Years ago, when we lived in a hateful, awful place (This Old House is falling apart), we started a tradition of handing out candy to the parents who brought their kids around for trick-or-treating. In the hateful, awful place, we lived close enough to the town square (I know, you thought I WAS the town square) that parents would just drop off a carload of kids in the square, and come back a couple hours later. It was that kind of place.
That meant there were sometimes roving bands of 5-year-olds running through the street. That meant we had a LOT of kids who had no idea that they should be nice to the people giving them candy… Before I married Tim, I had a big dog, and actually had to threaten a group of teenagers to get off my porch by opening the door and letting big dog out (half rottweiler, so scary looking). Of course they didn’t know said big dog would simply have tried to lick them to death, but still.
In any case, we started giving out good candy to the parents who actually, you know, actually parented. We gave them Dove dark chocolate. We call it Mom Candy for 2 reasons: 1) usually, it was a mom bringing the kids around, and 2) if the parent was a dad, he usually chose something from the kid-bowl-of-candy, like a Snickers, or Reese’s Cup.
Any adult taking care of kids was eligible for the Mom Candy – grandparents, older siblings, friends, whatever… as long as you were there to take the kid around, you got Mom Candy.
We now live in a smallish neighborhood, full of young families. You NEVER see kids walking around by themselves on Halloween. Often the parents are dressed up too. (I don’t dress up… what can be scarier than the pregnant woman who still might barf on you?!) Parents FORCE their kids to stop at our (completely undecorated and therefore uncool) house – so the parents can score the Mom Candy. We see them out at different times of the year – “Oh, you’re the people with the Mom Candy.”
It’s not the place where everybody knows your name… but they sure know where you live!