21 Things Every Mom Knows About Trick-or-Treating 

It’s not every day that it’s socially acceptable to throw on funny hats and tell strangers to give us a sugar rush OR ELSE, then run across their lawns with wild abandon to their neighbor’s house to apply the same threat. Yay, Halloween!


I remember my first child’s first time trick-or-treating. We waited until he was old enough to climb the stairs, dressed him as The Flash, took an obscene amount of pictures during the maybe 45-minute outing, then stole all of his candy, minus a Dum-Dum or two. Now that was good times.

These days my husband and I wash protein bars down with Gatorade, high-five each other, then spend the next two hours sprinting after our kids in opposite directions as they mingle with friends in similar costumes (“OH MY GOD, YOU ARE NOT MY KID? WHERE IS THE DARTH VADER THAT BELONGS TO ME?”), hopefully not choking down too much suspect candy from strangers before we can catch up with them. We then all meet up at a neighbor’s house to watch the kids barter for their favorites and the parents re-hydrate with something a bit stronger than melted Now or Laters.

Each year on Halloween morning we say, “This will be the one that is easy,” because we are adorable optimists who live in denial. At least there’s candy there, right? Here are some of the things that we all know about every time we attempt an evening of trick-or-treating. Now please pass the cherry Blow Pops: I’m starving.

1. If you don’t get a picture of your kids in full costume the very second they put it on, you never will. A picture of the make-up smeared down the front, missing a piece lost somewhere a couple blocks back, with the wigs/helmets swapped, and half-off because it’s too hot? Oh, you’ll have PLENTY of those.

2. How sweet it is to dress up as whatever amazing thing your kids hoped you would be while trick-or-treating with them.

3. How MUCH more fun it is to dress up as whatever super embarrassing thing your kids absolutely do not want you to be in public while trick-or-treating with them.

4. You will buy four bags of candy a month ahead of time to be prepared.

5. By the time Halloween comes around, you, alone, will have already consumed at least one entire bag. (No judgement here, my friends. NONE AT ALL.)

6. That you will shout, “WATCH OUT FOR CARS” one million times.

7. The less crafty you are, the more Martha Stewart Living your kid wants her imagined handmade costume to be.

8. The abject horror of your kid quite innocently BUT IN HER BEST OUTSIDE VOICE asking the nice lady with the hefty shnoz currently handing her a candy bar if she’s a witch for Halloween.

9. Your kids will skip fully-decorated houses with people on the steps holding candy to knock on the door of every house with its lights off and no one home because kids made no sense.

10. That if your kid has a food allergy there will be an absolute boon of candy containing that ingredient in your neighborhood because of course.

11. That if your kid has a fool allergy you have a massive stash of safe candy back at home (the only stash you don’t steal from…usually).

12. That you will shout, “SLOW DOWN! CAREFUL ON THE STEPS!” one million times.

13. You wished more people gave out stuff other than candy, until they did and you ended up stepping on surprisingly sharp fangs, sitting on a plastic skeleton, and peeling 47 microscopic bat tattoos off the kitchen wall all before November 2.

14. When teenagers even bigger than you show up dressed in their team uniform and ring your bell for candy, you become the crabby old mom who is stingy with the candy.

15. When teenagers even bigger than you show up dressed in something that shows they realize how lame it is for them to be begging for candy and you can’t help but laugh, you become the cool mom who’s generous with the candy.

16. The more expensive the costume is to buy or complicated it is to make, the more likely your kid will change her mind MINUTES BEFORE IT’S GO TIME about what she wants to dress as.

17. That you will shout, “SAY THANK YOU” one million times.

18. He will pinky promise to you with a cherry on top that he will no matter what absolutely not ask you to carry his treat bag until it gets WAY WAY WAY too heavy.

19. Apparently “WAY WAY WAY too heavy” is equivalent to three mini Hershey bars, two ring pops, and a pack of Smarties.

20. There’s always that one house with the lawn decorations so terrifying that it makes every toddler that passes by cry. You hate those people more than the stale Necco wafers from your childhood trick-or-treating days.

21. That you will shout, “CALM DOWN, I’M ONLY EATING ONE PIECE” one million times. (Hey: He should have carried his own damn bag.)

Graphic: Kim Bongiorno