Trick or treat: Etiquette for families

According to a recent poll from the National Retail Federation, the average American consumer spends $23.33 on Halloween costumes, including outfits for adults, children and pets.


Trends are showing that Halloween is a celebration for all ages, even adults. But what kind of costumes are age-appropriate? How can you show your holiday spirit? How do you keep the kids safe while they trick-or-treat?

Dallas-based etiquette expert and author, Colleen A. Rickenbacher says, “Halloween is a festive time, but parents should always keep safety rules in mind when it comes to parties and trick-or-treating.” She suggests shopping for costumes with the kids, even teenagers, to make sure their outfits are school and age-appropriate. According to Rickenbacher, parents should also consider their own costumes. “If you use Halloween as an excuse to be an exhibitionist, you may be setting the wrong example for your children.”

Rickenbacher notes that young children may not appreciate scary Halloween masks or costumes like “Jason” or “Freddy.”

Rickenbacher is author of “Be on Your Best Business Behavior,” and the forthcoming, “Be on Your Best Cultural Behavior.” As a trainer and speaker, she works with companies, families and individuals to improve social manners.

Her tips for celebrating Halloween safely include:

• Healthy and tasty alternatives to the usual candy and treats

• Decorations to create a festive atmosphere at home

• Suggestions for party favors, invitations and themes

• Arrange for supervision when trick-or-treating, keeping safety in mind

• New trends such as the “Trunk-or-Treat”

“The holidays are supposed to be fun,” says Rickenbacher. “Don’t let Halloween turn into something scary by not following safety recautions or etiquette.”


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