Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

Tips for Dealing With Over-Entitled Trick or Treaters

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

I have a few questions for every kid who plans to venture out on Halloween in search of treats and includes my house in their route:

1) Do you have any idea HOW to trick or treat?

2) Do you know what you're SUPPOSED to do when I answer the bell?

3) Are you aware there's no law that says I HAVE to give you candy?

Okay, before everybody thinks I'm the neighborhood grump who pulls out his best Clint Eastwood Gran Torino impression each October 31 and growls at kids to "get off my lawn," let me argue to the contrary. I love Halloween, love seeing little girls tepidly approach my door in their Dorothy, Snow White and (thankfully toned down) Katy Perry costumes; love commenting how the boys' Dracula outfits had me frightened before the doorbell even rang; love waving at the parents who wait on the sidewalk while their kids rush from house to house before darkness falls.

Unfortunately, last year those tykes were few and far between. Instead I was treated to throng after throng of kids between 10 and 16 who rang my bell and, when I answered, stood there silently waiting for me to make the next move. No "trick or treat," No "Hi Mr. Schwem," and especially galling, no "thank you" when I deposited candy into their bags. One little skeleton even had the nerve to look at the Tootsie Pop I gave him and say, "Can I have a Hershey Bar instead?"

"Why don't I just open my wallet and you can pick something out?" I replied.

"Can I?" he asked.

"No. And get off my lawn."

Maybe I'm just becoming more cynical but I have noticed a propensity to replace "May I please have some candy" with, "Whatcha got for me?" It's time for treat givers to be ready when these kids pound on the door. This handy quiz should help:

Four 16-year-olds, dressed as "high school students," ring the doorbell while a fifth waits in your driveway, idling the engine. Do you...

A) Remind them candy causes unsightly acne blemishes

B) Tell them that this year, you are posting "virtual candy" on their Instagram pages

C) Drop summer job applications into their bags

D) All of the above

A trick or treater dressed as Batman mumbles "gross," "yuck," "really?" or a combination thereof when you hand him candy. Do you...

A) Tell him a long, boring story about how you lived, candy-free, through the Great Recession of 2009

B) Apologize, tell him you keep some other candy on layaway and invite him to come back in 2022 to get it

C) Compliment him on his Catwoman costume

D) All of the above

Instead of saying "trick or treat," a group of kids rings your doorbell and stands there silently, bags thrust open, when you answer. Do you...

A) Stare silently back at them until they get creeped out and leave

B) State that, since the group seems indifferent to trick or treating, you think one Milk Dud split five ways is sufficient

C) Say, "I love charades!" and start acting out a scene from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video

D) All of the above

One hour after your town's allotted trick or treating time has expired, six kids with bags bulging come to your door and say, "It's about time somebody answered." Do you...

A) Say, "Thanks for interrupting my 7 p.m. dialysis treatment"

B) Reply, "Sorry. I was busy trying to catch the rat that's been running around my house. Wait, there he is!"

C) Produce a fake policeman's badge and ask if they know the meaning of "curfew"

D) All of the above

While you are handing out candy, one trick or treater whips out her iPhone and begins texting. Do you...

A) Remind her that you have a "verbal trick or treating" rule at this house

B) Say, "I was going to give you an apple but it looks like you already have one"

C) Drop an iTunes card in her bag

D) A and B

If you answered D to all of the questions then congratulations, you are ready to open your house to trick or treaters. Check back shortly before Easter to read tips on how to respond to kids who say, "Just show me where the eggs are!"

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.