Trick or Treat or Track Your Kid?

Hi Readers! Trick or treat or track? Those are the three Halloween options this year, according to this aaadtzryab
in the Orlando Sentinel, thanks to an app that allows parents to track their kids as they go trick or treating (or as they go anywhere,  any day. It’s not like the app only works on Oct. 31.)

According to Trick or Tracker’s website, the app “enables responsible parents to know the exact whereabouts of their trick-or-treating kids…”

So I guess it’s only IRRESPONSIBLE parents who allow their kids to go around the neighborhood without the equivalent of an electronic parole bracelet, eh? Now it’s nuts to trust our kids and our communities?

The company presents the app as a lifesaver…for parents who would otherwise trail their kids in a car, and thus end up “risking the lives of others that may stray into their paths, as they are distracted by the task of diligently watching their children from the car window.”

The idea that maybe kids can trick or treat on their own without their parents diligently watching in person or on a screen must seem hopelessly outdated to some. And yet, I vote for it. Why?

Because a lot of kids today rarely walk around their neighborhood at all. Only about one in ten walks to school.  Halloween night is the perfect time to break the ice, since a whole lot of kids are out. And, as I reported last year, professors who pored over sex crime stats found Halloween to be one of the safest days of the year. It’s also a night time holiday — at least when kids get a little older — and a kid who goes out without a parent at night is a kid who walks a little taller the next day.

Yes, walk your young kids around the neighborhood (or have an older kid do it). But when they get to the age that you went trick or treating without your parents, let your kids have that same empowering, en-candying experience. Tricks? Yes. Treats? Yes. Tracking? Boo. –L.


108 Responses to Trick or Treat or Track Your Kid?

  1. Dolly October 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    LOL I saw this somewhere and knew you would comment on it! If it allows the parent to let the kids treat or treat alone than maybe it could be a good thing because at least the kids get some freedom, but obviously overkill. We used to trick or treat in big groups of like 10 or more kids and we tore up dark neighborhoods alone that way. It was so much fun!

    I live in the US south and we don’t even do trick or treating at all hardly. Only certain neighborhoods do it. I get maybe 3 groups of trick or treaters. Thanks to Trunk or Treats no one trick or treats anymore. I LOATHE Trunk or Treats for several reasons. One because they are trying to take over Halloween. Two because they use the whole “It is too dangerous to trick or treat so do this instead”. Three because the kids get a lot of candy without the exercise of having to walk a lot to get it.

  2. Ann October 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I was born in 1972, so that makes me… Old. I *never* was allowed to go trick or treating without parental supervision. When I chafed at the rules, around age 12 or so, I was put on candy duty at my grandmother’s house.

    So it’s not like Halloween paranoia is a new thing. And it’s going to be even harder to undo, since I suspect I’m not the only oldster who was never allowed free rein on Halloween.

  3. KLY October 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    As I got older, we went out alone.

    If my daughter is going out alone, instead of with friends, I go with her as company, mostly. (She’s 12.) It is too boring just by yourself. Heh. I am hoping we can arrange a group this year.

    The thing that made me say “huh?” on this was the part about sitting in the car.
    Seriously? If you’re going out with your kid… get some exercise. LOL. Why the h*ll would anyone be *driving* around behind their kid (or with their kid) on Hallowe’en????

  4. Heather G October 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Lenore, when I saw the two apps on the news I also thought of you. I thought of you again as I was debating with my mother-in-law about trick or treating in the kind of distant future. She was under the impression that my now two year old son would stop trick or treating when he becomes old enough not to need our supervision. It was rather shocking for her that a) I would let him trick or treat unsupervised within the same boundaries that he will be allowed to play in unsupervised and b) that there will come a time when he will play outside of our yard unsupervised.

  5. Linda Wightman October 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    In addition to all the modern-day paranoia, Hallowe’en suffers from a couple of other problems you might not think of when wondering why the app might appeal to some parents.

    (1) The birth rate decline. In my day, parents didn’t worry about letting their small children go off because they were with their older siblings. And the older ones who went trick-or-treating with friends went in a group. Even in our small neighborhood, there was plenty of fun because there were so many kids.

    (2) The take-over of the holiday by adults and commercial interests. Children didn’t need to go far to gather far more candy than they should eat (my brother made his last all the next year) because nearly every adult in the neighborhood was at home, helping to make it a fun time for the children (whether they had any of their own or not), not out entertaining themselves. And it was a children’s holiday, not for teens. The only excuse for anyone over 12 going out trick-or-treating (and that without costume) was to escort the younger ones — every once in a while a compassionate homeowner would call us to the door and give us a piece of candy, too. Now, when high schoolers come to my door, I give them candy if they’ve made any attempt at a costume, but I pity them, that at their age they are begging door-to-door for candy instead of helping younger children to have a good time.

    If I had young children who didn’t have older siblings, or middlin’ children without a responsible group to go with, I’d be one of those parents walking along with them. It’s not only safer, but a social thing — another chance to interact with the neighbors. But DRIVING? If it’s too far to walk, it’s too far to trick-or-treat. Hallowe’en is not only for children, it’s for neighborhoods, specifically, the child’s neighborhood. If they send their kids off to knock on doors of complete strangers, it’s no wonder parents are nervous.

    Call me old-fashioned, or even old — but I think it was more fun, as well as safer, back then.

  6. Forsythia October 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    When my sons trick-or-treated the neighborhood we had rules about not crossing the busy streets alone. When my son was about eight, I let him go on his own … I just swung around the neighborhood on my bike keeping tabs on him from a distance and chatting with hot-cider toting parents doing pretty much the same: being there, without being there. Most of the neighborhood is mobbed because people bring their grand kids from all over because it is very compact, walkable, and safe. It gave the younger ones a sense of responsibility and autonomy to go out on their own, and we were all chatting about how they were all being super careful and responsible as a result.

  7. Lisa October 24, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Well, I have to admit that I may have a hard time giving up walking around with my kids when they’re old enough to go alone…only because it’s such a fun excuse for ME to dress up! LOL! We always do family-themed costume and it’s one of the highlights of my year. I mean, when else does a mom of young who works from home get to dress up? 🙂

    However, I love what Linda said about teens. Our neighborhood is a Halloween hotspot, and kids–including MUCH older kids, like high schoolers, come here to collect candy. Often they aren’t even wearing costumes! (I tell them they have to sing or dance to get candy from me!) Sometimes these older kids are with younger siblings, but usually they’re in groups of older kids. That’s just crazy to me. At some point soon, I’m going to start recruiting teens to supervise my kids for trick-or-treating. But first I’ll have to convince myself that it’s just as fun to stay home & see all the costumes as to go out in the streets! Maybe in a few years… 🙂

  8. KMary October 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    This is outrageous. I was just on a Halloween rant yesterday to my husband. I’ve had it with adults trying to change it to make it “safer” and more convenient for them. Let’s get a few things straight about October 31st: First, it’s called Halloween, not the vague and less-religious/pagan-like “Harvest festival.” Next, take your kids trick or treating in their neighborhood, not at the local mall. (Our mall does this…as if it’s enjoyable to trick or treat under fluorescent lighting and while dodging a woman trying to buy a sweater at Macy’s). And last, 10/31 is the date of Halloween; it is not to be celebrated on a different, more convenient date near Halloween. Your children will not suffer greatly from a little extra excitement on a school night.

  9. Karen October 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    When my son wants to go without me, I’ll gladly let him go with a friend or friends (he’s 10). But honestly, I’m the Halloween nut in our family, and I always dress up to match my son’s costume – and so does the dog – so it’s not quite the complete picture if he goes without us! For me it is not paranoia – I just don’t want to miss the fun. But I’ll stay home when he wants me to!

