Much loved in the US, the tradition of Halloween Trick or Treating seems to be growing here in the UK. Retailers are making more of their Halloween costume and home decor ranges and Pinterest abounds with costume, make-up, craft and food ideas.
I adore Halloween but I have very mixed feelings about Trick Or Treating.
Opinion seems to be thoroughly polarised between those who think it’s a harmless and fun activity and those who think it’s akin to begging and threatening behaviour.
So where do you stand?
Have you ever turned all the lights out on Halloween just to avoid the constant ringing of the door bell? Have you secretly prayed that those knocking will go away and, when they do, won’t shove something horrid through your letterbox or cover your car in eggs and flour?
And there’s the problem.
In a way it’s a shame that, as in so many other occasions in life, the behaviour of a few idiots spoils it for the masses.
For the past few years I have put on a Halloween tea for the family. Mum and Dad come round and we try to scare my father to death by dangling fake spiders in the toilet.
The house is decorated with the supermarket’s finest and Mr Bones (our skeleton friend) makes his annual appearance.
We always have buckets of sweets ready and it is the Husband’s duty to carve the pumpkins to light the way for any passing revellers.
Very often the callers come early in the evening escorted by their parents and the little ones are dressed to the spooky nines and look incredibly cute.
Later on in the evening sees the odd sulky teen who might be wearing vampire fangs and a smear of fake blood who is happy to take a pound for their trouble.
Caitlin and Ieuan are regularly campaigning to be allowed to go trick or treating but in all honesty I am really not keen on the idea.
They certainly couldn’t go unescorted but, because our village, Dinas Powys, has a large proportion of elderly residents, it isn’t really somewhere that you could knock on loads of random doors.
I suppose you could just go to those houses where there are Halloween decorations or lit pumpkins but it all seems like a lot of effort for a few sweets when you could celebrate at home with your family.
Leaving aside the increased risk of anti-social behaviour on Halloween, there is, in any case, the issue of child safety.
So if you are going trick or treating, remember the following safety tips.
For Younger Children
Do – make sure there are enough adults to keep a close eye on them.
Do – check that children’s costumes have something brightly coloured or glow in the dark so that you can easily spot them.
Do – ensure that children’s Halloween costumes comply with European Regulations and have been flammability tested to the EN71 Standard.
Do – Keep them away from candles and lit pumpkins and take plenty of torches or glow sticks to light the way.
Do – encourage the kids to take wrapped sweets and make sure you are aware of any allergies before setting off.
Don’t – give sweets to your pets and be aware that they may be more nervous than usual.
Don’t – bother people in houses where the lights are off and there are no Halloween decorations.
Don’t – turn up without at least a couple of ‘tricks’ to play and remember to take buckets for the kids to collect their treats in.
If your teens are going trick or treating, make sure you know who they are going with and what time they will be back.
Mobiles should be charged (they can also be used as torches if need be) and, ideally, your teens shouldn’t be sharing their itinerary on Facebook or Snapchat.
You might also want to make sure they’re not secreting stocks of flour, eggs or alcohol!
Above all, remind them that their personal safety comes first and prepare Mum or Dad’s taxi just in case you need to pick them up.
Will your kids be trick or treating this Halloween?