PARENTS

Halloween Trick Or Treating Etiquette: Parents Share Rules They Follow When Taking Their Kids Out

23/10/2015 17:06 BST | Updated 23/10/2015 17:59 BST

Whether or not you take your children trick or treating on 31 October is frequently discussed at this time of year.

Is it okay to take your kids round to strangers' houses to ask for sweets? Or do you celebrate it at home with some other spooky-related activities?

"You spend time teaching them not to talk to strangers then encourage them on this one night," Christine Matthews told HuffPost UK Parents on Facebook.

She's right, but if you do want to take your children out trick or treating, how do you do it safely?

trick or treating

"Our mums tell us their families love Halloween – and not just because of the treats," Anne-Marie O'Leary, editor in chief of Netmums told HuffPost UK Parents.

"The opportunity to dress up plays a big part now, too.

"While safety is always paramount for mums when their children go out trick or treating, it’s also helpful to be mindful of good Halloween etiquette – to maximise the opportunities for treats… and minimise disruption for neighbours."

We reached out to our HuffPost UK parenting community and asked for advice from O'Leary to come up with a guide to Halloween trick or treating etiquette.

These are by no means set rules, but just some suggestions on what has worked for other people.

1. Only approach neighbours you know

Just as we rightly tell our children to never talk to strangers, knocking at the doors of houses of people both you and your child know will give a much clearer message.

"We never go to strangers' houses, even if they have decorated their house," said mum Tanya on Facebook.

2. Only head to houses that are decorated

The majority of mums and dads we asked only headed to houses that have pumpkins lit outside or visible decorations.

One mum said: "Our rule has always been you only trick or treat at houses that are decorated so no one is intimidated, our kids only allowed to go accompanied and only in our very local area."

3. Be respectful of property

O'Leary said: "Remind children to be respectful on neighbours' property - trampling over Mrs Jones’ beloved petunias in the excitement to grab the best sweeties isn’t going to go down well..."

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4. Be wary of time

"Don’t go knocking too late – even people who were feeling generous early in the evening, chances are they’ll have run out come late evening," added O'Leary.

"If pumpkins have been blown out, take that as a 'don’t knock' sign. As it starts to get very dark, that's a good time to head in."

5. Be grateful

Just as some households might have hoards of sweets ready for trick or treaters, others might be less prepared. If they go raiding through their cupboard to find something, your kids should still be grateful.

"If someone opts to give children healthy treats, noses must not be turned up. Raisins should be greeted with as much enthusiasm as Haribo," said O'Leary.

But you know, perhaps not wine...

6. Remember manners

Trick or treat aren’t the only words children should be primed for on Halloween. As ever, please and thank you go a long way.

7. Supervise your kids

Halloween falls after the clocks go back which means it will get dark very early.

Staying with your children during the evening is the safest option and means you can guide them to the right houses while they search for treats.

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