This Halloween, don't be a jerk

On Halloween, some people end up being really mean to other people, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes on purpose.

Some considerations for avoiding being a jerk:

Not everyone likes to be startled or scared:

  • Scaring people is a major part of Halloween tradition, and it’s ok to like it
  • But it’s also ok not to like it
  • And it’s wrong to scare or startle people who don’t like to be scared
  • Being scared when you don’t want to be is really, really unpleasant
  • It can also be physically or psychologically dangerous for a lot of people.
  • If you know someone doesn’t like to be scared, don’t scare them
  • If you don’t know whether someone likes to be scared, don’t scare them
  • If you think someone likes to be scared and it turns out they don’t, apologize and don’t do it again
  • If scaring people is really really important to you, consider working or volunteering at a haunted house, or making your own haunted house.
  • Scaring is ok, but it needs to be consensual

Don’t wreck people’s stuff:

  • Some people like to smash jack-o-lanterns or other decorations, sometimes at the end of the night
  • This is a mean thing to do, especially because some people, particularly children, get really emotionally attached to their decorations
  • (Especially if they have put a lot of work into creating them)
  • Some people might try to convince you that it’s just the done thing and that it doesn’t really upset anyone, but they’re wrong
  • Breaking people’s stuff is mean
  • If you want to smash pumpkins, get your own pumpkins to smash

Don’t be a jerk to people who don’t participate in trick or treating:

  • Most adults who live in areas in which kids trick or treat are happy to participate
  • It’s a good thing to do, but it’s not something anyone is obligated to do
  • Some adults don’t participate, and that’s ok
  • They might not be able to afford to buy candy
  • They might not be able to get up so much or tolerate constant interaction/doorbell ringing.
  • Halloween might be against their religion
  • They might not want to participate for any number of other reasons
  • That’s a legitimate choice, no matter why they don’t do it
  • Some people punish people who don’t participate by egging or tping their house, or banging out the door over and over.
  • Those are really mean things to do. Don’t do it.
  • Trick or treating requires consent, and it’s not ok to be mean to people who don’t participate

Just, generally speaking - if something would normally be mean, it’s mean on Halloween. If something would normally require consent, it requires consent on Halloween. Don’t be a jerk.