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Halloween could rank as the most impolite holiday on the calendar.
Bands of disguised children roam through neighborhoods, and the threat of toilet paper and eggs hangs over the evening.
But the annual spooktacular has very specific niceties that must be observed.
Most kids politely tender their trick-or-treats and thank yous, said Paula Tice, who with husband Tony handed out candy to more than 900 kids at their New Albany home last Halloween.
“They’re really good about it,” Tice said. “If they don’t, their parents will prompt them,” but that’s usually the littlest tikes who are in trick-or-treat training.
In return for investing in more than 20 bags of candy, the Tices get free entertainment for their annual Halloween party, which brings together friends and family for a spread in the Tices’ garage.
“We all ooh and ahh over the kids and their costumes,” Tice said. “We have so much fun.”
The Tices have just one request – let go of the toilet papering tradition.
“My husband doesn’t like yards being rolled,” said Tice, who noted their house never has been TPed. “It’s not nice.”
Steve Miller, who is the creative force behind Tupelo Community Theatre’s Haunted Theatre, has only one hard and fast courtesy rule for Halloween.
“When the porch light is off, you don’t go to the door,” said Miller, whose family loves to put together elaborate Halloween displays to surprise trick-or-treaters.
Miller loves to mine the parade of costumes for ideas for the Haunted Theatre, but he doesn’t hold with the no-costume, no-candy rule. He takes a more inclusive approach to the holiday; for him, it’s more about being part of the community than the candy for the undisguised trick-or-treaters.
“They just want to get out and enjoy,” Miller said.
Eight-year-old Katie Evans of New Albany, who anticipates Halloween almost as much as Christmas, has some tips for the candy givers.
“Little kids should get more candy,” Evans said. “If the bigger kids got more candy, that means the little kids wouldn’t get as much, and they would be sad.”
She’s also in favor of sharing the Halloween spoils with those too old to go trick-or-treating.
“You should have to share with your parents,” Katie said. “If I don’t want it, I’ll give it to them.”