Trick or treating – why I don’t like it!

I probably sound like a total bore but I don’t like trick or treating.

It all started years ago when we had elderly neighbours who couldn’t cope with cold calling or anybody knocking on their door when it was dark.  Aware of their fragility I decided not to let our children get involved in an activity that I thought could easily spook vulnerable people. 

But if I’m honest, that’s only part of the reason.  The other is that I just don’t like trick or treating in the same way that I don’t like cold callers to my house, particularly at teatime when I’m busy cooking the evening meal.  I’m also not used to halloween being something to celebrate.  As a child,  halloween was not someting we did in the 1970s and 80s; it was always bonfire night that we celebrated and I guess I sort of continued on with that tradition.

Of course, things changed.  My children grew, my elderly neighbours passed away and were replaced by a younger family who were, yes you’ve guessed it, into halloween.  At the same time, halloween became more popular and shops started to stock of blaze of orange and black paraphernalia. 

And with that came the peer pressure and the party invitations for my elder daughter.  By now, I was keen to maintain a good relationship with my increasingly  awkward teen so I compromised and let her go to her first halloween themed party at her friend’s house, a party that also involved some trick and treating.

Dressed as something between a vampire and a witch, with her hair back combed and fixed with half a can of hairspray she excitedly went to the party.  However, when we collected her afterwards, she was not happy.  It transpired that she hated trick and treating, absolutely hated it.  She said she felt as though she was begging and didn’t like going up to people’s doors which didn’t surprise me really as she is quite a shy girl.  Not surprisingly she has never gone trick and treating again.

Whilst I was able to let my eldest daughter learn through this experience, for my younger two children a traditional halloween is just not possible.  Their autistic disorders means that they are sensitive to a  lot of things but particularly noise and crowds of people.  Neither can they cope with excitement which really makes halloween a non-starter doesn’t it?

Nevertheless, we don’t give up on it entirely.  Instead we do our own little halloween in our home with pumpkin carvings and a special tea and do you know what, it’s lovely.  We don’t need trick or treating to enjoy halloween though, if I’m honest, I do quite fancy a fancy dress party.

Unfortunately though, our little celebrations, have been affected by other people trick or treating us.   

Over the last couple of years, my son (or rather our car or house) has been targeted with eggs from a group of teenage boys, the ones who like to taunt my son.  For them halloween has  become an easy excuse to behave anti socially down our road and upset many neighbours, including us.  It’s easy for me to ignore their behaviour but my son struggles with this and becomes easily stressed and tearful. 

And when my children get upset like this, then October the 31st is not a night of fun but a night of unwanted nuisance and stress.

Postscript – Tuesday the 1st of October

Last night was not as peaceful as I would have liked.  Our house and car got pelted with eggs again so this morning is being spent cleaning up the smeared remains of egg!  What a way to greet November.

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8 Responses to Trick or treating – why I don’t like it!

  1. Galina V says:

    We thankfully managed to escape unwanted visitors this year. My older son also cannot stand noise and odd smells, and any visitors, especially total starngers are a stressful experience for him. And oh boy, would we know he is not happy! I did carve a pumpkin and baked lots of cookies, but it was mostly for my little man, who seems to be enjoying anything I do with him, he is also very much loving dressing up, to the point that I call him Gok Wan, as he would take my t-shirt and wrap around his shoulders and look very proud of his achievement. Not that he understands the difference between male/female clothes, he is only 15 months old, and we do not do gender stereotyping at home. If he wants to wear my old hat at home, let him me. Our older son (with autsim) hates dressing up, so if they have dressing up events at school, he just goes to school in his uniform, bless him.

    Sorry to hear about the cruel teenagers who taunt your son.

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Hi Galina, my autistic children are not keen on dressing up either. My son is just not interested in dressing up or even fashion. As long as clothes are comfortable and loose then that’s enough for him. My aspergers daughter is not interested in dressing up either; I think she hates the attention it brings. Neither of them would dress for halloween. Deb

  2. I’m not that keen on it either – not sure why – just seems slightly wrong – knocking on peoples doors asking for treats and if you don’t give me anything I’ll trick you – nice!! Not really what I want to teach my kids. Like you I also remember that Nov 5th was a much bigger celebration when I was a kid (especially in Sussex with all our carnivals) and Halloween was nowhere near as big a deal. Funnily enough I was trying to explain this to my 6yo today – telling her about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot (unfortunately my historical knowledge of facts is a bit hazy!).
    I don’t have autistic children so I don’t have that element to worry about but my 3yo did not understand the concept of trick or treaters at all when we had some come round tonight. I don’t mind them coming round as ours is a very small village and you only get people calling if you have a pumpkin outside (my concession to Halloween cause I think that bit’s quite fun!) but really it’s just a sweet collecting exercise as nobody actually does tricks – it is all a bit weird really (and very American). Anyway hope you weren’t disturbed tonight and had a peaceful happy Halloween:)

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Your village sounds lovely and I like the idea of putting a pumpkin outside. In our neighbourrhood we don’t do this. There are some responsible children who only visit houses of friends and behave very well. However, there are also a few that go silly and cause unnecessary nuisance which is what happened again last night. They end up ruining it for everyone and upsetting many people.

  3. JuliesMum says:

    That’s really horrible of those kids to behave like that. Anyway, you shouldn’t feel like a killjoy – trick or treating is quite a modern import from America (it wasn’t around when I was a kid) – it’s not some ancient right to go out and terrify your neighbours. Your Halloween celebration at home sounds much nicer.

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Same for me. Halloween didn’t exist when I was younger. Its only really got going in the last 10 years or so, just as my children have been growing up.

  4. Blue Sky says:

    I did the trick or treating thing with number one daughter for years, and even at 19, she has gone out again all dressed up with her pals. Aspie boy never liked costumes, but I persisted in taking him and Smiley out while he was little until he said ‘no’. Now we turn off the lights at the front of the house and nail up the letter box (in case of fireworks) though I do have a bowl of sweets just in case….and I’m so sorry to hear that you feel you are being targeted, that is really horrible xx

    • Aspie in the family says:

      We turn off the lights too which makes it quite exciting in a way as the children spy through the curtains at the trick or treaters, though they soon get stressed when they come up the drive!

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