Trick-Or-Treat Etiquette

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Scarecrows. Jack-O-Lanterns. Trick-or-treating. Oh my.

Halloween can be dated back 2,000 years to an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”). The Celts believed that the line between the living and the dead blurred on the night of Oct. 30 and dead spirits would visit the earth.

A thousand years later, in an alleged attempt by the pope to replace the Celtic day of the dead with a church endorsed holiday, Samhain evolved into All-hallows Eve, which is the night before All-hallow)!s Day. This day honors saints and martyrs, also known as All Saints Day. All-hallows Eve eventually became Halloween, according to Historychannel.com.

At one time, Halloween celebrated the dead-today, it has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. Candy ranks first in sales, according to a 2001 National Retail Federation survey, with $1.8 billion in revenue. Costumes sales comes in second at $1.5 billion, then home décor at $586 million; greeting cards, pumpkins and party supplies combined at $2.7 million.

During Halloween the children of America are essentially walking around with billions of dollars worth of candy in their pillow cases. So let’s pay attention to some basic Halloween etiquette.

To the trick-or-treaters:

Follow these simple rules to optimize safety and candy accumulation:

* Ring doorbell, hold out bag, and say, “Trick-or-treat.” Easy. For added charm say please, and always say thank you.

* Keep that shaving cream in the medicine cabinet, those eggs in the fridge, the TP in the toilet.

* Make yourself visible in the dark streets. Some have gone so far as to dip their head into a bucket of reflective paint. Flashlights, glow sticks, or reflective tape will make sufficient substitutes.

* Don’t bother with the unlit house. Either the owners are not there or they are avoiding you.

* To the late teen trick-or-treater, c’mon, just a wig is not enough. Earn that candy.

* Travel in packs of three. For added safety, handcuff yourselves together-three linked persons is too awkward to kidnap.

* Plan your route and inform family of your whereabouts.

* Parents-accompany the young and foolish.

* Stay out of the cars and homes of strangers. Don’t lay a finger on that Butterfinger-that one in the creepy guys hand.

Where would the candy industry be without its faithful consumers?

Treat distributors you are the unsung heroes of Halloween. The quality of your treat will determine your legacy in the minds of children and sentimental adults. Here are a few tips to secure your place as a must in trick-or-treat destinations.

* Name brand candy please. Chances are, the infamous orange circus peanut sits in the trash and not in a child’s belly.

* Distribute sealed candy-it will pass parent discrimination. Although raisins might be tasty, unless the package is sealed, rat poison might coat the treat for all we know.

* Do not occupy the front room if you don’t intend to answer the door. Turn out the porch light, too. Consider the weary feet of parents and trick-or-treaters that will tread dozens of walkways throughout the night.

* Lawn decorations and haunted houses will make you a popular visit.

* Be kind, even to the rude. No one likes to clean up eggs and toilet paper.