How to be a Halloween Scrooge

October 29, 2010 at 1:00 am 4 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you think about it, Halloween is kind of an odd tradition. Generally, we tell kids not to accept candy from strangers. Then, we encourage them to dress up in weird costumes and go door to door, seeking candy from every stranger within walking distance.

As a kid, Halloween was third on the “getting free stuff scale” right after Christmas and birthdays. As an adult, Halloween is probably first on the “giving away your stuff scale.” I mean, you don’t even know these kids, and even if you did, you can’t tell that you do because they’re in disguise.

So, I don’t blame you if you get upset when somebody’s kids are knocking on your door, expecting you to hand over your food. In fact, there are probably some of you who don’t even want your grown children eating your food.

So, if you want to be a mean old grumpy grump, here are a some ways to be a Halloween scrooge.

Help Yourself Candy Bowl

Put a large empty bowl on your door step. Attach a sign that says, “Please Take Your Own Candy.” This will probably make some kids cry.

Disabled Doorbell

We used to unhook our doorbell on Halloween because our dog would go crazy every time the doorbell was pressed. We still answered the door and gave out candy, but you can use this trick if you don’t want the candy seeking youngsters interrupting your Ugly Betty marathon.

Boo Yourself

In some places, neighbors will “Boo” each other in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Basically, they wait for nightfall and leave a bucket of treats on your doorstep. Then they ring the doorbell and run away. You put a sign in your window to indicate that you’ve been “Boo’d” and you “Boo” two other people. It’s all in good fun, and it’s a lot better than what people used to leave on doorsteps before running away. But, if you see this as doorstep spam or an unprofitable pyramid scheme, then you can just boo your own house and count yourself out early.

Lights Out

In some neighborhoods, unlit house lights tell the goblins that you’re on to their game and you’re not going to give up any free candy.

Do a Trick

If you do a trick, you’ll confuse some kids for sure. Be careful with the older ones or the trick will be on you later.

Fake Candy

My parents were always worried about us getting tampered candy, so they’d have to “inspect” the candy before we could have any. In other words, they would “skim” the loot before it got counted. That actually worked out pretty well, they liked all the stuff I didn’t like anyway.

If you’re really trying to stick it to those candy grabbing ghouls, then you’d save empty candy wrappers throughout the year and just hand out the wrappers. You may also consider this doing a trick.


A twist! Here’s when you answer the door and you say “trick or treat.” Of course, that means they will have to give you candy. If their parents are at the curb, they probably won’t stop at your house next year — mission accomplished, scrooge.

If you’re wondering how this dark and twisted holiday started, check out Kaye Nemec’s History of Halloween.

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Entry filed under: Holidays and Traditions. Tags: , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nikola Malesevic  |  October 29, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Very funny article! :) Thanks!

  • 2. Mack  |  October 29, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Funny post, but I think you have the ‘trick’ part backwards. ‘Trick or treat’ should be read as “Give me a treat or I’ll pull a trick on you”, e.g. soap your windows, egg your car, TP your tree.

    Of course, kids for the most part haven’t done this in decades, but it was the norm before, say, the 70s.

  • 3. Nikola Malesevic  |  October 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I think you misinterpreted what Chad said. He wrote that YOU should do the trick instead of the kids, so to confuse them (kids will think: “What the… We’re supposed to do the trick!”). Definitely good one to confuse them and save some candies! :)

  • 4. Halloween Scrooge  |  October 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

    When kids that are clearly too old to be trick or treating or kids not dressed in costume come to my house, I give them packets of ketchup or soy sauce. In the palm of your hand they’re easily disguised as candy.

    Or even better, give out small sized potatoes and baby carrots. Just make sure you don’t get caught dropping them into the bag or you’ll be sure to get a retaliatory egg or two in return!

    PS for appropriately aged kids and kids in costume, I give lots of great candy treats so technically I’m not a scrooge!


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