  10. Selby October 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Ugh, KMary – our elementary school had a Halloween Fair for something like 50 years. Nobody died, nobody was possessed, no goats were sacrificed, no secret Black Sabbaths were practiced in the locker rooms, it was always a wonderful, high-spirited, spooky, costumed, chaotic wonderfest, everyone looked forward to it.

    All of a sudden, this year, for reasons never made clear, the Halloween Fair became the Harvest Fair. It was moved entirely outside with all vestiges of Halloween stripped away. AND. IT. SUCKED.

  11. Emily October 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    I was always taught that kids who were old enough to walk unaccompanied around the neighborhood were too old to trick-or-treat. They might accompany younger siblings, but it was pushy and rude to expect people to give candy to older kids. Older kids could also stay home and answer the door when little goblins and ghouls rang the bell.

  12. Taradlion October 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    We live in a building in NYC. I am a Halloween nut that grew up “in the country” (as my kids call it…really suburbia). My kids do have a blast with kids in our building decorating as a group, trick-or-treating and then with all the neighbors at the after party. I remember thinking the best part of building trick-or-treating was no jacket to ruin the costume (ballerina in a snowsuit anyone?). The kids really connect each year and are always traveling between floors to play with each other without set “playdates”on their own for months after (died down a bit this year because neighbors complained they were playing and making too much noise in the hallway)….

    A few years ago we did Halloween in my home town. My husband had been injured unexpectedly, and was in a Boston hospital, so my kids were already a bit on edge. They were 4 and 7 at the time and commented on how much farther the “candy stops” (houses) were from each other, and how much cooler some of the decorations were, but they were afraid of…wait for it….coyotes….city kids…

  13. Quincy October 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    Did anyone see this? I didn’t really vet it, but…

  14. antsy October 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    I was a teenage trick or treater, and my teens went last year although a few houses spoiled the fun by making them feel bad for doing it. Halloween was one of their as well as my favorite holidays, and it is not the same just escorting kids or handing out candy from home. I think it’s good to stay kids at heart and not feel “too old” or “too cool” for something they love to do. It won’t last forever – let them have a couple more trick or treating experiences! (But they have to have a costume!)

  15. Meagan October 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    It’s not ALWAYS quite that simple… to get to a safe walking area, my son will have to walk along and cross a street with no sidewalks, a fair amount of traffic and terrible visibility (steep hill with lots of overgrown trees and shrubs). I don’t feel especially safe walking down that street, so how will I ever feel safe letting my son walk it? I still plan to teach him to walk (carefully) down the street, and with luck I’ll be able to let him walk alone to school once he’s in middle school, bit I’ll probably never feel safe at Halloween… low light and too many extra cars! Maybe he’ll make friends with another free-range kid in a more walkable neighborhood and he can go over there for Trick or Treating? I know this isn’t quite what you’re talking about- a tracking app won’t help anyway, but I always get defensive when people talk about the importance of kids walking (and my son isn’t even old enough TO walk yet).

  16. antsy October 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    One of my teenagers was asked by a schoolmate to go out and do mischief with him on Halloween. My boy was not interested and went trick or treating instead. I think it’s a good thing when a teenager would rather collect candy than throw eggs or smash pumpkins.

  17. Holly October 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    My parents always took us trick or treating and we have always walked with our kids as well. It never occurred to us not to. The parents (and grandparents & aunts & uncles) dress up too and it’s just an activity that the whole family enjoys doing together.

    The idea of a tracking app seems like just another way for technology to come between parents & children spending time together.

    Just to add my Free-range credentials, my kids do walk to school on their own.

  18. Dolly October 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    I would rather the teens go trick or treating than get drunk or go screw somewhere. As long as they are polite, they get candy from me. They don’t even have to wear a costume although that is appreciated.

    I also get super annoyed when they change the Halloween date. It is not about school though although they use that as an excuse. It is about never having Halloween on a Sunday. Around here in the Bible belt, they don’t want Halloween to be on Sunday so they always move it to the Saturday before if it falls on Sunday. That bugs me.

    I don’t take my boys trick or treating because the one year I did no one was home and even the ones that were home did not even have candy!!! We were out a little early around 6 since mine were super young but still! No candy! really!?

    I am Chrisitan, but I can separate Halloween and Satanism in my head. A holiday is what you make of it. If it is just about costumes and having fun and candy to you than there is nothing evil about it. If anything that is mocking the evil by doing something good instead. I don’t see why a lot of Christians cannot see that. Not to turn this into a debate. I just wish I lived up North around Halloween because from what I hear they do it right up there.

  19. kiesha October 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    When I was probably 8 or so, I started trick or treating with my cousin who was two years older. We went around her town, which was a tiny little place where everybody knew everybody. We would get such a haul of candy and then spend hours organizing it and throwing the Bit O’Honeys and black licorice aside for our parents.

    I feel like 8th grade is the cutoff for trick or treating. Once you get to high school, you should buy your own candy. Halloween isn’t a holiday just for children, but Trick or Treating is really an event just for children (and adults who like to dress up to hand out candy).

    If you want to still dress up, have a Halloween costume party!

  20. Uly October 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    I always give candy to ANYbody in a costume. To my mind, there’s no age limit. I don’t care if you’re an actual grownup, if you have a costume, you get a treat. (Actually, this year I’m giving out glowsticks. They were a big hit last year, and I think it’s nice to give something out that even children who are allergic to nearly everything can enjoy. Not that it’s bad to give out candy, heaven forbid, just that it’s nice to get something else as well!)

    When you’re looking at a “too old” kid you may really be looking at a “very tall” kid who is actually only 9 or 10. Or you may be looking at a legitimately old kid who is developmentally delayed, and whose parents decided not to push that fight this year.

    So yeah. Costumes = treats. The only way, however, somebody NOT in a costume gets a treat is if they can convince me it’s really a costume after all. That’s my ironclad rule.

    With that said, yeah, this tracking app is silly. If you don’t trust your kid and/or neighborhood on Halloween, don’t let your kid out alone! If the neighborhood is that dangerous, the phone might not make it back – and if the kid is that untrustworthy, they’ll just pass the phone off to a friend, right? Every child is clever enough to figure that one out!

  21. Karla October 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I was born in 78 and never trick or treated without an adult present. Once I reached an age where I could’ve I was given candy duty. The tracking thing is definitely going overboard but I do go with my kids (12 & 9) when they go trick or treating and will always make sure an adult is present when they do as it is for their safety. I’m not scared of them getting kidnapped and I have taught them to be careful when on/near the road but it is dark, there are extra cars cruising along side the roads, people darting back and forth, and every year I’ve seen at least one instance of a group of older kids running around being positively awful (and yes I’ve shouted at them). I do prefer walking for trick or treating but having lived in less than ideal locations before I have driven to another neighborhood and followed my kids in a car and once took them to a trunk or treat.

  22. AlanaM October 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Last year my boys were 8 and 11 and went out for the first time by themselves. They covered a lot more ground and I happily stayed home and answered the door and drank wine. Of course, we are doing the same thing this year.

    And their costumes have SWORDS, you know, weapons! How awful…

  23. Stephanie October 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    @antsy – I went trick-or-treating well into my teens as well. My friends and I always got dressed up in fairly elaborate costumes and were extremely polite. Also, we all looked quite young for our age, so I suspect a lot of folks didn’t think we were older than 12 or so, even when we were 16 or 17. Umm.. And one time in college some of my friends and I even went. We all easily passed for mid-teens, and once again we wore some pretty elaborate costumes, so no one gave us any trouble.

