Five Things I Learned While Trick-Or-Treating

Last night, I took my biological blood minions trick-or-treating for the first time. Here are five useful Halloween hacks I discovered along the way.

Like it or not, Halloween is steadily gaining traction in Australia with more and more kiddies joining the fold each year. I was actually astonished by the number of trick-or-treaters I saw skulking about, including a pair of scantily clad catwomen who appeared to be around 25 years old. What's all that about, eh?

If you're planning to go trick-or-treating with your kids next year, here are a few tips that will make your Yankee festivities as fun and painless as possible.

Stick to quiet roads

Bit of an obvious tip really, but busy streets are definitely best avoided. Apart from the increased danger involved, it creates needless stress for the guardian and detracts from the fun. It also increases the chance of idiots honking their horns at your kids as they gun past (or even throwing eggs, which apparently happens.)

Keep an eye out for signage

It is becoming increasingly common for Halloween advocates to signpost their houses with spooky banners and other paraphernalia to let kids know that they're participating. If you want to spare your kids from a stern lecture about America's bastardisation of Australian culture, stick to the houses with the Halloween signs. (As an added bonus, these people usually have better candy too.)

Use small lolly receptacles

This is a clever idea for two reasons: firstly, a smaller bag means a smaller lolly haul, which could save your kid a painful trip to the dentist. Secondly, it reduces the amount of time you need to spend trudging about the neighbourhood: once their bags are filled, it's home time. Your children will still have a container overflowing with treats so they're unlikely to care too much.

Beware the Legion

During our travels, we occasionally encountered huge, roving bands of trick-or-treaters who had decided to join forces on the road. These groups are best avoided. Most Halloween hosts dispense their lollies far more frugally when confronted with multiple upthrust bags: subsequently, your haul from each house will be greatly reduced. Also, another kid might be wearing the same Dracula outfit as you which is a social faux pas of the worst order.

Black cats = Facebook/Instagram paydirt

If a black cat happens to cross your kid's path, milk that dusky bastard for every photo you can!

See also: What Is The Scariest Movie Ever Made? | Give Fat Kids Abusive Notes For Halloween Instead Of Lollies | Does Halloween Matter In Australia?


Comments

    Heh, cool. When I went out last night I saw several bunches of kids roaming the streets this year. I'd never really seen it before!

    Chris - how many 'americanisation' lectures did you get? It'd be hard to not be defensive of your kids just having some fun.

      One woman sternly said she didn't celebrate Halloween before slamming the door. Other than that, we got off pretty lightly!

        I would never be that rude to trick or treaters (they're kids after all) but my Mum told me that this year she felt bad because she was un-prepared and had nothing to give them. So I guess an extra tip might be to send out a neighborhood letter establishing some kind of standardised indication as to whether each house is participating, in order to make things better for everyone ie. put a picture of a ghost up on your gate if you are giving out lollies.

        Last edited 01/11/13 10:17 pm

    Yeah.. I realise it for the kids and supposed to be some fun, and no doubt there will be those who will chastise me for poo pooing it, BUT,.. this is Australia, lets try and hang on to what little culture we have and stop Americanising the country! I don't see why I should feel guilty for telling kids we don't celebrate this particular cultural Americanisation. Afterall it's just another way to get people to buy crap they wouldn't normally buy...! :)

    Last edited 01/11/13 12:17 pm

      C'mon, this is just a warm up for Thanks Giving later in the month. It will be interesting to see if this is somehow is promoted in the coming years.

      Whenever I see posts like this, I always think: what is the Australian cultural event on October 31st that this is detracting from.

      Also - Halloween is Irish.

        I really don't care where it originated, the massive commercialisation is American..!
        So tell me why do we need to fill the space with this American nonsense...?

          Because its fun, it gets people to meet their neighbours, AND it's arguably good for retail. You not liking something doesn't invalidate it. It being American doesn't invalidate it either - people wouldn't latch onto it if it wasn't fun.

          Most of the ways in which we celebrate out holidays are basically American anyway. Our Christmas celebrations are basically coke flavoured. Mother's Day was founded in 1908 by an American, as was Fathers Day.

            You're entitled to your opinion as am I. None of what you said makes it something we should embrace just because it's fun. We are becoming US sycophants, and this is just another cynical way to suck money from your pocket. If you look at the crap selling at the supermarket, you'll find all of it is just tacky plastic crap that will end up in the land fill...!

              We're not 'becoming' anything. We were US sycophants 40 years before I was born. Your complaining about something that has already happened. Hell, whenever I ask someone what Australian culture is, its basically: 'mateship, the bush and BBQ'. Basically stuff that literally applies to every country ever. Hell, your avatar is from American TV!

              The fact is though, your making these claims about how bad it all is. On what basis? "Americanisation" isn't inherently bad. Specific aspects may be. You need to make a case that there is something inherently bad about Halloween, and I'm just not seeing it.

                I'm sorry, but I don't see your point. Adopting American culture may be a fete de compli but that doesn't mean we should adopt every stupid part of US culture just because we can. Would you stick 'yer head in a lit oven because some Yank told you to..? Maybe I'm a bit more worried about losing our identity than you are...? This is just another blatant commercialisation designed by corporate fat cats to drag more money from your pocket. Hope you have deep pockets because there's more to come...!

