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​​​How to Have a Frightfully Polite Halloween!

Witch 2
They may have been “creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky”, but the Addams family was also courteous. The following tips can be used to teach children that when fairies, freaks, princesses and creeps share the sidewalk with courtesy, everyone can have a frightfully polite Halloween:

  • When you see other wizards, gremlins, and goblins smile and say, “Hi”. Step aside and let them pass if there is not enough room for everyone on the sidewalk.
  • Do not approach a house that is dark. The ghouls and ghosts have, undoubtedly, already eaten all the goodies!
  • Ring the doorbell once; then wait quietly. The people inside are expecting masked visitors and will come to the door as soon possible.
  • When someone opens the door, look at him, smile, and say, “Trick or Treat”!. When you leave with your “loot” look at him, smile, and say, “Thank you”.
  • If you are offered a bowl of candy, take a few pieces (not a handful) off the top. Rifling through the bowl can cause candy to fall out; it will also hold up the trick or treaters behind you.
  • If you approach a house and other trick or treaters are filling their bags, wait patiently at the edge of the yard. When they pass you, walk up to the door.
  • If you accidentally bump into a ballerina or lion say, “Excuse me”. She will understand.
  • When trick or treating by car, open the door carefully; you wouldn’t want to whack a witch!
  • Leave a sweet impression by putting candy wrappers in your bag; do not scatter them across the neighborhood lawns.

Finally, as monsters, scarecrows, and kitty cats can certainly be generous, children may want to fill, not only a bag for themselves, but also a bucket for UNICEF!

Cozy Coffin Motel photo courtesy of Creative Commons  Photographer Kevin Dooley

Taking a Stand for Respect

My observations of the local Memorial Day Parade were printed in the MetroWest Daily News, Sunday, June 6

The Memorial Day Parade in my town was not flashy; the crowd was not crushing; and the speeches not self-aggrandizing. The parade was like a pot of mixed-berry jam: Civil War soldiers in blue; women in hooped skirts; an American-Legion float skirted in red, white, and blue; Scout troops marching in loose formation, police marching in perfect formation; a WW II tank rumbling; flutists playing; and babies gurgling. The day’s events reeked of small-town charm and offered myriad opportunities for adults to model respect.

The parade made strategic stops to allow for prayers and brief speeches honoring past and current veterans. A WW II fighter pilot addressed the crowd, honoring a fallen comrade. After he spoke, this eighty-something stood, leaning lightly on the back of an empty folding chair, as the names of the veterans we lost over the past year were read and the National Anthem sounded.

Through the National Anthem people saluted, others held a hand over their heart, and some simply stood straight. The Boy Scouts, hats removed, stood; one distracted Scout twirled his hat; a troop leader gently pushed the boys arm down; a silent lesson in respect. A group of elementary-age girls sitting on a blanket chatted; they didn’t understand the significance of the moment, and the adults with them lost a valuable teaching opportunity. Along with some children, a few adults sat on the curb, setting a fine example of obliviousness or, perhaps, ignorance.

Memorial Day is an annual opportunity for the town to honor those who protect us and the families who take on the attendant sacrifices and losses. Opinions on the wars, health-care reform, or the choice of state flower don’t matter; this day is about displaying respect and self-respect and, in the process, utilizing important teachable moments.