    Now that I’m in my late 20s, I obviously don’t go trick-or-treating, but I would never deny candy to anyone who showed up in costume, no matter how old they were. There are much worse things teens could be doing than getting dressed up and getting some exercise.

    And it drives me absolutely NUTS when trick-or-treating isn’t on Oct. 31. I’ve never lived anywhere that it wasn’t on Halloween, but my sister-in-law lives in a town where it’s some random day in the middle of the week, even if October 31 falls ON THE WEEKEND.

  24. Kim October 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    I grew up in a small town but we had to walk a long ways to trick or treat. My mom was not into it. Before I was old enough to go out with friends (10) and no parental supervision we went to our church’s halloween party. An actual Halloween party at the church. In the basement of the parsonage was a haunted house put on by the older childrens church group. Lot’s of running around outside scaring the bejeezus out of each other. The minister and his sons would “haunt” the graveyard across the street on Halloween night, jumping out at unsuspecting trick or treaters.

    I’m a little older than Anne and she is absolutely right, Halloween paranoia is not a new thing. While I was growing up it was razor blades, glass, pins in the candy. That’s what we were always warned about. And we were absolutely not allowed to go to homes if we did not know the people . Which, since it was a small town, we almost always knew the people. But if we didn’t we stayed away.

    Now I live in a subdivision where folks truck in their kids to trick or treat because walking around here is fairly safe. Well lit with slow traffic. I can’t blame them. And at my house we go all out for Halloween. Fog machines, scary creatures and the works so we kind of invite the crowds.

    I’m going with my two boys this Halloween (6 and 3). I’m mostly concerned with some of the older kids in the neighborhood (8 and up) who have no parental supervision any time, let alone on Halloween. They are downright mean to the smaller ones and were it not for them I would be very comfortable letting my 6 year old go around on his own to the neighbor homes close by.

    I think Holly is spot on. Less time spent with the kids.

    Uly – I give candy to everyone too. But last year at 9:45 my doorbell rang ( my porchlight was not on). Dad was standing there with two full-grown, taller than he was, “kids”. My greeting was “Are you freakin kidding me? It’s 9:45. I ran out of candy an hour ago.” I sent them to a neighbor’s house (her light was on) who I do not particularly like. 😉

  25. Jen October 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    My family and I absolutely love Halloween. My mom’s yard is the talk of the town, as she puts out a wooden graveyard, heads on stakes, a skeleton grilling a baby, a mummy running a guy over with an old lawnmower, etc. If it’s depraved or disturbing, it usually makes its way into the yard decorations. This means that people actually drive or walk by every year and take pictures or video, looking to see what else mom’s added. My house isn’t as fun (yet), as it takes time and money to get to that point and we’ve only been here a year or so, and on a tight budget. I’ve never understood the whole “Halloween is a kid’s holiday” thing, as I didn’t quit having fun decorating, dressing up and trick or treating just because I turned 13. Hell, I’m almost 30, and it’s still great fun. I won’t be taking my 2 year old this year, my sister will, but that’s only because I’m hugely pregnant and can’t walk that much. In stead, I’ll be on candy duty at my house instead of making my husband do it.

    An adult quit walking around with my sister and I when I was about 10 and she was 5. I walked around with my sister until she was about 12 or 13, after which she walked by herself or with a couple other kids. I only quit then because I was away at college.

    That being said, the way the township I live in does trick or treat is absolutely ridiculous. The question of “how old is too old” is legislated by our township ordinances. Trick or treat is only permitted until age 12. If you turn 13 on 10/30, you’re technically screwed. Trick or treat is also ALWAYS held on the Sunday before Halloween from 3-4. Yep, one hour to trick or treat, in full daylight. NOT enough time to let anyone admire your costume, or chat with the neighbors we know. The really ridiculous part is that a few years ago Halloween fell on a Sunday, and trick or treat was still held on the 24th. We give out treats to anyone in costume, regardless of age, and for a longer period than the hour the township says we’re supposed to, as do part of our neighbors, but no matter how many petitions have been presented over the years, the township supervisors refuse to change the rules.

  26. antsy October 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Jen says “I’ve never understood the whole “Halloween is a kid’s holiday” thing, as I didn’t quit having fun decorating, dressing up and trick or treating just because I turned 13”.

    I know that I didn’t! However, your township sounds like it’s doing its part to take the fun out of Halloween for everyone.

  27. Kim October 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Jen – that is crazy. I cannot imagine why they felt they had to legislate age. And during the day? What fun is that??

  28. Uly October 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    How can they even be called rules when they’re unenforced and unenforceable?

  29. Library Diva October 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Halloween is alive and well in my city neighborhood. My street could not be better-designed for trick-or-treating if they tried: it’s a one-way, one-block street with sidewalks and lots of houses close together and close to the street. Every year, I give away about 5 pounds of candy, and could probably do more. I give to anyone who comes to the door, even if they don’t have much of a costume. The city’s not very affluent at all, and I know that a lot of the kids probably only have regular clothes because of second-hand shops and church mission giveaways, let alone any ability to afford a costume. (I remember one child being extremely impressed with the $1.50 plastic pumpkin I use to give away the candy…just your standard pumpkin pail, available anywhere, and she acted like she’d never seen one before). I’m happy to give out the candy.

  30. Magnolia October 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    A couple of relevant links about halloween candy from

    My mother never ever ever let me go trick or treating. Once my parents were divorced, going back and forth between their houses was like opposite day. I could go anywhere, do anything, at my dad’s. I always made up some reason I had to be at his house for Halloween, and I’d take my little half-sister trick or treating.

  31. Linda Wightman October 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    “I’ve never understood the whole “Halloween is a kid’s holiday” thing, as I didn’t quit having fun decorating, dressing up and trick or treating just because I turned 13.”

    Just because we left trick-or-treating to the little kids, it doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun! We still carved pumpkins, decorated the house, and sometimes dressed up ourselves to greet the kids at the door. Not to mention enjoyed cider, doughnuts, apples, and the occasional snitch of candy from our give-way basket. But the focus was always on our little neighbors. The teenage years are none too soon to learn to get enjoyment out of making things fun for others.

  32. Dolly October 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Exactly Library Diva. Why penalize a kid who might not have parents who bought him a costume? I give out even more candy to the poorer looking kids. Since we only get a few trick or treaters I end up giving out several handfulls to each kid anyway.

    I also love Halloween. Always been my favorite holiday. I decorate the house inside and out. I get a costume to wear most years. I have taken the kids to several Halloween events and parties. I never grew out of it for sure and I trick or treated till I was about 13 or 14. I missed it when I stopped too but by then all my friends had stopped so I had to stop too.

  33. CWH October 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Dolly – in my area, ToT is always scheduled but it has nothing to do with avoiding Sundays. In fact this year ToT is being held on Sunday, the day before Halloween.

    I’m not clear on the reasoning but I think it has something to do with keeping people off the streets on Halloween itself to reduce mischief. I have no idea if there’s any factual/statistical basis behind this, and until I see otherwise, I will continue to believe that it’s a stupid practice.

  34. Donna October 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    I enjoy going trick or treating with my daughter. I also have to drive my kid to the next neighborhood (well we could walk but she only has so much stamina at 6) so I don’t know if she’ll ever get to go alone. Our neighborhood sucks for trick or treating but the next one over decorates extensively. The houses are all old, mostly with huge porches. The adults sit out on the porches and hand candy out so no need to even knock on doors. Since it’s the same school zone as us, we do know some of the families. And Halloween is ALWAYS on Halloween, even in this southern, Bible belt town.

