Halloween Etiquette


During Halloween, if you are lucky enough to live in an apartment complex or subdivision, your children are likely filling up their tiny buckets and pillow cases with tons of candy. And, it’s easy and relatively safe because you probably know most of the people whose houses you visit.

But what about those people like me, who live out in the middle of freaking nowhere, with no neighbors?

Every year, our version of Trick or Treating is to get in the car and either go to a friend’s subdivision and trick or treat with them, or visit some unsuspecting neighborhood that looks like there are a lot of Halloween participants. 

For some reason this bothers me. I grew up in a subdivision. I can remember my mother complaining when people would drive their kids around to random subdivisions to gather up as much loot (candy) as possible. The kids would come to the door and she would get all huffy because she didn’t know who they were. It was almost as if they were trespassing.

Today, I know that a lot of other people who live in subdivisions feel the same way. After all, Halloween candy is expensive, and running out 30 minutes into the spooky music and dry ice smoke is frustrating. So, when they see the pickup truck pull down their road full to the gills with children that are dressed up as ghosts, ghouls, and goblins they get upset and immediately want to turn off their lights. “These kids aren’t from HERE, they don’t belong here!” 

So, I get it. Trick or Treat territory (so to speak) should be relatively close to home. As parents, you should choose areas where your kids ‘belong’ – where they have friends. Randomly driving around, covering miles of roadways to hit up rich subdivisions in the hopes that you won’t have to buy school snacks for a year is ruthless and rude. 

But what about kids like my kids? 


It’s not their fault they don’t have neighbors. Should they not be able to Trick or Treat because they don’t have a place to belong, in a neighborhood or complex? Is it totally rude for me to drive my kids to the entrance of a subdivision and allow them to enjoy the traditional experience of Trick or Treating, even though the ground is foreign? Am I instantly a maternal candy hoarding hag because we do this? 

Chime in and tell us what you think! Is it okay to trick or treat in places where you do not live or do you feel this is taboo?   

What do you think?

Halloween Etiquette

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. At my house I buy when the bags are cheap (like right now they are $2 each at a couple of the chain stores plus there is coupons out). I want all children to come over because I want my house to be spooky and scare the daylights out of them then they can grab a candy as they go. =D I don’t know my neighbors but only because my own children are so young still (5mos and 2yrs) and things have been busy medically. I think parents should pick one neighborhood then go home. If they are lucky enough to live in a good one great, if not then go somewhere else.

    As long as the children are respectful it should not matter whether they live in that neighborhood.

  2. Profile photo of bonnie bonnie says:

    It’s hard to live out int he middle of nowhere. We did. 15 miles out in fact. My parents drove us into town and we trick or treated at the houses of my parent’s co-workers. The first year my own young family was old enough to trick or treat, I loaded them up to trick or treat in my sister in-law’s neighborhood, where we were shunned and she had to go up to the houses with the kids so they wouldn’t be turned away (some actually did that if they didn’t know the kids). Now I have seven happy kids, I welcome all children, even teens, to take a treat out of the bowl that resides on my front porch with a note to "take one please" so that I can go out with my kids! So far, so good. Come to my house! I’ll not turn you down if I don’t know you!

  3. Profile photo of deena deena says:

    I am one of those moms that live out in the "hollars" and do not have the traditional neighbors/neighborhood. I am also the over proctective mom that is scared to death that some kind of sicko is out to harm kids and mine are on the top of the list (these days you truely can’t be too safe). However, I do not want my children to live life looking out the window. We do "light" trick or treating. Which means we visit family that hands out candy and are only out for 30 mins. We then head home and wait for the fun to begin. We host a Halloween party in my childrens name. There is plenty of candy, games and all kinds of fun! Other parents know how I am and usually share the same ideas that I do. By hosting a party, my children and their friends are able to have a fun and safe halloween. Parents are welcome to stay and help with games or "haunted" festivities. My children look forward to this every year and start planning well in advance.

  4. I guess that I am the only one that is going to forgo Halloween Trick or Treating. The thought of all that candy scares me.

