On Halloween, some people end up being really mean to other people, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes on purpose.
Some considerations for avoiding being a jerk:
Not everyone likes to be startled or scared:
- Scaring people is a major part of Halloween tradition, and it’s ok to like it
- But it’s also ok not to like it
- And it’s wrong to scare or startle people who don’t like to be scared
- Being scared when you don’t want to be is really, really unpleasant
- It can also be physically or psychologically dangerous for a lot of people.
- If you know someone doesn’t like to be scared, don’t scare them
- If you don’t know whether someone likes to be scared, don’t scare them
- If you think someone likes to be scared and it turns out they don’t, apologize and don’t do it again
- If scaring people is really really important to you, consider working or volunteering at a haunted house, or making your own haunted house.
- Scaring is ok, but it needs to be consensual
Don’t wreck people’s stuff:
- Some people like to smash jack-o-lanterns or other decorations, sometimes at the end of the night
- This is a mean thing to do, especially because some people, particularly children, get really emotionally attached to their decorations
- (Especially if they have put a lot of work into creating them)
- Some people might try to convince you that it’s just the done thing and that it doesn’t really upset anyone, but they’re wrong
- Breaking people’s stuff is mean
- If you want to smash pumpkins, get your own pumpkins to smash
Don’t be a jerk to people who don’t participate in trick or treating:
- Most adults who live in areas in which kids trick or treat are happy to participate
- It’s a good thing to do, but it’s not something anyone is obligated to do
- Some adults don’t participate, and that’s ok
- They might not be able to afford to buy candy
- They might not be able to get up so much or tolerate constant interaction/doorbell ringing.
- Halloween might be against their religion
- They might not want to participate for any number of other reasons
- That’s a legitimate choice, no matter why they don’t do it
- Some people punish people who don’t participate by egging or tping their house, or banging out the door over and over.
- Those are really mean things to do. Don’t do it.
- Trick or treating requires consent, and it’s not ok to be mean to people who don’t participate
Just, generally speaking – if something would normally be mean, it’s mean on Halloween. If something would normally require consent, it requires consent on Halloween. Don’t be a jerk.