Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just treats, please

Do you live in October Country?

It’s a place where “the hills are fog and the rivers are mist…whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts…whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain…”

That lovely piece of writing is from Ray Bradbury’s “The October Country,” and it describes this time of year perfectly (though it’s a little more humid than foggy where we live). It’s also the time of year when little spooks ring our doorbells and ask for candy.

Halloween really is a little tricky. We spent a lot of time telling children not to accept candy from strangers, after all.

On the other hand, the holiday is a great opportunity to teach your children how to politely interact with others.

• Plan ahead. This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday, prompting some communities to switch Halloween activities to Oct. 30. Some neighborhoods also have established times for acceptable trick-or-treating. Regardless of your own thoughts on this subject, learn when your community will celebrate—it’s no fun to get dressed up, ring doorbells, and find out all the candy is gone.

• When meeting other trick-or-treaters on the sidewalk, say hello and step to the right to pass them. Avoid plowing down smaller children.

• If you’re collecting candy by car, close car doors softly and be alert when walking around moving vehicles.

• Avoid houses with no lights on—there won’t be any candy there, anyway.

• Encourage patience while waiting in line at a popular house. Ring the doorbell only once (try to restrain yourself from banging on the door, even if you are pining for sugar). When the door opens, say “Trick or Treat!” or “Happy Halloween”—but don’t shove your bag in the person’s face.

• If you’re given the bowl of candy to choose from, don’t hem and haw and pick your way through—just take a few pieces (not a handful) and be on your way. But first remember to say thank you!

• Leave behind a good impression, not candy wrappers on the lawn or trampled flowers in the garden. Similarly, admire holiday decorations, but don’t touch or play with them.

Happy Halloween!

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