  5. Profile photo of Kathi Kathi says:

    Not all neighborhoods are safe. Kids shouldn’t be punished for not living in the right zip code. I used to take my kids on base, even though we lived off base because it was safer than my old neighborhood.
    What I do think is rude:
    1. Parents that literally drive the kids door to door in a tract housing area. Seriously? Parent, unless you are disabled, this isn’t right. Also it puts the other trick or treaters at risk of being hit.
    2. Parents that demand candy for themselves. Go buy your own or steal it from your kid’s booty like everyone else. Now if mom gets into the spirit and dresses up, I’m likely to give her candy so long as she doesn’t look as old as methusula.
    3. Parents I don’t know telling me their kid is sick and they are getting candy for them. I’m sorry if jr really is sick, but I don’t know if they are just wanting candy for themselves. Good siblings would share with their sick sibling anyway. That’s what we did. It all went into the same bowl.
    4. Parents who have a trick or treat bag for their under 6 month kid. Really? You know that candy is for them, not for the baby.

  6. Profile photo of Holly Holly says:

    This type of thinking is completely destroying the spirit of Halloween and leading more and more families to those slothful Trick-or-Trunks, which are unfortunately becoming more and more popular. I have never in my life heard of, “territory” trick-or-treating. On Halloween, you visit the grandparents first to show off the costumes and then you hurry from neighborhood to neighborhood, trying to maximize your potential stockpile of candy (always trying to take home more than the year before). I knocked on thousands of doors in my childhood and never once did anyone ever care if I was from their neighborhood.
    To make things worse for Halloween, there is all of this fear about tainted candy and kids coming up missing. Most often, when kids are harmed on Halloween, it is typically by people that know them, not strangers. The world isn’t necessarily any more dangerous for trick-or-treating today than it was in years past, urban legends and bigger media have just made it seem that way. But alas, each year I see fewer and fewer trick-or-treaters out on the streets.
    Let’s stop living in fear and bring back the genuine traditions of trick-or-treating on Halloween. Where trick-or-treaters and parents can flood the sidewalks of every neighborhood, crunching down the fall leaves beneath their hurried feet, as they rush from door to door and declare, “Trick-or-Treat!” Halloween offers us all a chance to participate in something truly magical, let’s not muddle it down with overly irrational fears and superfluous rules of social etiquette.
    Happy Halloween!!!

  7. Profile photo of michelle michelle says:

    I take my girls to local trunk or treats at schools or churches. We also go to my parents’ church for their harvest party so they can play games and get candy. I might take them around my parents neighborhood, but I don’t go around my own neighborhood because there are no sidewalks and drivers occasionally think that my rural street is a freeway of sorts.
    As for trick or treaters coming from out of the neighborhood – I don’t mind at all. I think I’m more excited to get trick or treaters than they are to get candy. There aren’t many kids in my neighborhood so I welcome those from beyond the area. I love seeing their cute little costumes! 🙂

  8. Profile photo of michelle michelle says:

    Where’s this?! I want to take my kids there. 🙂

  9. Profile photo of Colleen Colleen says:

    I’m still pregnant with our first but there’s no way I would go trick or treating with him until he’s old enough to understand the concept. I didn’t go trick or treating for the first time until I was 4 years old and it was in my own neighborhood. But, times have changed. There’s no way I would take a kid out in my old neighborhood simply because there aren’t hardley any kids living there anymore so there’s very few houses giving out candy. My husband grew up out in the country so in order for him and his brothers to trick or treat they had to go to their friends neighborhoods. I’m glad we live in a neighborhood with lots of young families like ours so we won’t have to worry about it when our son is old enough. And we do get trick or treaters every year who don’t live around here but I think it’s great that their parents care enough to take the time to take them somewhere to really enjoy what the holiday has become.

