Practicing Politeness – a Halloween Challenge
Halloween is coming up quickly and there’s more to get ready than costumes and candy. Are your children prepared to be polite? Whether your kids are going out trick or treating, or staying home to open the door, make sure you let them know what you expect from them regarding their behavior.
If your children are going trick-or-treating, here are some things you may want to remind them of:
- Say “trick or treat” when the person opens the door.
- If the person doesn’t tell you how many pieces of candy to take, then politely ask.
- If the person is giving out candy that you don’t like, just keep that information to yourself.
- Say “thank you” after getting your candy.
- If the person at the door compliments your costume, say “thank you”.
- If the home owners are not home but they leave a bowl of candy on the porch, make sure you follow the directions on whatever note they have left regarding how many pieces to take.
- If you have a child with food allergies, like I do, you might want to go over some additional strategies. My son knows that if a person is giving out candy he is allergic to he can put it in his bucket and we will switch it out at home. Sometimes a person has different kinds of candy in their bowl and gives him something he’s not allowed to eat, but he sees something in the bowl that he is allowed to eat. Then he’s allowed to politely say “May I switch this for _____ because I’m not allergic to that?”
If your family has chosen not to participate in trick-or-treating, you can still have your kids practice politeness.
- Have your child help open the door and give out the candy.
- Compliment costumes as appropriate (obviously I’m not suggesting you ask your child to compliment a costume that you find offensive, but there’s probably nothing wrong with “I like your monkey costume”).
- Say “you’re welcome” to kids who say “thank you”.
- If you have a neighbor whose child has special needs, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help your house be a “safe place” for their child to visit. This reminds me of the episode from Parenthood where Max, who has autism, is trying to work up the courage to go out for Halloween. Maybe a neighbor’s child could come by early, or you could make sure to have lots of lights on or something along those lines.
- You could have your child paint a teal pumpkin and put it out front to let people know you have non-food treats available for kids with food allergies. Or you could buy candy that is free of most allergens, like Skittles for example. This is a great way to teach about understanding the needs of others.