Trick or Treat Etiquette 

Trick or Treat Etiquette 

Trick or treating has a long history in the US but until recently was unknown in Scotland. Instead children dressed up and pretended to be evil spirits and went guising (or galoshin). If there is a chance your child-free neighbours won’t be expecting a knock on the door asking for sweets, following this simple guide should keep everyone happy this Halloween.

1) Before you set off try to chat with a few of your neighbours beforehand and let them know that your child is hoping to trick or treat. A good rule of thumb is to only approach houses with decorations, if the house is festooned with decorations, it’s likely they will be delighted to see little trick or treaters.

2) If a door isn’t answered within two or three knocks, move on to the next house! It may be an inconvenient time, or they may have already had lots of callers to their door and the treats have run out.

3) Remind your child to smile and say thank you at each house – regardless of whether or not they like the treat. If it’s offered be polite and accept – they can always swap with friends later.

4) Be considerate of your neighbours’ property. Stay off flowerbeds, decorative planters, anything that can bend, break or get ruined.

5) This is probably a given, but avoid dressing your child in anything that could be potentially controversial to avoid any upset – that goes for parents as well! If you are dressing up to take your children trick or treating, keep it Cert U.


Explain to your older children that they must never enter a stranger’s home while trick or treating. If you have any doubts, always accompany them.

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