Explaining why we don’t trick or treat

Halloween is always interesting to explain to children. Especially once there’s the peer pressure from school to go trick or treating.


In the past N has had some kind of costume to go to nursery in. Although he’s not really into dressing up so it had mostly just been a pumpkin t shirt or Dracula cape. And the last few years we have carved or decorated pumpkins. But that’s mainly for the excitement of picking our own, or getting creative. And as with this year, by the time Halloween came round, the pumpkin had gone mouldy in our kitchen window…thanks to the warmth from the Aga.

prepping the pumpkin

In the past we’ve also got together with NCT friends around Halloween. It’s a good excuse to get together and celebrate without the need for trick or treating.

concentrating on his play

But N doesn’t go trick or treating. We’re lucky because no-one comes out to us given we’re on a farm outside the village. I’m sure there are plenty of children who do go round the village.

This year he hadn’t mentioned trick or treating at all. Until it got to the evening when I arrived home to find him at the farm, and he told me he wanted to go and trick or treat his cousin.

‘No trick or treating. I don’t believe in it’

‘But it is real, mummy’

‘Yes, but it’s not always nice for people, so I don’t agree with it. And you don’t have a costume’

‘I don’t need a costume’
‘Well, then it’s definitely begging and not even providing entertainment for people you’re trick or treating. No’.

Next thing, his cousin comes bounding through the door to trick or treat. In a hat, but no other costume.

‘Where’s your outfit?’

‘I’ve got a hat’.

So they both ended up with a packet of sweets even though they didn’t really do trick or treating.

I know it’s going to be harder as N gets older and wants to go out with his friends. But I really don’t like the whole trick or treating thing.

For starters I don’t like him having sweets (and neither does the dentist). Then there’s the fact that it’s actually quite scary for a lot of people having dressed up people turning up at the door threatening a trick even if it doesn’t happen. We used to really hate it as kids when people turned up – admittedly in those days, not many and usually teens with rubbish costumes. And while many say they’ll only go to prearranged houses or those with pumpkins lit up, there are lots of reports in our town of doors being egged, despite them having no pumpkins or decorations. Even to those who’ve put notes out saying please don’t disturb.

I hope those who do go trick or treating enjoyed it,  but it’s an activity that I’ll be holding back on as long as possible.

Do you take your children trick or treating, or do you avoid Halloween?


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  1. i took my girls and they had a great time! We only went to houses that were also celebrating and both mine were in full costume. The home owners were as excited as we were and said how cute they looked and how polite they were (proud mummy moment!) I don’t believe it’s begging so long as everyone is in it together. If they’ve bought sweets to give out then it’s not begging (in my opinion). Asking for sweets or whatever from someone who isn’t celebrating is not on! A few houses put up signs wishing everyone a happy Halloween but that they didn’t want to be disturbed and a few said not to knock after 7pm. We have a community Facebook page for the estate and the feedback was all really positive!
    I don’t like my girls having sweets either, but on Halloween they get to keep a few things and then leave the rest by the front door for the ‘Halloween fairy’ to come and swap them for a gift (this year they got spooky story books and poundshop Halloween lego!) – they have the fun of going out and trick or treating all dressed up and seeing all the pumpkins and decorations, they get to keep a few of the nicer sweets and they get a little gift too

    1. Sounds like your area has it all sorted and it’s very much a community. Yes, if people are willing to give then it’s more of a mutual thing. N doesn’t do dressing up, so I can’t see him wanting to do it anyway, if it actually came down to it. Thank for commenting

      1. He’s never liked the dressing up has he! Bless him – I have a friend with children with severe allergies and they can’t go trick
        Or treating because of the risks. They were desperate to go so while they were at school
        She hid treats all
        Over the house and got them costumes, so when they got home they got to do their own version which I thought was brilliant!

  2. We’ve done Trick or Treating once (last year when Halloween was a Saturday) and have welcomed Trick or Treaters for 2 years. All experiences have been good. When Trick or Treating we only went to houses with pumpkins / decorations outside and when we’ve welcomed Trick or Treaters they’ve been polite and thankful. Some of the costumes have been amazing though some just wear masks. It’s been a nice community thing and a chance to catch up with neighbours we don’t see that often. S was ill this year but Imogen LOVED having the ‘monsters’ come to the door and was totally fascinated by it. When we did Trick or Treating it was part of a children’s party so the children who didn’t want to do it could just stay at the party and the kids that went shared their sweets afterwards. So it gets a thumbs up here but I wouldn’t want to do it in an area where there was the potential for trouble or bad feeling. I like the pumpkin ‘signal’ that there is these days, I didn’t do it as a child as it would have meant randomly knocking on doors and I don’t think that is fair.

    1. I think most parents with young kids it’s more harmless. It’s when older children do it, usually on their own, that things get out of hand. Or others just use it as an excuse to cause trouble. It’s just not for me – a) we not really keen on dressing up and b) it’s the presumption people can go round asking for goodies without actually giving something back. We used to go carol singing round houses on our estate for charity (4 of us off our own back), and that feels better because apart from being less threatening, we were actually doing something to get the money.

  3. This was the first time I let my daughter go trick or treating. Like you, we’re not big on Hallowe’en and all the stuff that goes with it. We lived in South London up until 2014 so usually spent the evening with the lights off and ignoring the doorbell! This year, our 2nd hallowe’en living in the Shire, we lit a pumpkin and had a bowl of sweets ready for my daughter to hand out – for the first time. The atmosphere was lovely. Every child (big ones, small ones) were dressed up and all said thank you. I was surprised as we had never done it before! I relented and let my husband take my daughter around our estate and join in. Reports that came back on the community Facebook page were all positive. Shame about the other parts of town where we heard there was egging and such like.

    1. It is a shame when some let the side down and ruin in for others. Sounds like your area is lovely and open to it all, and are responsible.
      Thanks for your comment

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