    I’ve been offered a job in the South Pacific and one of my considerations in taking it is that my daughter won’t get to trick or treat for 2 prime trick or treating years and she LOVES trick or treating. I guess 2 years in the South Pacific might make up for that.

    @Jen – Boy, your township has certainly sucked any once of fun out of trick or treating. There is no way to stop people who want to hand out candy at night on Oct. 31 (or any other night of the week) so I can’t figure out why the residents even bother to follow these rules.

  35. Stephanie October 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    @CWH – I feel like if that’s your town’s reasoning for having trick-or-treat on Sunday, they’ve got it all wrong. If there are a ton of people out on the streets on Halloween, it will be harder for anyone to get away with mischief without getting caught. Now the streets will be vacant on Halloween and the mischief-makers will have free reign. At least that would be my reasoning if I was up to no good. 😛

  36. farrarwilliams October 25, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Why are they trailing the kids in their cars??? Why aren’t they walking too??? Sometimes advertisers make our lives just sound needlessly complex.

  37. Heather G October 25, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    On the thought of teens making Halloween fun for others . . .

    Since my two year old was born we have put a table on our porch with a bucket of dog treats and a giant bucket of candy with a help yourself sign (the kids are surprisingly modest in their takings). We do this to minimize the dog barking and waking my son who has had clinical sleep issues since birth. We live in a great trick or treat neighborhood, the kind that people from other places come to trick or treat. I just found a note on my door from a teen down the street offering to sit in my driveway and hand out candy for us so we don’t have to go out to refill the candy bucket or risk the dog barking. Another neighbor with toddlers found a similar note from another neighborhood teen.

  38. kiesha October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    On the idea of kids not having had a costume bought for them…

    There were MANY years in which I went as a ‘hobo’ or ‘bag lady’ because my parents wouldn’t buy an overpriced costume for me or had the time/skills/desire to make one. So I would throw on clothes that were too big for me and use charcoal or something to smudge up my face.

    I remember adults thinking it was ‘cute’ in Southeastern Ohio. Don’t think it would fly so well in NYC where I live now.

  39. KD October 25, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    This year I am taking my youngest to a party at her godmother’s church, a party we have gone to for years and she loves (wild children running everywhere collecting candy, playing games and winning prizes) while the older ones conncect up with friends and do their thing, including the 9 year old. She asked to skip the party this year and just fo trick or treating. Like I said my youngest would rather go to the party, so we are happy to take her. Our youngest (8) has also been invited to a local community center dance for Friday night so off she goes with her best male friend as his “date” lol…I have always taken the route that Halloween is for the kids and I let them dictate the night within reason, with us acting as the drivers (if needed) and tending to the youngest child at the time. Our only rules, they have to be with someone else such as a friend or group of friends and they have to be where they have told us they are going to be or call and tell us a change in plans. Simple, easy, trust-filled family policies.

  40. kiesha October 25, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    I do remember trick or treating at the mall one year. I was probably six or seven. I thought it was super cool. “I’m at the mall and I’m getting stuff and I don’t have to pay for it!!!”

    I am a little sad that they don’t trick or treat door-to-door in my Brooklyn neighborhood. The kids go to the stores along our two main avenues and collect candy. The logistics of knowing which apartment was giving out candy and thus, which buzzer to buzz, would be pretty difficult to work out, but I do miss handing out candy.

  41. kimsch October 25, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    Our town does trick-or-treating on Sunday from 1-5. They’ve been doing it for about 20 years IIRC.

    When I was a kid there were a lot more SAHMs and we went trick or treating right after school or just as it was getting dark around 5 or so (Daylight Saving Time was before Halloween then). Now there are far more single parent households or dual-income households and there’s no one home to hand out candy before 6 in many places.

    This year we get double the fun. Our kids will go trick or treating on Sunday and on Monday we have our Cub Scout Pack meeting/Halloween party. The kids get to dress up again and we’ll have a “candy exchange” so the kids can trade candy they don’t like/can’t eat(allergies) for candy they do like/can eat.

  42. Dolly October 25, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Linda: True but with as crazy as some parents are nowadays such as with the trick or tracker I doubt a lot of parents would even trust a teenager to take their little one out and trick or treat with them.

    I would if I knew the teenager well and I had people who trusted me at that age, but they are also some parents who would freak about that idea.

  43. Mom's Journal October 25, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    I don’t think there was ever a time that we went trick or treating without an adult, but that was because I grew up in Alaska and we needed a car to retreat into warmth every so often. 😉

  44. Claire53 October 25, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    Read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish – the panopticon of constant surveillance, writ large in today’s relationship between children and their parents.

  45. Rosemary October 25, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    I remember when Lenore wrote the piece about how crime does not increase on Halloween, but children being hit by cars does increase. I wonder if that is partly because it’s the only time all year the kids are out walking around and they’re excited and dashing away from their parents right and left and their instincts for listening and noticing cars subliminally have not been developed?

  46. Sarah Ford October 25, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    I can’t wait for Halloween this year. My 4 year old is really getting it for the first time this year. We live in a great suburb, and have lots of houses within walking distance. I will walk with him, as he’s only 4, but this year I plan on waiting at the bottom of the driveways and let him go up and knock and say trick or treat on his own! We’ve been practicing saying thank you, and thank you anyway if they don’t have candy.

  47. Jenne October 25, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    I’ve lived in towns where they scheduled Trick or Treat, or at least moved it away from Friday and Saturday nights. The stated object was to keep kids off the streets when grown ups going to drinking Halloween parties might be driving. Sad but true. Now I live in a much more free-range town and Halloween is Halloween. I’ll still be nervous about drunks driving on the weekend before Halloween…

    I don’t understand parents who drive behind their kids to trick-or-treat. If it’s important to supervise, you should either walk with the kids or (if you can’t walk that far and don’t have a mobility device) ask another parent if your kids can go with theirs. Or, if you have an older kid, have them walk the younger ones.

    I never drive on Treat night if I can help it– once or twice when I’ve forgotten it was treat night I’ve turned around and gone to the mall or a diner to wait it out rather than drive with all those kids around!

  48. Heather P. October 25, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    I was born in ’71, and as another commenter said, if we were old enough to be out alone we were too old to Trick-or-Treat. At least in my family.
    In our neighborhood, we tried it last year. So many cars following kids not from our neighborhood and so few houses with lights on motivated us to find an alternative. We did a city Trunk or Treat more to make it worthwhile than anything. It wasn’t to avoid scary people, it was to avoid car/kid conflicts! Back in my day, I remember advertisements to avoid driving on Halloween night from 6-8PM BECAUSE of the trick-or-treaters, so this “following in the car” thing seems more of a hazard than a safety precaustion. I mean, while you’re watching your kids, or watching for imaginary boogeymen, who’s watching the road?

  49. Dirge October 25, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    I went Trick or Treating into my first year of college. (“Obviously not” was my answer to the too old question) In HS, I took my younger sisters, but still got candy.

    Now I get dressed up every year to hand out candy. No one is too old. But my little slice of neighborhood is small and out of the way, and I don’t get a lot of kids.

  50. FrancesfromCanada October 25, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    Hallowe’en is October 31, period, and evening, period. What fun is it in broad daylight? When you can’t even see the jack o’lanterns? Not to mention historically inaccurate. One town in my province tried to change it off a Sunday a few years back….the outrage was immense. They left it alone after that.

