It’s that time of year for carving pumpkins, and for our ghosts and goblins to go trick or treating. As Halloween approaches on Tuesday night (October 31), consider these modern manners tips:
- Times: Most Wesley Chapel Communities have agreed that the appropriate time for Trick-or-Treating is between 6PM-9PM. Anything after 9PM on a weeknight is generally considered unacceptable. Remember, as with any school night, everyone under 18 years of age must be home before 11:00PM. (Pasco County Ordinances)
- Lights off? Don’t Ring Doorbell or Knock: By simply turning off the outside lights, you will alert trick-or-treaters to skip your house and go on to the next. Tick or Treaters, don’t knock if the light is not on! Remember, some families do not participate because the ringing of their doorbell over and over again causes issues for small children, pets, etc. As an option, consider leaving a bowl of candy by the front door.
- Safety: Younger children should wear reflective and light-up glow gear; and be accompanied by parents or a designated chaperone. Older children should trick or treat as part of a group. Be sure vision is not impaired by a mask or make-up. Never enter someone’s home you don’t know no matter how nice they seem. Carry a flashlight and mobile phone. Follow your intuition, if you have a bad feeling about something avoid it. Avoid open flames, use LED instead. If you see anything suspicious, contact the Pasco Sheriff’s Office at 727-847-8102 or 911 in an emergency.
- Ages: Trick-or-Treating is generally thought of as a kids activity for those under 16 years of age. In Florida, wearing a mask or face covering while in a public street or area is illegal if the person is over the age of 16. (Ch 876.12, Florida Statutes)
- Avoid homemade treats: While it’s a nice thought to want to bake homemade Halloween treats, don’t do it. Many kids have food allergies, etc. It is best to buy pre-packaged candy from trusted brands like Hershey, M&M, Skittles, Dove, Reese’s.
- Alternatives to Candy: Traditional chocolate or sugar-laced candy are always a hit with trick-or-treaters. With parents being more health conscious, consider sealed mini bottled water, pre-packaged popcorn, coloring books, pre-packaged healthy snacks, small inexpensive toys, or pens/pencils.
- Teach Kids Manners: This is a great opportunity to teach your kids manners, such as greeting and thanking each homeowner who gives them candy. Explain to older kids and teenagers that bullying and pushing smaller kids out of the way won’t be tolerated. When they encounter a bowl of candy at the door, make sure they are considerate to other kids and only take one or two pieces. Make sure stress the importance of respecting their neighbors and the neighborhood. No damaging private property or a homeowner’s decorations, or leaving unwanted candy or wrappers in lawns.
- Knock one time and one time only: If no one answers, move on to the next house. There’s no need to be excessive and knock 10 times. The homeowner might be on an important call or trying to help a baby to sleep. On a related note: know when it’s appropriate to knock. Trick-or-treating generally starts just before sunset and ends by 9 p.m.