1. Halloween is the greatest day ever for kids.

All month, kids have been making Oreo spiders and chocolate mud with gummy worms, carving pumpkins and stretching bunches of cotton spider-webs across their front bushes. Night after night, children have been dreaming of their costumes and endless heaps of delicious, perfect, plentiful candy. So, if you’re going to participate in Halloween festivities this year, please, for the children, get into it! Make it your goal to create a Halloween as magical as yours were when you were young.

2. Choose a costume, not a culture.

There are thousands of Halloween costumes each year, which far exceed the “walking dead” theme that Halloween used to cater to when Pagans first celebrated the Holiday. Now, we dress as anything, from zombies to clowns to people in giant banana suits. Remember, though, that dressing up as another person’s race (associated with biology) or ethnicity (associated with culture) is not okay to do, as it trivializes the sacredness and importance of identity. Click here if you’re interested in learning more about this important issue.

3. Porch lights and decorations mean Trick-Or-Treaters!

If you don’t want little (or big) visitors, be sure to turn off your porch lights. It would also be kind to leave a large sign either on your door or fence that reads “Not Home!”

4. Bigger candy equals bigger success.

A lot of things have changed since we were kids, but one thing remains the same: giant candy bars are king. It’s no secret that after trick-or-treating, every kid runs home, dumps their candy, and sorts out the bogus from the major scores. Give these kids something to celebrate.

5. “Healthy” is not cool. Not tonight.

Sure, little packets of almond butter and tiny green apples are healthy and delicious ways to keep your community kids from earning more cavities this Halloween, but be sure to channel your inner child and keep the health food out of the equation—maybe the parents would love your nutritious snack while they’re out and about?

6. And neither are homemade treats.

Reason being: children have been injured by candy that was laced with drugs or had dangerous, sharp objects inserted into them. It feels unlikely that this could happen in our own community, but people are still creepy, and even though you’re not, it’s not worth the risk for parents to allow their little ones to eat homemade treats, so be sure to keep your treats individually wrapped and store-bought.

7. Halloween is a real life “The Purge” for teenage rebellion. Embrace it.

Pumpkins will be smashed. Candy will be catapulted through the sky, only to land with a splat across the sidewalk. By morning, toilet paper will adorn a few unlucky neighborhood trees, and your garden gnome will have somehow found its way to your neighbor’s door four houses down. Packs of teens, not unlike packs of unruly werewolves, will be prowling neighborhoods, acting crazy and having a great time. Have a talk with your teen about the consequences of vandalism, but give them the freedom to run around like, well, kids, and have a safe, fun time.

8. Kids still love—but hardly ever receive—Halloween riddles.

I’m not speaking from experience, because I never had to answer a riddle or a joke before receiving free candy as a child, but, apparently, a lot of lucky kids did! How fun is that? So ready yourself with an armada of jokes, riddles, and tongue-twisters, and ask your trick-or-treaters as they come to your door!

9. The ultimate challenge: “Take One” Bowls, and why they need to disappear.

Here’s the deal. If you don’t want to be “that neighbor” who doesn’t participate in Halloween, but also don’t want to put the effort in to answering the door, you need to find a better option than the infamous gigantic, tempting bowl brimming with candy with a small sign that says “Please Take ONE!” These kids are sugar-hungry, determined candy-collectors, and all it takes is one renegade to dump the whole thing in their bag and ruin the fun for others.

10. There’s a fine line between being fun scary and traumatizingly scary… walk it well.

On the other side of that coin, I do fully support a “Take One” bowl if the scenario is as follows: kids walk on porch, see a life-size mummy holding a bowl that reads “take one” and, as they reach to take one, the life-size mummy comes to life, letting out a low roar that gives the kids a gentle scare and some excitement. Sure, it’s scary, but it’s Halloween. What’s not okay is running toward kids from behind a door or bushes, or grabbing them in any way—let’s make this a FUN night to remember!

Contributed by Christine St. Pierre

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