    Going outside seems to be making a comeback, though the malls do trick or treating. Drives me nuts — do we really want to teach our kids the only “street” they can run around on is a private-owned space intended to part you from your dollars? Our local zoo and heritage park have much better events for the small fry….and not on Hallowe’en night, so the kids can still go trick or treating.

    Someone said Hallowe’en got changed to Harvest Festival? That’s awful. We have harvest festivals, but that’s celebrating the harvest, not All Hallow’s Eve. Different thing entirely.

  51. FrancesfromCanada October 25, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    And who follows their kids from the car, anyway? Unless you have some kind of disability that precludes you from using the sidewalk entirely, that’s the height of laziness. IMHO.

  52. Lollipoplover October 25, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    Halloween is the ultimate free range kids holiday. You coach your kids when they are little with how to ring bells and greet and say their thank yous. When they’re old enough to do the drill, you let them go and have fun.

    We have a huge party every Halloween at our house and all the neighbors are welcome. Every year it gets bigger and we meet more neighbors. The kids have a blast with bobbing for apples, scavenger hunts, and creepy jars with questionable contents. The kids then trick or treat as a large group, with the older ones helping the youngsters.

    The only thing to track on Halloween is how full your bag is getting from all of the treats.

  53. Neener October 25, 2011 at 4:49 am #

    Are these people kidding me?!?! This is the first year my daughter and her entire posse get to go trick-or-treating alone! (Until this year, the other parents wouldn’t allow it, and where’s the fun in going all by yourself?) If they think I’m passing up the opportunity to stay home and hand out candy and bottled water (a HUGE hit) and admire costumes, they’re insane.

    And on the age limit, my rule is, you have a costume of any kind/quality, you get candy, no matter the age. You show up with no costume, you get an arched eyebrow and no candy. And poverty is no excuse – I grew up poor and with a disinterested single mom, and there were many years I was a hobo, gypsy, or ghost because that’s what I could make for myself. Every year, my husband reminds me that this is an invitation to getting our house toilet-papered.

    Seriously – rescheduling a holiday because it’s inconvenient? Until this thread, I never know there were so many ways adults could screw up a perfectly fun kids holiday.

  54. Dolly October 25, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    The only way I can understand driving your kid to trick or treat is if you live way out in the country or in some area where the houses are super far apart. But in that case I would probably just drive my kid to a big neighborhood park somewhere and walk them through that neighborhood to trick or treat. I can’t remember when I first trick or treated alone but it was probably around 4th or 5th grade. With a group of 10 kids or more you don’t have to worry about anyone messing with them.

    I didn’t always do my neighborhood just because my neighborhood did not have a lot of kids in it and so a lot of people never even answered the doors. I would usually go to this huge suburb neighborhood where a lot of my friends lived and trick or treat there. That was the best neighborhood!

    I can’t decide if I am going to try again this year to actually trick or treat in our neighborhood or just stay home and hand out candy or go to a trunk or treat. I really don’t want to do a trunk or treat on principal since I don’t like them. Our church does a Harvest Festival the day before Halloween and I am okay with that. I just don’t like them being ON Halloween. We will be doing that. We have already done a Halloween train ride. Then we have a Halloween party. Then the church Harvest Festival and then the Halloween party at their preschool. So by actual Halloween we might be treated out already.

  55. Magnolia October 25, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    I managed to scrape together a costume every year despite poverty. I wore my grandfather’s coveralls and dressed up as a painter. I made my own face paint out of stuff we had in the kitchen and became a vampire, or zombie, or clown.

  56. Caroline Higgins October 25, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    I actually like the idea of the trick or tracker. If just keeps you updated of there route…and warns you if you they go out of the boundary that you’ve designated.
    As for teenagers trick or treating – why not?! Good clean fun! I agree – mall trick or treating is not fun! Love Halloween!

  57. Caroline Higgins October 25, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    oops typo… their route…not there route! Too much candy corn!

  58. Stephanie October 25, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    There were parents following their kids in cars in my neighborhood last year. One family was even getting in and out of the car from house to house. Mind, this is a suburban neighborhood with houses on small lots. We’re the “in” neighborhood for trick or treating, I assume because we have sidewalks which much of the rest of the town lacks. Still, the excessive number of kids made it less fun for me handing out candy and for my kids trick or treating. It was all kids shoving their way to the door for their turn, scarcely a break in between. No chance to complement costumes or say hi to fellow parents. We ran out of what we thought was heavily purchased candy in about an hour.

    This year, we’re going to my sister’s house. Her crowds are a more normal size. I’ll be out there with my kids, just because their cousin is only 5, and they don’t know the neighborhood that well. I do look forward to when my oldest can go on her own, but this isn’t the year for it.

  59. justanotherjen October 25, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    I was never a fan of Halloween, even as a kid. I just didn’t see the point so as soon as I was old enough to stay home by myself I chose to do that. Most year starting at like 11 or so I might go around the block with my brother (and mom if she went) but when they left our block I’d go home and pass out candy which I enjoyed much more then wandering around the neighborhood when it was usually freezing outside.

    So, now that I have kids I really loathe trick or treating. I find it extremely boring. It’s me pushing a stroller and reminding them to say thank you and not push little kids (or to ignore older kids pushing them out of the way because their parents don’t care if they are rude). I’d rather stay home and pass out candy but my husband is ether working and will NOT take them on his own (if he goes at all). So I have to do it.

    Last year we started out with some neighbors but our then 4yo slowed the group down so the neighbor went on ahead with his 2 kids and our older son and middle daughter (then 9 and 8). We stayed with the 4yo and the baby (4 months). My oldest, then 10, went out with her friend (11) and her sister (7) and older cousin (15). They didn’t even leave until we were on our way back and got home pretty late. I wasn’t at all worried about them.

    She’s not sure if they are going out this year but if they do it won’t be with me. I’m sure she’ll take her younger sister with her this time (she’ll be 9 the week after Halloween). I’ll be taking the now 5yo and 1yo out but we only go around a couple blocks then head home.

    Although I think the app is ridiculous if it gets kids outside without Mommy tagging along right behind them then that’s a plus. Of course, Mommy will then be glued to her computer watching the little dot on the screen instead of passing out candy.

  60. socalledauthor October 25, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    At least I’m not the only who who doesn’t do Halloween. My parents had a sugar-free house growing up and we were on a main road, at the top of a blind hill. My older brother and I would scrounge up a parade of costumes from what was in the house and show them off to my mom, but then we grew out of that.

    Not sure how Halloween will play out when my son gets older. We’ve never had any tick or treaters at our house, even though there’s a sub behind us. Either it’s because the sub is plenty or the kids don’t walk that far (the houses are on 1/2 lots in the sub and acre lots on the main road we’re on– though there is a walking trail). I’m not taking my son trick or treating– I’d rather buy a couple bags of candy that we all like. But if he really wants to go, I don’t oppose my husband taking him.

    The interesting thing about the trackers, is I can’t see how it would really “protect” a child. By the time a parent would become aware that the child is in trouble (unlikely as such trouble even is), it’s already too late. An axe-wielding maniac can drag the kid into the house and kill him and on the tracker it would look the same as if the kid just collected his candy and showed off his costume– by the time it became apparent the kid wasn’t moving on, the kid’s already dead. (And extreme example that’s as likely as the pedophile snatchings.) It’s a false sense of security and the illusion of control, which is potentially dangerous, especially in lieu of safety and preparedness training.

  61. FrancesfromCanada October 25, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Well, I guess if your tracker tells you your kid was at the scene of whatever dastardly Halloween mischief the kids get up to….busted!

    Though if your kid is old enough for mischief he or she can probably disable the thing anyway.

