Trick or Treat. A bit of harmless fun, or the extortion of goods with threats?
In the geek household the adults are split over this question. The geekdaddy loves Halloween, and everything it entails. I, on the other hand, am very against the whole thing.
OK, carving the pumpkin is harmless enough. But I’ve always struggled with Trick or Treat. I don’t like it when unannounced visitors arrive on my doorstep at the best of times, but when it’s herds of small children, in many cases with no responsible adult in sight, I feel completely irrationally unable to cope. I want to scream at them, to demand to know why they’re out on their own after dark. But instead I have to smile and hand over sweets. And then there’s the ones that have made no effort to dress up at all, who are clearly just out on the scrounge and not entering into the spirit of the thing.
The only time I’ve sent Trick or Treaters away was many years ago, in our old house. A group of kids turned up a full two weeks early. When I pointed out that it wasn’t Halloween yet, they made the excuse that they would be on holiday on the actual day, and thus were getting in early. I told them they could go trick or treating wherever they were on holiday, and shut the door on them.
So when it comes to Halloween I usually just buy a big bag of Haribo, grit my teeth, and spend the evening on tenterhooks waiting for the doorbell to go.
As the kids have got older they have started wanting to go out Trick or Treating themselves. The geekdaddy is, of course, completely in favour of this, whereas I am deeply uncomfortable with it. But realistically I have two options – either cause a huge great family row, or just step back and let them get on with it. And, uncomfortable as it makes me, it doesn’t seem like that big of deal that I want a big family fight about it.
So this year the geekdaddy took the kids out trick or treating. He put some very sensible ground rules in place, most importantly that they were only allowed to knock on doors of houses that had pumpkins out or were decorated in some way. He would accompany them at all times, waiting at the end of the drives for them to knock on the doors. It helped that both kids had had a safety talk at school and been given the same guidance there.
Whilst they were out I skulked at home. With all the lights off (it honestly was just a coincidence that the bulb blew in our porch light earlier in the day and I didn’t have a spare. Really honestly). Hoping that no-one would right the doorbell, but at the same time feeling extremely guilty that my kids were out doing that self-same thing.
They had a great time. Of course they did. They arrived home with buckets full of chocolate and sweets. Which means they’re going to want to do it again next year. And I’m going to have the same conflicted feelings again.
How do you handle trick or treating? Do you love it or hate it? And does your other half feel the same?