The 5 trick-or-treaters you’ll see on Halloween (or, when to turn off the porch light)

Two cousins, the boy dressed in military camou...

Image via Wikipedia

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.

5. Teenagers.

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.

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The worst Halloween ever (or, the night a girl and her mom stole my candy)


When I was 5, my parents took me trick-or-treating. It was drizzling, and I had a nasty cold, but I didn’t want to miss Halloween.

I don’t remember my costume, but I remember my bag. It was a paper, with paper-cord handles. This is important. It was a paper bag.

Trick or Treat?

This is not how I remember trick-or-treat. (Wikipedia)

I got a lot of candy, but there were a few duds. One woman was giving out pieces of popcorn — loose, not bagged, just reaching in a bowl and dropping a few into the paper bag — and there was a doctor up the street who gave out pennies.

So, there I am, sick, sniffling, coughing, with a slight fever, walking down the street in a drizzling rain, and I say, “Mom, my bag feels lighter.”

She says, “Oh, you’re just getting used to the weight.”

I stop and look at my bag and say, “No, it broke!”

The bottom had dropped out of my damp paper sack, and all my candy had fallen out.

We looked up the sidewalk and there, maybe 20 feet behind us, a girl and her mother were scooping up my candy and putting it in the girl’s bag.

I looked at Mom. She looked at the girl and mother stealing my candy and sighed. “OK,” she said. “Let’s go to a few more houses, then.”

We did, but we’d already hit most of the houses on the street, and I didn’t get enough candy to make up for the candy the girl and her mother stole.

A few years ago, my parents and I were talking about the kids’ costumes and about Halloween when I was a kid — like the time our neighbor’s big black dog chased me down the street, or the many times teenagers blew up our pumpkins with M-80s – and I asked Mom why she hadn’t tried to stop the woman from taking the candy.

Mom said she knew the woman, or knew of her. I’m from a really small town in eastern Kentucky where everybody knows everybody else, including their family histories and their family’s criminal history. “That woman was mean,” my mom said.

I understood. It would be a waste of time to get into an argument with an idiot over a couple bucks worth of chocolate. I imagine she would have claimed it was hers under the widely held legal principle of “finders keepers.”

So, this Halloween I’ll carve a pumpkin (yuck) and take the kids out trick-or-treating and, because they asked, I’ll wear a costume — Indiana Jones, because I have a jacket and a hat that would work — and if I see a kid spill some candy on the sidewalk, you can bet Things 1 and 2 and I will help him pick it up.

How to dress like Indiana Jones this Halloween for only $2,127.90 (khakis not included)

Indiana Jones

Image via Wikipedia

Things 1 and 2 think I should dress up for Halloween, so, after careful consideration, I decided to dress up like Indiana Jones.

I have a hat and a leather jacket and plenty of white shirts and khakis, and I thought it would be an easy costume to pull together, but when I tried on the ensemble, I looked less like an adventurer than a guy going to work on casual Friday.

So, I went online to see what it takes to dress like Indiana Jones, and I discovered it takes $2,127.90 and a pair of grayish-brown (or reddish-brown) khakis.

That’s a bit more than I wanted to spend, but here’s the breakdown:

Boots: I thought I’d wear an old pair of brown leather shoes, but according to the fanatics at, my costume wouldn’t be authentic without a pair of work boots from the Alden Shoe Co., model No. 405. Luckily, the boots are easy to find online. J. Crew sells them for $450 a pair.

Pants: Indygear says the khakis are based on World War II Army officers’ trousers. In the 1st movie, they’re grayish-brown, but in the other movies, they’re reddish-brown. According to Indygear, they’re wool-twill, with 7 belt loops, button-flapped rear pockets, a button fly and a military-style 4-inch hem. I couldn’t find an online source for Indy-style khakis, so I’ll have to make it up as I go along.

Shirt: Indiana Jones wore an off-white safari shirt with pleats running from the epaulets, over the button-flapped breast pockets to the hem. I don’t have any shirts with vertical pleats (or epaulets), but Todds Costumes sells them for $49.95 each.

Jacket: I thought my brown leather jacket would work, but my pockets don’t have flaps, and Indy’s did. If I want an authentic jacket, I’ll need to order one from Wested Leather Co., the British company that cranked out dozens of jackets for the movies. Replicas sell for £155, or about $245.

It takes a lot of money to look this scruffy looking.

Hat: I’d planned on wearing a fedora-looking hat I got last winter at Eddie Bauer, but Indiana Jones wouldn’t wear a hat from the mall. His fedora was made by a British company called Herbert Johnson, which was later acquired by a company called Swaine Adeney Briggs. It says that particular style has been in production since the 1890s and is called the Poet. It costs £215, or about $340.

Shoulder bag: The fanatics at say Indy’s shoulder bag was really a World War II gas-mask bag. I struck out on eBay, but Todds Costumes sells replicas for $47.95.

The whip: I found an “official” Indiana Jones whip at the Halloween store at the mall for about $7, but, honestly, it looks like something a kid would take trick-or-treating. The 10-foot kangaroo-hide bullwhips used in the movies were made by David Morgan, who sells them online for $995 each.

So there you go. If you really want to dress like Indiana Jones, it’s gonna cost you $2,127.90, and that doesn’t include the khakis … or the belt … or the gun and holster. I totally forgot about the gun and holster.

The poor man's Indiana Jones

You know, that’s a lot of money to invest just to take the kids around the neighborhood and pass out candy.

I’ll stick with the Indy shirt and a Halloween-store whip and call it a day.