While technically Halloween is on the 31st, everyone knows that the joy of terror, horror, and benevolent transgressions must be celebrated for the entire month of October.
I started my month by thinking about these adorable and ridiculous Halloween shoes. But soon, I started seeing elaborate displays in some of my neighbors' yards.
Wow, I thought to myself. They really went all out!
This is something I appreciate. After all, everything's always worth it -- but most people don't decorate for Halloween.
Which is why those people who do take the time and spend the money and creative energy to decorate -- to make my drive home from work or walk around the neighborhood more spirited -- deserve a little something.
So I decided to start my own Halloween tradition this year:
Instead of going to their door on a designated day and asking for candy...
I'm going to go to their door, thank them for making my month more festive, and give them a treat.
It's a new tradition, so I haven't figured out exactly what this treat should be. I feel like they deserve more than a mixed bag of fun-size candy bars from the grocery store...
Maybe a small box of See's chocolates, instead? Like this box of Halloween Orange & Chocolate Cremes, $7.95
Or maybe the Halloween Night Petite Box, $10.50,
Or the original Trick or Treat Box, $7.85.
Sure, maybe you don't know your neighbors -- I haven't actually met any of the people whose houses I plan to reverse trick-or-treat at.
They might not like chocolate, or they might have a nut allergy. Worst case, they re-gift the chocolate. It's the thought that counts.
But if you're super concerned about dietary restrictions, you could go with something non-edible, like a cute pair of Skeleton Gloves, $7.99 (I mean, the weather's changing!):
A Beistle Beistle Skull and Bones Ice Mold, $5.86:
A Spooky Mansion-scented Soy Candle Tin, $9.99:
A small ($5-10) gift certificate to a coffee shop or party store...
Or even just a nice note, explaining why you love their decorations and how they've affected you. (For extra Halloween flare, you can write it in your own blood -- just make sure it doesn't fall into the hands of a witch, or you could have a real problem on your hands.)
Bring a camera, if you're so inclined, and ask if you can take a photo of (or in!) their yard -- they might say no, but I don't think it's weird to ask. I mean, they spent all that time decorating. They probably want it to be appreciated and immortalized, right?
A few benefits to reverse trick-or-treating, beyond spreading joy through random acts of kindness:
1. Psychology proves that spending as little as $5 on someone else won't just make them happy. It will also increase a lasting boost in your mood. See also: Money CAN Buy Happiness -- IF You Know How to Spend It.
2. Playfulness isn't a trait you're either born with, or not. It's a skill you learn and develop. Doing something different, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and doing something a little weird and silly is a great way to hone your leisure skills. (Because obviously, I'm also going to be wearing a costume on the big day.) See also: Playfulness Isn't a Trait -- It's a Skill. And If You're a Millennial, You Probably Never Learned It.
3. When you commit to reverse trick-or-treating, you'll instantly and automatically increase your mindfulness as you go about your daily routine -- because you'll be on the lookout for reverse trick-or-treat-worthy homes. This is great for your mental and physical health. See also: The Christmas Lights Are Down, But You Can Still Do Windchime Walks.
4. Encouraging recreation in the front, rather than the back, yard is a great way to build community. After all, one of the three criteria for starting new friendships in adulthood is having regular, unplanned interactions, which can't happen if we spend al our time in the back yard or inside. See also: Here's Why You Should STOP Playing in the Back Yard.
5. One of the main reasons children "don't play outside anymore"... is because outside is lonely in areas where no one plays outside and no one knows their neighbors. Dropping by and introducing yourself/yourselves with a small token of your appreciation is a good way to create safety and camaraderie -- and begin building a magical place for your child's play. See also: Playborhood Your Neighborhood -- The Best Gift You Will EVER Give Your Child.
For these and other reasons, I'm more stoked about reverse trick-or-treating than I am about Halloween karaoke or actual trick-or-treating.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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