Search icon


01st Oct 2021

Musings: ‘Don’t take sweets from strangers…unless it’s Halloween, then take loads’

Melissa Carton

We sometimes contradict ourselves as parents but Halloween has to be the biggest one.

Only recently the topic of trick or treating came up when chatting with friends, particularly around allowing children to trick or treat on their own.

It got me thinking of how strange it is that all year round we tell our children not to take sweets from strangers but then for one night a year we take back that rule and let them do nothing but approach strangers for sweets.

It’s something most parents don’t think about, especially in Ireland where everyone generally knows everyone.

My eldest is still only seven so I still walk around with him on Halloween but there are lots of groups of kids, usually over the age of ten who trick or treat unsupervised.

It was only when my son and I were invited into someone’s home to take sweets from their kitchen that I was like ‘hang on a minute’. Now I’ve never heard of anything malicious happening to a child in Ireland while they were trick or treating but it is a bit odd how trusting we are for just one night a year.


I remember many a Halloween night where my cousins, my siblings and I would run around without any adults, along with all the other neighbourhood kids and the only thing we were warned about was to be careful around the bonfire and fireworks.

Not a word about being careful around strangers because the whole mission of the night was to visit as many random houses as possible.

It may seem like I’m giving out about trick or treating, I’m not. Halloween has always been my favourite time of year, it’s more just a fascination with the tradition.

I think it’s actually lovely that for one night a year we can be this trusting and look out for children as a community. Celebrations like Christmas are usually intimate family occasions but at Halloween we all open up our doors and welcome the world in.

Giving that Samhain originated in Ireland I think it’s only right that we love Halloween and all of it’s traditions as much as we do.