  62. Uly October 25, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    I give to anyone who comes to the door, even if they don’t have much of a costume.

    In our area we’re lucky to have a commune that sells used goods, including Halloween costumes at a few bucks apiece. And the costumes, as far as I’m concerned, don’t have to be good – just as mask or a convincing story about how clothes = costume and you’re golden.

  63. Taradlion October 25, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    What’s a “trunk or treat?”

  64. Taradlion October 25, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    I gotta say, the tracker MIGHT serve a purpose if you don’t trust your kids (it could tell you they had gone “out of bounds” or, as previous poster suggested, let you know if they were at the scene of some mischief) but I don’t see how it will protect them from anything. If the dot stops moving they have already been hit by a car, or been abducted, or they have dropped the stupid phone…

  65. Violet October 25, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    We live in a trick-or-treating neighborhood with decorations, candy, and children. I usually walk with other moms with the little kids while my son and the bigger kids run around like maniacs. At least I am outside and aware but not directly on top of him. My favorite holiday!

  66. Nanci October 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    I LOVE Halloween!!! Anytime people will give me free candy I’m there 🙂 Every year my kids bring home a flyer from school advertising a “Safe Halloween” night. It’s a fair put on by the high school kids for the elementary kids. It’s a few nights before the real halloween. I have no issue with it except for it’s name, it implies that celebrating halloween any other way is unsafe!

    Every year I have gone trick or treating with my kids, we have a great neighborhood for it. We’re hard core trick or treaters, we go out from 6:00 till 9:00. If my kids start to slow down I remind them that the faster they run the more candy they get 🙂 This year I have suggested my daughter, 9, find some friends to go with for part of the time. I suggested it last year too, but she told me I was more fun 🙂 I think this year she’s gonna give it a shot! She will not have a tracking device!

  67. David Black October 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be better for the parents who follow their trick-or-treating kids around in cars to just have the kids ride in the car with them – that way, no one in the family would have to walk, and responsible parents would minimize the danger that their kids might trip while walking, or, even worse, get blisters on their feet. Come to think about it, the App is really not a good answer for the “responsible” parent – better to just keep the kids at home so they won’t trip, get blisters or be abducted.
    BTW, I assume that the parents who drive around in cars following their children trick-or-treating also walk their dogs that way, holding a leash out the window.

  68. SKL October 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I will still follow my kids as they trick-or-treat this year. They are 4/5 and do not have an older sibling to go with them. Hopefully I will be able to wait on the sidewalk as they go from house to house, but if they badly want me to go to the doors with them, I will.

    Not sure how long I will keep it up. It depends on my kids. I need them to do their rounds and meet back at the house after a reasonable amount of time. Right now with all the distractions (and always another house with a light farther down), I don’t see that happening. Maybe next year.

    When I was a kid, our dad went with us until the youngest was big enough to be OK with just the eldest sibling in charge. Nowadays many kids don’t have an older sibling, so that kinda screws it up. But yeah, part of it is the whole “responsible parent” guilt trip.

    I mentioned this last year. The driving around. If a parent is going to follow his children, why not just walk? Cars do kill kids on Halloween, and honestly, there’s no excuse for that.

  69. Dolly October 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Tara: Basically a church hosts an event called “Trunk or Treat” where they invite the church and the community to come and trick or treat in their parking lot from car to car and people hand candy out of their trunk. So the kids don’t have to walk very far to get tons of candy and it does not sound as much fun. Never been to one. Sometimes they will set up games or have a bouncy house, etc. It is a church’s way of trying to control Halloween. They claim it is safer and they won’t have any scary stuff for decorations. They also ask kids to not have scary costumes if they come but I honestly wonder what happens if some kid shows up in a witch or devil costume, are they going to kick them out!? Around here it is especially a southern baptist thing.

  70. Nicole K October 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Being poor is not an excuse to not dress up! A tube of wet’n’wild lipstick costs a dollar and can paint your face in any number of ways.

    In my experience though the kids who don’t dress up are teenagers who think they are too cool to do so, but not too cool to get candy.

  71. Nicole K October 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Call me old fashioned but I hate non-monstrous costumes. Halloween is about ghosts and ghouls, not giant crayons.

  72. Caitlin October 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    This morning my daughter saw the package of candy corn I’d bought for trick-or-treaters. She noticed that it came in individual, single-serve packages, and she said with relief, “Oh, good. That way the candy won’t get germs on it.” I thought that was funny. She may be overreacting to germs a little, but it never occurred to her that someone could tamper with Halloween candy! We (our community) must be doing something right.

  73. Taradlion October 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Thanks Dolly…I grew up in MA and never heard of it. It wouldn’t work in nyc, but kids do go store to store sometimes.

  74. Hayley October 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Halloween is still my favorite holiday. So I definitely went trick or treating when I was a teenager *gasp!* My friends and I would even drive to our different neighborhoods around town so we could hit all of them. But instead of going out for the candy, I actually went out for UNICEF. Almost every house was suprised when I asked for money instead of candy. I wasn’t asking for a lot, just spare change or a dollar. But man, it was like I was putting them out. Often, they said, “Well, I don’t have any cash on me, but have some candy.” Gee, thanks. I can’t exactly send a Hershey bar to a kid in Sudan. And you’re at home!! What do you mean you don’t have cash??

    That’s what I get for trying to be a good teenage trick or treater.

  75. oncefallendotcom October 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    I was born on Halloween, by the way.

    Every year, the media and local governments in a few places are reporting about the dangers of sex offenders during Halloween, which is overblown.

  76. kiesha October 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    I don’t have cash on me at the moment. Zero. Not even a quarter. And I don’t have cash at home either. It’s not surprising to me to hear that other people don’t carry cash either.

  77. KyohakuKeisanki October 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    @Uly: “…whose parents decided not to push that fight this year”

    Umm and you are suggesting that they SHOULD?!?! I don’t have any disorders as far as I know (well, my mom has told me hundreds of times that I don’t, so I assume she’s right), but I have lived under a home that always “pushed the fight” being pro-aging (which they call “growing up”, but it’s more like mental aging… growing up means being more independent, mental aging means changing your interests due to arbitrary cultural standards), even to the point of not letting me join any homeschool events for all ages (6-18 and a couple of older special needs students, as well as little brothers and sisters not of school age yet), only letting me do the ones for just high school. Over time I learned that the only solution was to stop altogether and simply hide all interests. I have been to exactly two social events of any kind since April 2010. I assume she would be horrified to know that I typed an extremely long essay on playgrounds (she has a knack for gradually phasing things out of my life… first it was playgrounds at 10, then all outdoor activity other than golf at 15… also why I am forever anonymous). Oh and as far as Halloween goes, well she hates even depictions of witches/ghosts/magic (though Disney-made stuff gets a free pass with the exceptions of Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven, and their Halloween movies… Pokémon is a dirty word in my house though, which is why I haven’t mentioned it since 2000… it’s becoming hard to hide though [oh, and it doesn’t help that besides thinking it’s evil, she has warned me about it being “for little kids” since 2006… apparenly all those students at MIT are little kids then :P]). Oh, and I never went trick-or-treating at houses (I’m a senior in high school now) — too much risk of razor blades, my mom said, even though my urban area (Tulsa) is more like a giant sburb. I did go to church and mall Halloween/harvest/fall events though (one of which is located in a true suburb of Tulsa and has about 2,000 kids each year), and we do give out candy to about 6 kids each year (last year there were WAY more though). Sorry for the rant… this time of year always reminds me of some things… it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Especially because it was on Halloween 2004 that she gave me an approved computer game for being the best-behaved boy at church that day… then took it away weeks later. The next time I saw that game was December 2008 (though after late 2005, I was afraid to ask). I am still afraid to play it much. For more things that happened in my life, you can read my post in the FAQ (CTRL+F is your friend).

