Monday, October 31, 2011


Here they come: Ghosts, goblins, aliens and zombies, some on foot, others in strollers or atop their parent's shoulders. However they arrive, may these monsters be civilized, and those doling out the loot be pleasant and gracious tonight. Not everyone welcomes this ancient celebration - cavity-conscious parents, irascible neighbors, homeowners with newly-seeded front lawns, but as sweet teeth rejoice, there is something undeniably Fall-ish about costumed-children criss-crossing the street, trick-or-treating from house to house. Inevitably, there will be some for whom creepy costumes and wickedly bad behavior will crawl out of the woodwork hand in hand this evening. With that, here's a Halloween primer guaranteed to make fright night a pleasant one for everyone. If your youngsters are ringing the bell, remind them to be respectful and appreciative, and say thank you. If you are the one handing out the goods, be kind and generous. I blogged about this last month, but it bears repeating: If the lights are on, the candy store is open for business. No costume, no candy. My cutoff is 14 and under. No teeth, no stash. Grown men and women with pillow linens needn't waste their time. If you fall into one of these categories, don't curse at me or steal my yard decorations. Some neighbors will go to great lengths to avoid foot traffic on their front lawns by cordoning them off with crime scene tape. As for the rest, use the front walk or driveway. And even though the excitement will be too much to contain, no one wants strangers trampling overthemselves into the entryway, hands first into the candy bowl. Believe me, we have been expecting you - for 364 days! We know you're coming, and one knock or ring of the door bell is sufficient. If our house is darker than the morgue, just assume no one is home and move on. This year Halloween falls on a school night, thankfully. Homework and a good night's sleep will trump the fun at some point. If you are the designated door greeter in your house, even though this mob might be high on sugar, greet Willy Wonka and Lady Liberty with cheer. If you run out of loot, don't panic. But don't start handing out loose change or cans from the pantry either. When your supply has dwindled, turn out all the exterior lights. Everyone knows that's Halloween code for ‘do not bother’. Unless you want to invite disappoint, don't answer the door anyway to explain how sorry you are that you have nothing left to give. Whichever side of the door you are on this evening, have fun and keep it civilized. Afterall, it really DOES 'Manner A lot'. Happy Halloween.

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