MN Nice Advice: Halloween

What to do if your neighbor turns the lights out on the ghoulish night, and whether or not it’s OK to hand out toothbrushes

An illustration of a man hiding behind an open door to avoid children trick-or-treating.

Illustration by darren gygi

Q: Many of my neighbors hide out during Halloween—lights off, no candy—which strikes me as not just un-generous but un-Minnesotan. Do I say something, or find another way for my little pirate and princess to ruin their teeth?

A: Many nights, I wish I could sit in the dark with some pinot, some Alison Krauss, and an ice-cream sandwich. But that’s not in the spirit of this thing called Minnesota. It’s right there in the contract: Give out candy once a year, show up at the PTA and National Night Out, and we’ll ignore your bird-killing cat, your TruGreen lawn chemicals, and your constant mansplaining about barbecue. Being neighborly absolves a lot of sins. But that’s too steep a price for some people, evidently, and there’s not much you can do about it except hope all that time in the dark is prompting some self-reflection. Or, you could semi-publicly shame them on Nextdoor.


Q: Knowing all the health issues associated with sugar, how in good conscience can I hand out candy? Would it be so bad if I gave out Goldfish or raisins?

A: Yes, it would. Kids know very well that you engage in unhealthy behaviors all the time, and would be completely justified in marking your house with zombie blood.