  78. Dolly October 26, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    LOl Nicole. You and my Dad would be BFFs. He always would give me a hard time growing up because I am a total girly girl and would want to be a princess or Barbie or whatever and he wanted me to be scary. We are going as giant crayons this year too. I am pink, DS 1 is orange and DS 2 is red. I tried to get my hubby to do green but he refused. I think we look ADORABLE! I only have one or two more years to make them wear what I pick out so might as well have them in something cute while I can!

  79. Dolly October 26, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    Hayley; It was nice you do the unicef thing but honestly I had NEVER heard of it till two teenagers did that one year to me. I probably gave them a crazy look too because it caught me off guard. I did give them candy and no money because honestly I don’t have money just laying around the house. So if people did that, it doesn’t mean they are crappy people. They probably just got caught off guard or whatever.

  80. kimsch October 26, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    When I was a kid my dad would buy a roll or two of nickles to have change ready for the Unicef boxes. I remember getting them at school and bringing them back there after Halloween.

  81. Eliza October 26, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Halloween is supposed to be a scary time, but tracking your kids 24/7? That’s just plain creepy.

  82. Uly October 26, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Kyo, I’m skimming your post.

    Yes, I think at some point they probably should. There ARE social rules, and your kids need to learn at least some of them as they grow up. At a certain point, many people WILL start to get upset if they’re trick-or-treating, and all kids (even those with special needs) need to know this so they can make an informed choice as grown-ups.

    Dolly: How weird! Over here, Unicef was a huge deal, and we always were given these boxes and everything at school to collect for Unicef, and nearly everybody* gave you pennies and nickels along with your candy even if you didn’t collect!

    *Well, nearly everybody in the houses. We lived on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst (in Brooklyn), so we only hit up the houses on the way home from school. After that, we did the stores! And then we swung around and got them again after the shift changed.

  83. Lea October 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    No trackers here and my younger kids are all T or T without adults this year. They range from 5 – 10 and are going with a bunch of other kids. We’re meeting at a freinds in a different town and the kids are going out until they are ready to drop. The adults are going to have a great time passing out candy and visiting. It’s the first time we’ve let all of them go out together, let alone in a palce where I only know one person. I don’t have a worry in the world over it though. I T or T alone and with freinds from about 8 or so, rain, snow and shine. One year I actually went home and changed costumes half way through so I could go back to the places I’d just covered as someone new.

    We love scary costumes, lots of blood and guts. I’m making zombies out of a couple people this year and a bloody bride with a knife through her as well as a bloody, knife weilding surgon.

    My teenager T or T as well. This year she’s either having freinds over for movies and candy passing out or maybe T or T. They always wear some sort of costume and have great upbeat behavior when out because T or T is fun at any age!

  84. kiesha October 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    I’d heard of Trick or Treat for Unicef on commercials, but I don’t think I ever saw anybody actually do it. The kids I trick or treated around were selfish little tykes. ; )

  85. Julia October 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    I’m really surprised at the number of people who think older kids and teens shouldn’t be trick or treating. Seems kind of party-pooperish to be angry about it. Why wouldn’t we be happy that teens feel like doing something more innocent and childlike?

    Anyone who comes to my door on Halloween gets candy
    if I’m not out with the kids myself. Halloween is more like Mardi Gras in our neighborhood with huge crowds of trick-or-treaters who come in from other neighborhoods and a parade. Teens trick-or-treating is pretty standard here.

    Because of the crowds I’ve gone along with my kids every year although now that they’re older it’s mostly because it’s a traditional family activity.

  86. kiesha October 27, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    I am all about being childish. I am 30 years old and have three assembled Lego kits in my house. I have stuffed animals. I also have no children.
    As I’ve said before, Halloween is a great all-ages holiday. As much as I love to dress up in costumes, I would have felt really weird and pathetic being 15 and going door-to-door for candy. I wanted to go to costume parties (never happened, but it’s what I wanted) at that point, or at least out to haunted houses with my friends, not to shuffle along with little kids and say, “Trick or Treat!” while holding out a pillowcase.
    I would feel super weird about a lone adult out trick or treating, even if they were perfectly safe and just wanted to do something ‘innocent and childlike.’ I feel the same way about high schoolers.

  87. Dolly October 27, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    I would not care if teenagers or adults trick or treated me as long as they were polite but I also might not feel safe opening the door to an adult alone or teenage boys that are older etc. Just because I don’t like opening the door to strangers that could barge in should they want to. That is not paranoid since home invasions do happen. I don’t open the door to strangers any time of year even Halloween if I feel they might be able to home invade me. But if they look fine then I will open up.

    I almost didn’t open the door last year because I have a severe zombie fear and this little girl had the COOLEST and SCARIEST zombie costume ever! It was like a hazmat suit with the glass panel broken out and blood all over it and she had zombie make up on. Scared the pee out of me!

    One time my dad and I were trick or treating when I was about 8 around our neighborhood. It was a nice rich neighborhood but not a lot of kids there and quiet. We hardly saw anyone outside. Well this big teenager was walking around in a Jason mask and holding a bloody machete by himself. He had a sign that said “Trick or Treat” and then he would flip it over and it said “Thank You” on the other side. He never said a word. We tried to get him to talk to us and he wouldn’t. He was a very creepy and authentic Jason since Jason does not talk. My mom said he scared her when she answered the door to him. Very creepy. Still that guy was awesome! Who said teenagers can’t rock the trick or treating thing!?

  88. Jenny Islander October 27, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    @Mom’s Journal: Exactly! My mom waited at the curb because it was usually bitterly cold on Halloween. I would work a few houses, get back into the car, blow on my fingers while she ran the heater and drove a hundred yars, repeat.

    That said–Tracking a cell phone is useless for safety against stranger abductions because, as somebody pointed out above, the first thing a hypothetical abductor is going to do is get rid of the cell phone. It’s useless for behavioral control as well. If you’re concerned about your kids blowing off TorT to go to a rave or something, then you have problems that a tricked-out cell phone cannot solve.

    I want to write a letter to the editor today in the hopes that it will appear in the paper by Monday. The gist is: Look, I don’t mind you teenagers going out for treats. I do mind when you put your backpacks on backwards, zipped open to hold candy, and call that a costume. I do mind when you grab teenager-sized handfuls of candy at every stop. And I darn well do mind when you push little kids aside in your rush to get candy. I know most of you by sight, at least, and this year I will call your parents.

  89. Uly October 27, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    Just because I don’t like opening the door to strangers that could barge in should they want to. That is not paranoid since home invasions do happen.

    Nah, “they do happen” doesn’t mean you’re not paranoid. Lightning strikes (of people) also happen – and they almost certainly happen well more often than you think (I know the stats, but most people don’t), but that doesn’t mean refusing to go outside at all times for fear of being struck by lightning is reasonable.

    Now, you may have a really good reason for extra caution in this area or that. Or even a bad reason that, nevertheless, is valid to you. But that doesn’t mean that the logic you used is correct.

