticipation for tonight's trick or treating has been building up all weekend, my kiddies could barely fall asleep last night. I could still hear them, way past their bed time, whispering about 'who will get the most candy' and 'which house is the scariest in our neighbourhood'. It will reach a fever pitch by 6:00 pm when they will no longer be able to contain themselves as we open the door to take our fright night walk. So it doesn't surprise me that when they walk out the of the house tonight, they will occasionally forget their 'good manners'. That's where we come in, the mothers, fathers, grandparents, guardians and what have you that accompany them. In all the excitement, let's not forget our part in making their night a 'spook-tacular' evening that includes courtesy and care.
1. Be sure to remind them before they start that it is important to say thank you, ring the doorbell or knock once, only visit houses that are welcoming trick-or-treaters and just as importantly, wait their turn at each house. Nothing will spoil the evening faster than having to pick up a crying child (yours or someone else's) that has been trampled by over-eager 'monsters' running to get to the next house. Encourage them (even the shy ones) to greet the person opening the door with a hearty 'Trick or Treat' and finish off with a pleasant 'Happy Halloween'.
2. If the lights are off at a home, respect the wishes of your neighbours and don't allow your children to approach the home, even if you have already mentioned it to them previously. Not everyone celebrates Halloween and regardless of your opinion of the potential 'party-pooper', it is not your place to 'teach anyone a lesson' by letting your kids loose on their front porch. Can you imagine how irritating it must be for your doorbell to go off every 10 seconds for an entire night when you are not interested in opening the door.
3. If you witness rude behavior on the part of your child or children you are responsible for, remind them in an appropriate and gentle way that only good manners and best behaviour are allowed out tonight. Save the longer lecture for a different time, maybe when your child isn't fueled by Halloween adrenalin or around their friends.
4. Be 'present' for the evening. Involvement and attention is one of the easiest ways to fend off bad manners. Leave the cell phone at home and if you are walking with other adults, don't become so engrossed in your conversation that you forget why you are there, to accompany and supervise your children.
Yes, it might get a little cold tonight and most children can last a lot longer out there than their parents but remember to keep a smile on your face and enjoy the moment
5. Be considerate when setting your time limit for trick-or-treating. Set out early enough that your children will get the most out of their evening without having to cruise the neighbourhood way past the witching hour. 8:30 is usually a good time to aim for approaching your own home, even earlier if you have tiny tots. There is still a lot of evening left (changing out of costumes, exploring piles of candy) before your little goblins will be able to relax, unwind and fall asleep.
6. If you happen to be on door duty tonight, don't miss this opportunity to show your children your good manners! I will never tire of saying that the very best way to teach our children anything (manners, compassion, positivity, etc.), is to lead by example! Let them see you in action as you dole out the treats and make sure to thank each little ghoul and goblin for visiting!
Wishing you all a boo-tiful time tonight!