Halloween etiquette in Silicon Valley

By Karina Rook

As a newcomer in this strange land, I’ve been asking around about what is ‘the done thing’ for Halloween when you have a 10 year old and a 12 year old.

Wearing your costume to school is NOT the done thing according to my daughter’s research efforts…. she mentioned social suicide and harming your reputation in a rant to her little brother this morning when he announced he’d be wearing a Darth Vader cape today to Middle School.

My research has uncovered some rules:

  1. The kids need a flashlight so cars can see them
  2. The costumes need reflective panels so cars can see them
  3. A parent must accompany the kids
  4. The kids can’t do any tricks, ever
  5. The kids must say Thank You and not be greedy (only one piece of candy is allowed)
  6. The kids must wear a costume to get candy
  7. You can only approach a house that has Halloween decorations and a porch light on
  8. You can only trick or treat before 8pm
  9. No candy can be consumed until parents have scrutinized it for evidence of tampering

And, it turns out that kids don’t really walk the neighborhood streets trick or treating here, instead they visit the local shopping center between 4pm and 6pm where the store owners hand out candy. Apparently it’s much safer.

Or, you can drive to the one street in the area that welcomes trick or treating with light displays and performances, but because everyone goes there it’s impossible to get a park.

We’re just going to try our luck with the local houses – my son has a couple of friends coming over and I think they’ll be happy if a handful of homes give them candy – it’s just a fun night out. There will be no reflective lights on costumes, no chaperone and no checking before consumption. I believe the majority of people are good and there’s no need for paranoia.

Happy Halloween!