Halloween Etiquette: Tips for Trick-or-Treating and Costume Parties

Trick-or-Lisa Lyons holds a bowl of candy for three children in costumes to illustrate Trick-or-Treating Etiquette

Few things are as cute as a group of children, proudly wearing their costumes and saying “Trick-or-Treat” at your front door. Some of my fondest memories are of taking my children trick-or-treating, always full of excitement and eagerly anticipating the candy they have “scored.” Something we simply do not talk about enough at Halloween is the etiquette surrounding the holiday. Teaching our children good manners on exciting days such as these extends to the courtesy they show every day of the year.

And there are a couple of tips for grown-ups, too!

Trick-or-Treating Etiquette

  1. If the porch light is off, take this as a sign that this household is not welcoming Trick-or-Treaters. Not everyone has the ability or inclination to facilitate Halloween visitors. It is best to kindly skip this house and move on to the next who will undoubtedly be very happy to see you! 
  2. Teach your children to politely wait their turn when trick-or-treating. 
  3. The phrase “trick-or-treat” takes the place of “please” on Halloween. Saying “thank you” is still a must. 
  4. If the homeowner holds out the candy bowl, children should take only one piece of candy unless they are told otherwise. This applies to the honor system some households use, too! 
  5. When handing out candy, consider having separate bowls with offerings for children with food allergies in mind. For example, separating out peanut-based treats for both safety and inclusion. 
  6. Halloween is not the time to hand out homemade treats. We all want to be more eco-friendly but children should not accept unwrapped treats from strangers and parents will feel uneasy seeing this. Make sure everyone feels safe and opt for pre-packaged items.
  7. And finally, how old is too old to Trick-or-Treat? There is no “rule” for this but personally, I feel that past the age of 16, Trick-or-Treating is not really appropriate. This also goes for parents, too. You are not trick-or-treating, you are chaperoning. Do not take candy unless it is offered to you directly.

Join the trick-or-treating discussion on my recent Instagram post.

Adult Costume Party Etiquette Tips

If you are invited to a costume party but costumes “really aren’t your thing,” it is important to find a way to make an effort. I understand it isn’t for everyone but when you agree to attend a themed event, you are agreeing to participate. Something as simple as silly makeup, a wig, or fake blood can amp up the fun factor. You will be contributing to the party atmosphere and respecting your host! Plus, you may find you actually enjoy it!

As with any party, have fun but remember to behave appropriately. Overindulging, even on an occasion such as Halloween, is never a nice behavior as a guest.

I hope you have found these Halloween etiquette tips helpful! With that, I wish you all a wonderful and spook-filled holiday weekend!

Happy Haunting!

With a wink and a smile,
Lisa Lyons