  90. KyohakuKeisanki October 27, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    kiesha: You seem to be somewhat dichotomous. The more you realize that not all cultures are the same (Google “kawaii” for a relevent example), the more inner freedom you possess. In a truly global society people must be willing to reconcile their differences in cultural tradition. Sadly it is America, the “melting pot” of the world, which often is the fastest to react negatively to actions at odds with their own culture. (the Swedish practice of leaving babies outside, anyone?) The part of American culture which bugs me the most is that any male over 15 or so (and even down to 10, though that is more of a joke and an emulation than anything else) is expected to have a “macho image” (which is honestly more childish — not to be confused with or even used in the same sentence as childlike [oops I just did lol] — than simply remaining who he is). Anyway, just be yourself. If you have to worry about what your friends think, then either you have the wrong friends, or free-ranging is not for you because you are too much of a conformist to the “island culture” that is the English language, and very soon those same friends will be pushing you to 6-year-old-proof your house. The only reason you should be someone other than yourself is if you have reason to believe that you may be in serious danger (and ridicule by strangers is not real danger… I’m talking mostly to people in abusive relationships) if you are open. Even then, please, PLEASE, just put on an act, and don’t change who you are when that person is not around.

  91. Dolly October 27, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    Okay Uly let me rephrase that. They happen quite often in my area. We have a lot of gang activity in our city. We live on the outskirts in a nice area, but still our city has high number of home invasions. So you know, not comfortable risking it.

  92. Dolly October 27, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    ps pretty sure we have more home invasions in our city than lightning injuries. But I am going to look up the stats on it. I do know that there is a shooting every Sat night in our city downtown. EVERY Sat night. Gang activity. Shootings other times too but at least every Sat. Eventually the gang stuff might start migrating in our direction. Gang stuff is scary. I won’t even go downtown anymore after dark. And we have a nice touristy downtown area, but it still has a gang shooting every weekend in the tourist area!

    Okay I could not find home invasion stats because it is usually classified under other things like robbery, rape, etc. But our city does have a high crime rate for its size comparatively. So yes, my logic does work.

  93. Dolly October 27, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Okay totally found an article that backs up what I said. Our crime rate of robberies and burguleries put us up above Detroit and Atlanta which are way bigger cities. So yeah…..

  94. Uly October 27, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Dolly, the logic of “Our particular area has a high rate of home invasions” works, but in your original statement – not so much. I don’t know where you live, after all!

  95. Dolly October 27, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    That’s okay Uly. That is why I said “Let me rephrase it”.

  96. kiesha October 27, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    KyohakuKeisanki – no one pressured me to stop trick or treating. It just organically happened. When I was 12, I was among the oldest kids trick or treating, so I realized, “Oh, this is a little kid thing” and decided to stop doing it. Then I saw that older kids got to go to haunted houses in groups of friends or to parties and I decided I wanted to do that.

    I’m not saying that all kids want to give up trick or treating when they hit high school. I’m just saying that I wanted to stop and do more ‘grown-up’ stuff. And seeing as how I’m a big kid at heart with my Legos and stuffed animals, I’m certain there are other people who feel the same as me when it comes to trick or treating.

  97. KyohakuKeisanki October 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Though (@kiesha) I must say that I would prefer the church event to ToT any day… well, at least the one with 2,000 kids… despite having only half that number in membership they really go big with their fall festivals… which are always on Sunday night. That church is far from fundamentalist though; they say anything goes for costumes as long as it isn’t risqué or gory. The only reason they don’t use the word Halloween is that it doesn’t always happen on the same day. So yeah I can see what you said… the event at the jury is still aimed at 3-12 though an I like it 🙂

  98. KyohakuKeisanki October 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    The event at the CHURCH… Stupid autocorrect lol 😛

  99. J.T. Wenting October 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    “. And it was a children’s holiday, not for teens”

    never lived anywhere as a kid where we celebrated Halloween at all (no pagan holidays in a proper Christian village…).
    By the time I went to live in a city in the 1990s, and first came into contact with it, I had no clue what was going on (it never was even mentioned in my childhood, obviously, and now everyone assumed I knew all about it).
    What I did notice was that there was a distinct lack of children, it was all teens (mostly 15+) roaming the area in packs in a decidedly menacing way. People kept their doors shut, their lights turned off so it appeared their houses were deserted.
    Each year the number of reports about packs of teens robbing smaller children of their candy and fighting each other for the spoils grew, until the city took drastic action and now organises the whole thing themselves with schoolteachers and in some places police escorting the kids and keeping the teens off the streets.

    So nice to have a childrens’ holiday only to have it ruined by teens.

    I stopped handing out candy and stuff to the kids, as I stopped keeping any in the home when I moved to a low carb diet. But then again I stopped answering the door for anyone I don’t recognise anyway, as it’s far too dangerous (home invasions are steeply rising, and the risk of being charged as a pedophile for handing kids candy even during halloween is onmipresent here).

  100. pentamom October 29, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    Not that stranger-home-invasions don’t happen and aren’t something to be careful about, but at least around here, though they’re somewhat on the rise, more often than not they involve acquaintances, frequently those involved in dubious business practices together, or otherwise people who have a reason to know you’ve got cash stashed somewhere in your house.

    So the rate of home invasions, and the risk of home invasion for an own-business-minding law-abiding member of the community who does not have any shady family members are not precisely the same.

  101. Donna October 29, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    Actually home invasions when the resident is home are extremely rare. Home invasions of unoccupied dwellings are much more common. This is why most home invasions occur during the day when people area work. Halloween is probably the day you are safest from home invasion because the large amount of people out and about and knocking on random doors make the prospect of being caught very high.

    And you are much more likely to a victim of a crime involving an acquaintance than you are a crime involving a stranger. It is why many of my clients are also victims in other cases.

  102. pentamom October 29, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    “Actually home invasions when the resident is home are extremely rare. Home invasions of unoccupied dwellings are much more common. This is why most home invasions occur during the day when people area work. ”

    I thought the term “home invasion” only applied when the perp forced his way in in the presence of a resident, and the others were burglaries? At least that’s what I meant by the term.

  103. pentamom October 29, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    And that’s how it’s reported in the paper around here — the only time the term “home invasion” is used is when someone’s home and someone forces or threatens their way in.

  104. J.T. Wenting October 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    “I thought the term “home invasion” only applied when the perp forced his way in in the presence of a resident, and the others were burglaries?”

    that’s the definition here as well.
    And as a result people lock themselves into their homes, alarm systems downstairs are engaged when they go to bed, windows are shuttered not just when they’re away but when they’re at home so noone can break in at any time (and the residents can’t look at their own gardens as a result), everyone calling at the door is treated with extreme suspicion.

    The risk is still low, but in an environment where my fence has been vandalised twice in 3 years, I’ve had stones thrown at my windows for merely being single (and therefore a pedophile, according to the insults shouted after me by total strangers), who can blame people for shutting themselves off from their “community”?

  105. gina October 31, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I am not paranoid about the candy, but I do believe that very young children walking in the dark should be escorted because they can’t always be seen well by drivers.

  106. Uly November 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    I think most of us would agree that “very young” children should be escorted after dark for exactly the reason you describe, gina. What constitutes “very young” in your mind?

  107. kristycat November 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Hmm… as a kid, my dad always escorted us trick-or-treating, even when we were well past the age when we really needed it. I don’t think I ever even thought about this or wanted him to stop – it was like a once-a-year bonding thing. We didn’t feel “supervised,” we just… well, my dad was pretty much a big kid sometimes, and I think he was just as heartbroken as we were when we finally got too old for trick-or-treating at all, because he loved going out with us, seeing the decorated houses and the other kids’ costumes, and watching us judge the candy offerings like professionals!

    …of course, it also helped that, with his car, we could get to the “good” neighborhoods. Now that I think about it, my brother and I kinda approached Halloween the same way that a general would plan an invasion…


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