Hal­loween trick or treat sur­vival tips

Hal­loween is huge in the United States and has grown in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in New Zealand over the last cou­ple of decades or so.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER - Head to Neigh­bourly.co.nz to down­load a poster to let trick or treaters know whether they’re wel­come or will be scared away!

The night is loosely linked to old Celtic be­liefs around ghosts and their re­turn to earth at a cer­tain time of the year.

There have been nu­mer­ous vari­a­tions on the theme over the cen­turies but to­day it’s more about kids dress­ing in cos­tume on Oc­to­ber 31 and hit­ting up the neigh­bours for sweet treats.

It’s not nec­es­sar­ily pop­u­lar with ev­ery­one – but here are a few tips for those who do want to par­tic­i­pate, as well as a cou­ple for those who don’t:

BE PRE­PARED

Make sure you’ve stocked up on lol­lies and other sweet treats if you know your area is a Hal­loween hub. Give the kids in your neigh­bour­hood a steer in the right di­rec­tion by deck­ing your house out with cob­webs and bats and stick­ing a ‘‘trick or treaters wel­come here’’ sign on your front door or let­ter­box. Alternatively, dis­play a ‘‘Hal­loween-free zone’’ sign in an easy-to-spy spot if it’s not your cup of tea and if you’d rather be left alone.

SAFETY IS PARA­MOUNT

Never let your chil­dren wan­der the streets unat­tended, es­pe­cially in the dark. Al­ways make sure there’s enough adult su­per­vi­sion and set a cur­few of 8pm. Don’t en­ter homes – just stick to the doorstep. And re­mem­ber – dark cos­tumes can make it trick­ier for driv­ers to see lit­tle ghosts and ghouls.

TRICK OR TREAT

Avoid dis­grun­tled neigh­bours by en­cour­ag­ing your kids to fo­cus on the ‘‘treat’’ part of Hal­loween rather than the ‘‘trick’’ – par­tic­u­larly when young fam­i­lies or el­derly peo­ple live nearby. Hal­loween is sup­posed to be spooky but no one should feel fright­ened.

OR­GAN­ISE AN EVENT

Oc­to­ber 31 falls on a Satur­day this year so think about or­gan­is­ing a pic­nic lunch or bar­be­cue din­ner for the whole fam­ily at your lo­cal park or at the end of a quiet culde-sac. Ask key mem­bers of your com­mu­nity to help, set up an event on Neigh­bourly.co.nz, and in­vite the fam­i­lies in your neigh­bour­hood to spend the af­ter­noon get­ting to know each other bet­ter.

LIGHT PAR­TIES

If you’re not so keen on the dark side of Hal­loween, or­gan­ise a light party in­stead. These are safe events put on for school-aged kids that fo­cus on hav­ing fun rather than be­ing scared by mon­sters. A light party lets kids dress up as their favourite char­ac­ters like Elsa or Spi­der­man (as op­posed to witches and ghosts) then en­joy fun games like bob­bing for ap­ples, and of course pig­ging out on lol­lies to­gether.

STICK TO YOUR OWN NEIGH­BOUR­HOOD

Re­mem­ber that Hal­loween is about hav­ing fun, so be con­sid­er­ate when de­cid­ing where your your chil­dren can go trick or treat­ing. Fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing stronger re­la­tion­ships with your neigh­bours and com­mu­nity by cre­at­ing a fun at­mos­phere for ev­ery­one to en­joy the evening around your neck of the woods.

Hordes of kids will soon hit the streets dressed as ghosts and ghouls in search of treats.

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