Five-year-olds understand Halloween.
They understand that they are supposed to dress up in costume and go door-to-door collecting their body weight in candy. They understand that people in the neighborhood are likely to grab their cameras and gush that they are the cutest things that they've ever seen!
Five-year-olds understand that the day after Halloween, along with Easter morning and Christmas morning, is the only time during the year that mom and dad will grant them free reign to eat candy before breakfast. And because of the large quantity of candy consumed today, five-year-olds are now fully expecting that early in the morning on November 2 - before they even wake up - the tooth fairy will confiscate whatever candy remains.
But since five-year-olds don't yet have a full grasp of social etiquette, these are just a few of the things I (repeatedly) reinforced with our children, last night.
When people open the door, you keep your feet planted on the doormat. You should festively say, "Trick-or-Treat!" and when the people hand you candy, you politely say, "Thank you!" and then, as you retreat down the steps you should tell them, "Happy Halloween!"
You don't knock on the door, ring the door bell, knock, knock, BANG BANG BANG, ring the door bell, RING RING RING. You certainly don't try to OPEN the door and just walk in.
When your candy host opens the door, you don't storm in to the house, like you own the place. And when they bend down to offer you a treat, you don't say things like, "YUCK! I don't like that!" or "Ewww. Do you have anything else?" Whatever you do, please don't stuff your hand in to the bowl and try to take out more than what has been offered.
Please don't ask if the home owner has a dog that you can pet. But if by some chance you see that they do, please don't try to pick it up. And if the home owner has a bird, it's best not to share your opinion on the feathered species. "ICK. We don't like birds! They make a mess and poop everywhere and they are too loud!" might cause an awkward moment and cause your mother to blurt out something like, "Hmm. I doubt birds are louder or messier than children. Maybe I should throw a drape over your bed at night?"
Remember. If you decide to enjoy a piece of candy while you are out, please don't flip your discarded trash in to someone's nicely manicured landscaping. ESPECIALLY when you are standing on their doorstep and they are LOOKING right at you. Because then your mother will make you spend the next five minutes hunting in a starlight lily for a used Tootsie Roll lollipop stick.
Last but not least, if you happen to notice an odor with which you are unfamiliar when you are standing at the threshold of someone's home ... please, please, please don't hold your nose and loudly declare, "Yikes. I don't like this place. It really STINKS!"
Because that will cause your mother to look around and say, "I just found these kids wandering down the street. Do you have any idea who they might belong to?"