Big Gorillas and Were-Pumpkins

My shopping list today included: fake fur, teeth, black tights, a tail, and face paint.  My finger is a bit sore from a hot glue gun burn and there’s toilet paper hanging from my neighbor’s tree.  Feels like Halloween! 

Were-Pumpkin! The reason I injured myself on a hot glue gun. Second grade pumpkin contest, bring it on ...

Since having kids, Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays.  It’s fun and imagination and creativity.  It’s Darth Vader being chased by two fairy princesses.  It’s my normally reserved husband coming home with a gorilla suit.  Halloween is childhood and childhood revisited.

The etiquette scene right now (yes there’s a scene!) is putting out tips for a polite Halloween.  I think that’s wonderful as long as we don’t strip the irreverent out of the holiday.  It’s a good idea to go over simple manners, especially if neighbors turn off their lights when your kid reaches their driveway, but don’t forget that this is a holiday where we, as parents, can lighten up a bit. 

The etiquette of Halloween should be this simple:  Remind your kids to say thank you each time they’re given candy.  If a nice neighbor tells you to take what you want, don’t grab a huge handful.  Did the dentist give out toothbrushes again?  Smile and thank him too.  Adults, if you’re wearing a costume to the school Halloween party, it shouldn’t look like you just got off work at a place where poles are the main decor.   Finally, respect the universal, no-candy-here sign; if the lights are off, skip the house.

Now I come to the controversial part of my blog.  (I’m a boat shaker, can’t help it.)  How old is too old for trick or treating? The popular answer is high school.  I have a different answer.  If you come to my house IN A COSTUME and happen to be a teenager, I’ll give you candy.  Childhood is too short and there are many worse things a 16-year-old could do than put on a costume and collect candy. 

Happy Halloween!  May your bags be filled with chocolate.

(Note to neighbors:  Should a 6’3 gorilla happen to visit your home on Sunday, please send my husband home.  You have to draw a line somewhere.)

Melenie Broyles’ radio show, How Not 2 Act, discussed Halloween etiquette this week.  She also shared awesome kids’ Halloween jokes.  Here’s a sample: Why did Dracula’s mother give him cough syrup?  Because he was having a coffin fit.  (A big hit with the 6-8 crowd!)

22 thoughts on “Big Gorillas and Were-Pumpkins

  1. Dear Amy,

    Thanks for this post. I have lead trick or treaters for years now. Hopefully the age range (7-9) will understand the “no lights, no candy.” That has been a difficult one to enforce on 5 and 6.

    A very wise person once told me, ” There are definitely worse things than an excess of gratitude.” Something to live by.

    Have a great Halloween. I think I have to be a Ninja of some sort to coordinate with my son. What are you going to be?


    1. Mike,
      A ninja sounds great! I don’t have a costume but might throw one together at the last minute. The kids have a healthy dress-up stash I can raid. It’s at least good for a cape and hat!

      Hmmm … those words sound familiar. 🙂 (I’m sure whoever she is she is tickled to be called wise.)

      Thanks again!

  2. Love the pumpkin, Amy!

    We have a long driveway, and didn’t have any trick-or-treaters last year (we live in the country)…

    On another blog, I saw a comment that talked about adults trick-or-treating for wine???!!! I don’t think I would have the nerve to do that! Good advice on the adult costumes, though!


  3. I love your attitude! It is about approaching the event with a light heart and having fun but still remembering the basic courtesies, and “Thank You” is at the top of the list.

    As for the age limit, I agree. My oldest is — and has been — very tall for his age, and at 16 is now 6’1″. He stopped going out a couple of years ago because a few people told him he should go home, he was “too old” — despite the fact he did have a costume on. If the kids are simply trolling for candy, have taken the effort to put together a costume and are being mindful of the little ones, give it to them and enjoy the laugh. There are so many other things they could — and shouldn’t — be doing.

    Happy Halloween!

    1. Jodi,
      Thank you! I think that’s another great reason to be relaxed on age limits – many kids look older than they are, we might think the trick-or-treater is 15 but he’s actually a tall 12. I hope your son still enjoys the day. Does he still dress up?

      Happy Halloween!

      1. Hi Amy,
        No, unfortunately Colby has moved past the dress-up phase but he does enjoy handing out the candy. It’s my feeling he’s thinking “Why go out when I can simply sit here with a bowl of it?” (I get a wide variety of treats and always end up with way too much!)

        However, we still have a 10 and 13 year old that enjoy the whole costume process, so it is quite the event around here. In fact, I need to get to work on the “Secret Agent Man” and “Oompa Loompa” selections quickly … time’s flying!

        Here’s to my son eating the candy, not me!

  4. Very cute pumpkin. When I saw the picture I was thinking that looked less dangerous and messy than carving one, but then I read about the hot glue gun burn. Oh well, carving or gluing, it’s all fun as Halloween should be.

  5. Anyone who has the guts to put on a costume and knock on my door to say “trick or treat” is worthy of candy in my book. Even an 80 year old man. Make up for all the sourpusses in the world too uptight to take a night and enjoy a harmless holiday.

  6. Awesome pumpkin!

    My three girls, ages 12-15, are all going trick-or-treating. They planned their costumes, practiced the face paint, etc. I agree that there are far worse things they could find to occupy their time, and they are in fact, still kids! They grow up far too quickly as it is.

  7. Were-pumpkins? Seriously, where were you when I had to carve that pumpkin for school once? I have zero artistic ability which extends to creative gourd designs. That thing better have won something!

    1. It didn’t!! I think he came in second for “unique.” There were some seriously amazing pumpkins there. We’re so going to take it home next year when my daughter’s in the second grade. I should start planning now …

      Not that I’m overly competitive,

  8. Love the pumpkin! I remember when I got into the gray area of being “too old” to trick-or-treat…luckily I stayed looking pretty young, but my friends looked our age and it sucked! We were good kids and just wanted to have fun dressing goofy and getting candy…I know I’ll encourage my son to keep it up as long as he’s being good and courteous about it.

    Now the comment about the adults trick-or-treating for wine…interesting… lol

    Thanks for the post! … can’t wait for the Christmas time etiquette ones (do something with parents and in-laws!!!) lol

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