Trick-or-treat - but be polite about it

Associated Press / October 29, 2009

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LONDON - Trick-or-treaters beware: Manners count - even on Halloween.

Britain’s authority on etiquette, Debrett’s, issued its first guidance yesterday on how to behave during the holiday.

Although the holiday originated with Europe’s Celtic pagans to mark the end of summer, it has only been recently that British stores have swelled with Halloween stock and trick-or-treaters have canvassed streets for candy.

“Good manners are very important,’’ said Jo Bryant, etiquette adviser for Debrett’s. “There has been a growing presence of Halloween over the past five years.’’

Common questions are: Is it acceptable not to open one’s doors to trick-or-treaters? How many times should children be allowed to ring a door bell before moving on?

“Trick-or-treat should be used as an ice-breaking formula, not a real threat. Halloween fun should never feel menacing,’’ it says. “Children should not be too greedy - if they are offered treats, make sure that they don’t take too many and that they do say thank you.’’

Other advice includes respecting people’s privacy - don’t repeatedly ring door bells for candy - and if you don’t want to be bothered by trick-or-treaters, it is perfectly acceptable to leave a bowl of treats at your doorsteps so children can help themselves.