The do's and don'ts of Halloween

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You may think you know everything there is to know about Halloween, but believe it or not, there's some etiquette to consider. Should teenagers get candy? Is it OK to visit neighbourhoods that give out better candy? Etiquette expert Lisa Orr breaks down the do's and don'ts of Halloween/

TRICK-OR-TREATING HOURS 
Trick or treating typically begins at sunset, which is around 6 p.m. in most of Canada right now. This gives families just enough time to get home from work and school and to have a quick dinner and get ready to head out. As a rule, trick-or-treaters should expect to finish between 8 and 9 p.m.  After that most houses are out of candy or have turned off their lights and pumpkin, which is, as we all know, the universal signal that the Halloween is done!

TRICK-OR-TREATING AGE LIMITS
My rule is if you ring my door bell and say trick or treat you get a treat!  Toddlers, teenagers, twenty year olds – frankly they’re all welcome.  And although I do prefer that they are actually dressed up , I’ve never refused a trick or treater at my door, though I’ll confess I reserve some extra special full size chocolate bars for trick or treaters with really fabulous costumes.

HOW MANY TREATS TO GIVE OUT
This one really depends on how many trick or treaters you get and how long you want to keep your pumpkin lit. Two mini treats per child is a great rule of thumb, but for me, if I want to shut down for the night early, I give out big handfuls early so my treats are finished. 

WHAT TO GIVE OUT (AND WHAT NOT TO!)
The expectation at Halloween is to hand out treats.  They must be packaged so that trick or treaters and their parents don’t throw them out. If you are totally against giving out junk food there are non-food items that can be fun like stick on tattoos or spooky jewelry, but ultimately kids get lots of junk on Halloween and it’s really up to the parents to help their kids make good choices about their treats.

Note: For kids who don’t want to eat all of their candy, many cities and organizations actually host candy drives where kids can donate their extra candy to give to food banks and shelters.

GOING TO THE NEIGHBOURHOODS WHERE THEY HAND OUT THE “GOOD” CANDY
There is nothing wrong with Halloween tourism as long as you’re a gracious visitor. If you are going to visit a different neighborhood be sure to your trick or treater is on their best behaviour, meaning they should use their please and thank yous, be careful not to rush the door and to take only what is offered. That will likely make them the most popular trick or treater on the block!

For more from Lisa, visit www.lisaorretiquette.com
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