                Last edited 02/11/13 3:20 pm

                  I'm asking you again - what identity do we have, and how does celebrating Halloween or any other Yank holiday detract from that? I need specific examples here. At the moment, all your basically saying is its bad because its bad. You don't make an actual case for why Halloween is bad at all - you make vague references to commercialisation, but commercialisation isn't inherently bad because I still don't have to give anyone any money/candy unless I want to.

                  We have a particularly Ozzie way of communicating, also we are respected as soldiers and people from overseas in general, bogans not withstanding, find us friendly and outgoing. That would be a general overview, I'm sure others can fill in the gaps! However why do you need a particular and specific cultural identity..? How does that make our cultural identity more or less relevant...?

          Why would you reject it just because it's American? What's wrong with adopting customs from other cultures, if they don't impinge on already established Australian ones?

            Lets adopt things that aren't blatant methods to increase sales of crap we wouldn't have bought in the first place...! :)

              Every single holiday and celebration that exists could be described that way. Buying stuff does not make it bad or evil.

                No one said anything about being bad or evil, just blatant commercialisation. Advertise the crap out of it, get the kids to pester parents.... new fad...!!

                  Your comment implied that the holiday is bad because people are encouraged to buy things. I suppose you don't celebrate Christmas, Easter or Valentine's day either, as they are all commercialised to the same degree, and not invented in Australia.

                  You often read your own interpretation into my comments, and that's your problem. Oh.. and no we don't celebrate any of those holidays..!

        Not specifically Irish, more Celtic generally. Halloween was celebrated (or whatever term you'd use, that seems a bit of a strange term) throughout Scotland, Ireland and much of northern England, often by kids going door to door. That said, they didn't just stick their grubby little hands out and effectively say "give me sweeties!"

      I think Australia could use a little culture and tradition ... no matter where it comes from.

    We had two lots of kids come to our door last night. Three of them weren't in costume, but one of them was wearing a blue onesie, so I don't think that counted. There were a group of kids with costumes, but they passed our house as we were leaving to pick up dinner.

    We had a bowl of snack-sized chocolates and gave one or two to kids. I had my gas mask (with a ceramic respirator and all. Like this one: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/315N6NKNSQL._SL500_AA300_.jpg but with a bigger filter), but I put it on too late into the evening, so we didn't have anyone come by.

    I had a lot of fun having kids knock on the door, and next year I plan to put up some cool halloween stuff, probably bust out the ol' Arduino / Raspberry Pi to make a neat light effects system or something.

      I find the image of you sadly waiting by the door in your gas mask oddly hilarious.

        It was even funnier, because the only person who DID show up was my mother, who wished us a happy anniversary (we had a Halloween wedding four years ago), and I answered the door in my mask, to much disappointment.

    When done correctly, its a fantastic neighbourhood exercise. Kids get dressed up, neighbours get out to chat, and techie dads get to play. I played scary screams at full volume, and answered the door as the character in the movie The Ring. Trick or Treaters were gobsmacked.
    Lots of fun. Cant wait until next year.

    This!.....I actually met my neighbours

    Been in the street for almost a year, hardly see any of them, some of them nice some of them not so. Plus the signage is a good idea, I thought our decorations and cobwebs etc was a good give away but signage would help with those who give out lollies (or money!)

    We hardly had anyone come past, just kids from next door and one around the corner, but the community was welcoming when I went with my kids.

    We had a letter and a baloon in our letter box advising that the kids would be coming between 7:30pm - 8:30pm. If we wished to participate, to leave the baloon on the letter box so they could identify the houses who whised to have Trick or Treaters.

    We got visisted by 2 mobs of kids who looked like they were enjoying themselved! I answered the door in my Ghost busters T-Shirt and my Candy bowl which has a "uncle fester" head which moves its eyes and makes noise. Some of the kids were freaked out by it, but overall enjoyed seeing the kids having so much fun (with parental supervision of course) and thought it was a great idea!

    Allowing the owner to put up a baloon if they wish to participate was a fantastic idea! I know it's an American tradition, but seeing kids faces light up is pricesless, especialy when I have a little one myself.. cant wait to take her out and get my Tech gear on! ;-)

    Had no one last year at my last place, but had 2 kids this year, the lucky buggers got some barley sugar that was in the cupboard unopened .. because who likes barley sugar.

    What the hell is candy? I simply must know. Is it chocolate? Is it lollies? Is it both?? Is there a point at which the lines are crossed and lollies become chocolates, while chocolates are lollies? I do no understand.

      I use 'candy' for hard sweets and 'lollies' for soft stuff like jelly babies and milk bottles. The two are so dissimilar that there ought to be a distinction.

        That's funny because I use lollies to refer to boiled sweets exclusively, and candy for everything from else AND hard sweets. I could be using them completely wrong though.

    This year: trick or treating.
    Next year: stand your ground fatality.

    USA! USA! USA!

    I think it's great fun! There's a whole street in a nearby suburb where the houses go all out with graveyards and lights - of course, they run out of treats earlier so my younger sister made a quick detour down our own street to get some extras (which paid off as there was less competition so the door-answerers were very generous). We're new to the area, so it was a great opportunity to meet the neighbours (I even got some work babysitting). All in all, it's a lot of fun, and if you don't want to participate just put up a sign saying "we don't celebrate halloween" so you won't be constantly getting up to answer the door.

    Most holiday affairs are about family or friends, this one is about neighbours, I think that's healthy.

      And lots and lots of sugar. Also healthy.

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