  10. Profile photo of Theresa Theresa says:

    I live in a neighborhood close enough to poor neighborhoods that we get extra kids every year. I just plan accordingly and buy enough big bags of little candy to share the joy with the kids who need it. We are tight on funds having a new baby but love making others happy and look forward to seeing the same joy in our own sons eyes when he’s old enough to appreciate it.

  11. Profile photo of Nikki Nikki says:

    If my son was old enough(he’s 2 months) I wouldn’t dare take him around this neighborhood. I’d take him somewhere else. We’ve lived in this house in this subdivision for 2 years a murderer was caught in the first 2 weeks we moved here, cops everywhere surrounding the house & helicopters. Absolutely not! Thank goodness we are moving in 2 weeks.
    So I would be one to take my son elsewhere to trick or treat. As much as I’d love to take him this year, as a new mom, I try to look at it from someone else’s point of view… He’s not gonna eat the candy so I won’t be taking him anywhere. Because honestly it did bother me last year when adults knocked on my door with a baby & had a sleeping bag full of candy.

  12. Profile photo of Nimbus Nimbus says:

    God, no. We have two rich neighborhoods near our country home and they actually compete with each other with giving out the most king sized candy bars

  13. Profile photo of Ashley Ashley says:

    I think when you turn on your outside lights for trick-or-treaters you should expect to be open for all kids, not just the ones you happen to know. I do think I would personally feel better (safer) going to a neighborhood where I know someone.

  14. Profile photo of vicki vicki says:

    i cant wait till next year when I will be able to take my little one trick or treating

  15. Profile photo of Valerie Valerie says:

    Your greedy, selfish, rude, and dumb if you want to keep candy from kids just because their not from your neighborhood. SMH at that, I could never imagine doing that to some poor innocent kid that just wants to participate in a tradition of the holiday.

  16. Profile photo of SPEDREX07 SPEDREX07 says:

    there should be no such thing as territory neighborhoods, i dont agree with not wanting to give kids candies cuz you dont know them. i have young children who i never let leave the house and play in the neighborhood so even if i belonged, no one would know who i am. besides for a kid you can never get enough candy! i remember just running from house to house and it stil wasnt enough. my parents didnt say lets hoard candy i did and i would get home trade candies between my 6 siblings count them up, boast what i got. and when i was satisfied i would hide it in a secluded spot. halloween is about kids getting lots of candy!!!!!

  17. Profile photo of Amy Amy says:

    I’m sorry but trick or treating is about the kids. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood they’re from or not from. There are many kids out there that live in rural areas and have to drive to more urban areas to trick or treat. I’m sorry but the way these moms are being territorial is just ridiculous, it has nothing to do with parents trying to get more candy it’s about parents giving their child the joy of the holiday. I live in a very small town and go to my sister-in-laws to trick or treat together with our children, all the people there find it a joy to see so many children enjoying the holiday. So to all those moms being territorial, I say get off your F#<king pedestal and let the children enjoy the fun of the holiday.

  18. Profile photo of Theresa Theresa says:

    We go to a different neighborhood because I am not comfortable taking my kids out in our ownneighborhood. And if I was comfortable with it, I would probably still go elsewhere since our neighborhood is not well lit, even missing sidewalks in some areas.

  19. Profile photo of Sarah Sarah says:

    we do it at the mall, the church or my mom’s work(retirement community). We use to go to my in laws neighborhood but they live on the over side of town and it takes FOREVER to get there and back to our place.

  20. Profile photo of krsy001 krsy001 says:

    I think it is ok to go to another neighborhood. I do that every year! I take my daughter to my mom’s neighborhood to trick or treat. It is where I grew up and I feel safer there than I do my own neighborhood-despite us living in a smaller community.

  21. Profile photo of debbie debbie says:

    Yes, it’s ok to go to a different neighborhood

  22. Profile photo of Jeanetta Jeanetta says:

    I’m pregnant with my first child so we will miss out on trick or treating this year, but I will have the same problem as you next year but for different reasons…no one in the area I live in gives out candy so we will have to go to another area of town… 🙁

  23. the baby girl looks pretty

  24. i love the princess outfit