When I was a little girl, trick or treating was simpler. My sister and I would throw on our homemade halloween costumes—always something we could move freely in—grab a pillowcase from my mom, and run around the entire neighborhood until our bags were bursting with candy, popcorn balls, cookies, gum or whatever treats the household we approached chose to give away that year. My parents felt no concern over our safety, or that harm would come to anyone who wondered the sidewalks and streets that night. They never had to look for open candy that might have been tampered with, or worry that someone would give us anything dangerous.

Unfortunately, times have changed. The concern of safety is on every parent's minds. So we adapt and create a safe environment in which to have trick or treat fun. 

When my girls were young, I would have pre-trick-or-treating parties at my home, inviting all our friends to wear costumes and come by for a halloween themed dinner and treats. After the meal, kids and parents could trick-or-treat around our neighborhood and then come back to eat more treats and play some games.

One year my husband and I decorated our house like a haunted house, which suited the grey, Cape Cod style. I bought a gigantic spider to sit on the porch bench beside the front door with cobwebs all around. My husband carved and painted foam gravestones with silly sayings (i.e. here lies Bird Rock Betty who took a long walk off a short jetty). And while everyone trickled into our home, we played scary music. Both parents and kids laughed and enjoyed the evening while trick-or-treaters knocked at our door. I responded with a bowl of various candies for their picking. 

Behind the trick-or-treaters came a cheerful family with Australian accents. After yelling "Trick or Treat,” they walked in and joined our party. The night went on, everyone enjoying themselves, I noticed this family nibble on the scattered snacks and use our restroom so they could continue their journey comfortably. After the party ended and I was picking up the house, I asked my husband who the family with the accent was.  He said, he had no idea and thought I knew them. And I told him I thought he knew them! What else could we do, but laugh that perfect strangers had indulged in our home at our party.

Years went by, and my husband and I were grocery shopping. A lady approached us and said, with an Australian accent, “You are the people who had the wonderful halloween party. We had so much fun. Thank you for it.”  Then she walked away. My husband and I looked at each other and just started laughing. I couldn’t help, but wonder how many other parties they went to...