Tag Archives: Trick or Treat

Ready for your ‘Trick or Treat’ close up?

celebrating Halloween 2014
celebrating Halloween 2014

Last year I had more fun on Halloween night than I’ve had on that holiday in decades. Somewhere in the week before we celebrate everything orange and black, I read an article about the old Halloween custom of children performing a “trick” of some sort before they received a reward — be it candy or a nickel. The trick could be a song, dance, joke or even a magic trick.
Much to my teenage daughters’ embarrassment, that article was all the encouragement I needed. I set up my chair and baskets of treats just off my front stoop and proceeded to explain to each individual or group of Trick or Treaters that they had to perform for their treats.
If you think children balked or turned shy and hid behind their mother’s skirt, you would have been surprised. Some immediately burst into song (and dance) right on the spot! Others walked to the side and thought for a moment before returning with a song. With the exception of one young fellow who took off running down the street, every one of the Trick or Treaters (and we had close to a hundred) performed — even if it was just sing “Happy birthday” or “Twinkle Twinkle.”
The night was fantastic! I had a blast. Though I can’t be certain, I believe most, if not all, of the children enjoyed the performance and audience — and I believe the parents did too.
I’m a believer in the notion that it does, indeed, take a village. I believe one of the reasons the children enjoyed their impromptu performance is that they too, at some level (even amidst the stranger danger fearfulness that is propagated through our society), recognize the importance of connecting with other adults. Sadly, Halloween is one of the few times of the year that many neighborhoods are out and about engaging with each other.
So this year, I’m doing it again. We’re stepping it up a notch and may incorporate a little spotlight for our Trick or Treat informal stage. If you’re reading this and want to have some fun on Halloween night, I encourage you to give the trick-for-a-treat performance request a try. You’d be surprised at the minimal prodding most youngsters need to perform a little ditty.
When they walked up and said, “Trick or Treat,” I said, “For your treats, I’m asking you to perform a little trick. You can sing, dance, tell me a joke or do a magic trick — or something else, if you have a special talent.”
From there, I tried to be super encouraging and rewarded great effort!
Last year (my first foray into Halloween demand performances), the kids would stand there with their mouths gaping for about a second, then they would eye they big basket of candy (and I splurged on the good stuff). Within ten or so seconds, the vast majority of them were past the opening line of their performance. Some colluded on group performances, which were also encouraged. Others preferred to perform alone.
All in all, the night was memorable. The next week, I got a note in the mail from a mom I didn’t know who told me that her kids were still talking about their “Halloween performances” and planning for next year.
I say, “Bring them on!”