Young children, and many 'grown-up kids' too, take part in the annual observance of Halloween. So, what are the basic Halloween rules for trick-or-treating and how can parents keep it safe and spooky?
Halloween is a ritual observed and celebrated on the evening of the 31st of October every year.
According to tradition, it is a time for trick-or-treating and scary Halloween parties. Most small kids, and party revelers, dress up as ghosts, spirits, skeletons, and other scary figures.
Among the most common symbols of Halloween are pumpkin lanterns and flying bats.
Some people will dress up as witches, wizards, and 'ghostly' characters from horror films (e.g. the scariest Halloween movies).
There will be scary spiders, black cats, and other animals associated with the ritual. It's a time for costume planning, jack-o'-lanterns carving, and stocking up on candy.
The mixed colors of orange and black are very common for fancy dress at Halloween parties. The run up to trick-or-treating is a time for stores to promote zombie products with a Halloween theme.
The origins of Halloween go all the way back to pagan festivals in England, and the other home countries. People believed that the spirits of the dead could come back to life and walk among the living.
According to the laws in British history, Halloween was also called 'All Hallows Eve'. Others used to call it the day before All Saints' Day, which was in fact observed on the 1st of November.
So, during this time of year, they would dress up in costumes before venturing outdoors. Pagan folk surmised that wearing scary clothing would keep them safe. They believed that the spooky diversion would stop the spirits from harming them.
Note: Halloween is not a public holiday in the United Kingdom. So, most businesses and public transport operate normal working hours.
Halloween in the United Kingdom is a fun time - and not only for kids! Grown-ups often go to, and will organise, parties dressed in an eerie costume - reflecting the theme of the day. Others will watch gruesome horror films, guarded by the walls of their home or at a local cinema.
Children observe the evening of Halloween by going out trick-or-treating. They dress up in spooky costumes and make house-to house calls to get treats. In fact, the gift would be money in some cultures (instead of candy).
Youngsters will go knocking on doors a for treat - using the phrase 'Trick or Treat'! As a rule, the handout has to be sweets or a candy snack.
Some homeowners will refuse to give children a treat. That means they could be on the wrong end of an 'idle' threat for a trick or a prank.
Disgruntled children might threaten to perform mischief on the property of the homeowner. But, in most cases, the 'trick' is not carried out.
Trick-or-treating should only occur during the early evening of October 31. That means it always falls a few days after the clocks go back in the United Kingdom, and a few days before bonfire night. So, it will be dark and cold.
There is a way for homeowners to signal they are willing to hand out treats to kids. They can put up Halloween decorations outside their windows and doors. In some case, people will leave treats available for children to take and enjoy.
We accept and understand there are no set rules for Halloween per se in the United Kingdom. But, giving anything a set of rules tends to make things very 'British'! Check out our full list of UK rules and regulations if you want to see further proof.
So, what can parents do to make Halloween safer for kids? After all, small children wandering around the streets in darkness has inherent dangers. Browse through these basic trick-or-treating rules for tips and advice:
Note: Most families love Halloween time because it's an opportunity to dress up. Even so, a children's safety and learning guide teaches small kids not to talk to strangers. Be mindful of polite Halloween etiquette and be wary of the darkness in strange places.
Halloween celebrations around the world seem to get bigger each year. In fact, people now spend more money on Halloween in the United Kingdom than they do for Valentine's Day. Tesco sales of pumpkins will break through 3 million towards the end of October with ease.
You may be one of the many enjoying the spooky events or you may prefer to sit this one out. But, there is also a legal side to Halloween and trick-or-treating activities.
Despite millions doing it every October, many see it as an 'unwelcome cultural import' from north America. But:
Not everyone is a fan of horror movies, despite them making a huge amount of money at the box office. But:
So, you bought a dodgy zombie outfit or the vampire fangs let you down. Your consumer rights will protect you if you end up buying faulty goods. But:
Halloween Safety Tips and Etiquette for Parents and Guardians