If You're A 'No Costume, No Candy' House, You Suck

by Valerie Williams
A precious Halloween pumpkin placed on the table

Those who want to gate-keep who gets their precious Halloween candy are missing the entire point

It’s been a rough couple of years, hasn’t it? Last Halloween, we were still in the throes of a pandemic with no vaccine yet available and all kinds of question marks about whether it was even safe for kids to be out trick-or-treating. This year, while a number of stubborn folks remain unprotected, millions of Americans have gotten vaccinated and we have the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the head of the CDC telling us it’s finally cool to let our kids head out on a candy-collecting mission this Halloween.

Now, the only obstacle to a fun night is the a-hole neighbors who might deny your kid candy if they’re not wearing a costume or reciting a perfect “trick-or-treat” greeting. I can’t roll my eyes into the back of my head far enough, y’all.

You know the type I’m talking about. The people who insist that no one who knocks on their door without a costume will be getting any candy. These folks are the bah humbug crew of Halloween and frankly, I have no time for their nonsense.

There’s so many reasons why a child or teen might show up on your doorstep sans costume and while absolutely all of them are no one’s damn business, I will list out a few anyway. A child might have sensory sensitivities that make costumes a complicated thing. Their family might not be able to afford a costume. A teen might be on a last-minute trick-or-treating adventure after thinking they’re too old to go and having a change of heart. An older kiddo might feel “stupid” dressing up and as the mom of a 12-year-old boy whose sole concern is not standing out among his peers in any way that might get him teased, this is an understandable tweenage worry.

But you know what? He’s still a kid.

He still wants to roam the neighborhood whooping it up with his buddies and collecting free candy and literally, what skin is it off some Karen’s nose if he isn’t wearing a costume as long as he’s behaving respectfully? It’s kind of a creepy notion for adults to expect kids to dress up and do a little song and dance to earn a Reese’s cup and it needs to stop. If you answer the door to a few polite trick-or-treaters without costumes, just toss in some friggin’ Sour Patch Kids and call it a day.

Honestly, those who are worried about trick-or-treaters meeting their exacting standards for being worthy of their precious Costco variety bag should maybe shut all the lights down and bow out altogether. These folks are missing the entire point of what’s supposed to be a really fun holiday focused on the enjoyment of children.

People love to complain that “kids these days” are always indoors or on their phones but on a night when they actually step outside people are going to whine that they aren’t wearing a costume? Honestly, if you want to gate-keep who gets two pieces of candy from your big bowl, just give up. Go inside and do some soul-searching while the rest of the world enjoys a simple pleasure of childhood — no strings attached.