Here’s a Halloween survival guide

Halloween can be a stressful time of year. As a way to prevent outright chaos I have developed these helpful tips for a fun and safe holiday. I offer these tips free of charge, proving what a generous person I am so there’s no need to throw toilet paper in my trees.

• Because you’re required to pass out enough candy to feed a herd of famished rhinos, to help ease your pocketbook (do people still carry pocketbooks?) buy a package of mini-marshmallows. There are hundreds in there. Or, even better, rice. You may not be liked, but you’re not in this to be liked. You’re in this to survive.

• Often children will approach wearing disguises to hide their identity and use scare tactics to extort candy. Call Homeland Security immediately.

• When kids come up to your door and say “trick or treat!” choose trick. Then lead them out to your garage where they can wash and detail your car. Halloween is the perfect opportunity to explain to these children that there’s no such thing as a free ride. But there IS such a thing as getting your ride cleaned for free using costumed child labor.

• Halloween candy fake-out! As the strange costumed small people hold out their greedy little sacks, grab a bowl of pennies, pencils and denture gum and fake like you’re going to give it to them. Once you see their looks of disappointment, say “Just kidding!” while reaching for a big bag of peanut butter cups. Then close the door in their faces. Trick indeed!

• Often on Halloween your meticulously carved Jack-O-Lanterns are prime targets for teen smashery. To prevent this, place them behind an electrified fence or carefully placed in a bear trap.

• Kids like to be scared on Halloween. Instead of jumping out from behind a bush, show them the price tag of their four-year college tuition. Show it to their parents for bonus scares.

• Kids also loved to be surprised. Instead of candy, give each one a scoop of peach Jell-O.

• When you drop a piece of candy into a plastic pumpkin head, try and palm another, better piece of candy on your way back up. This is how you win at Halloween.

• Often there are lines to hit a house up for candy during peak trick-or-treating hours. Avoid this nuisance by taking your child to your neighbor’s back door or through an unlocked window.

• If a line develops at your house, set up an “express” lane for faster trick-or-treaters with parents who have cash.

• This time of year can be quite chilly. You don’t want trick-or-treaters to catch cold so the polite thing to do is invite them inside. Be sure to wave to their parents to indicate things are OK before locking the door behind you so no thieves can get in.

• Because you drive your kids around trick-or-treating, it’s only fair that they return the favor and drive you home from the bar.

• If your child approaches another child with the same costume it is customary for the children to have an impromptu dance-off to determine rights to the block.

• If you have friends or neighbors that like to play practical jokes, you must avoid their trickery or it could scar your children for life. Therefore, take your children to a random block in an unfamiliar town. Drop them off and go home and relax. You’ve earned it. They’ll find their way home eventually, learning a lot about landmarks and self-survival in the process.

• To prevent hooligans from vandalizing your house, launch a pre-emptive attack. Toss toilet paper over your trees and throw eggs against your siding. Sure, your house will be a mess, but you won’t give teenagers the satisfaction of doing it themselves.

• Inspect each piece of candy in order to ensure it’s all safe by eating each one in front of your children.


Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at or via whale song. Follow him on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he’ll rattle chains over your bed. Never mind how he got in. You have lax security. He took some cheese from your fridge.