Tonight is Halloween. As a public service, here’s a guide to the 5 kinds of trick-or-treaters you’ll see tonight and when it’s OK to turn off the porch light and stop giving out candy.
1. The demons you know.
These are your friends’ kids, or your kids’ friends. They’ll come early and probably get a special treat — a caramel popcorn ball or full-sized candy bars or a whole handful of miniature candy bars (if you didn’t think to buy something special ahead of time). You’ll stand on the porch and talk to the parents for a while and maybe take a picture.
2. The demons you kind of know.
These are little kids from around the neighborhood. If you don’t know names of the kids or their parents, you’ll probably at least recognize them. They’ll get 1 or 2 miniature candy bars, but if they’re especially nice or cute, they’ll get an extra Twix bar or something. You won’t take pictures. That would be weird.
3. The demons you don’t know.
Random older kids. Might be from the neighborhood, might not. 1 miniature candy bar each.
4. Repeat offenders.
Sure, it’s possible that 2 kids of about the same height might wear the same costume, but odds are pretty slim that there’d be 2 groups of trick-or-treaters consisting of a ninja, a pirate, Jango Fett and … maybe a hobo, maybe a scarecrow, it’s hard to tell.
The final wave of trick-or-treaters is always a group of teenagers. Often, they’ll snicker like Beavis and Butt-head because they think they’re fooling you, but rule of thumb: If you’re old enough to shave any part of your body, you’re too old to trick-or-treat.
When the 1st wave of teenagers comes is when it’s safe to blow out the candle in the pumpkin and turn off the porch light, the international sign for “No more candy,” although, sometimes, teenagers have a hard time figuring this out. They’ll ring the bell anyway and snicker. You’ll need to decide whether it’s safe to ignore them or whether they’ll egg your car or blow up your pumpkin with an M-80 if you don’t meet their demands.