It’s almost time for children everywhere to set off, donned in their Halloween best, ringing doorbells and demanding treats.
Though no one seems to know where the phrase came from, it’s been popular since the 50s, first on a “Peanuts” comic strip, then with a Disney Donald Duck cartoon.
Regardless of its origins, trick-or-treating is a favorite among childhood pastimes and a time-honored tradition with plenty of tips and tricks to getting it just right.
Who better to give those tips than the very trick-or-treaters themselves? So, here’s a list of tips straight from the source.
Pick a unique costume
Finding the perfect Halloween costume can be a complicated task. While it may seem easy to choose a costume based on one of the many characters currently popular, such as anything “It” or clown-related, Spiderman or “Fortnite,” many of Santa Clarita’s trick-or-treaters said that’s not the way to go.
“You have to pick something unique,” said sixth-grader Tanner Reed. “If people see 50 ‘Stranger Things’ characters show up at their door, they aren’t going to give you as much candy. If you pick something different, they’ll think it’s cooler.”
Third-grader Savanna Edson agreed, adding that coming up with a unique costume is almost always half the fun.
“My mom helps me make my costume every year,” Edson said, adding that it takes months of planning. “I try and be creative with stuff I like … this year, I’m going as a mummy vampire with fangs and blood and everything.”
Though keeping things interesting is important, sixth-grader Patrick Switzer said you can’t forget to pick something that others will recognize.
“The worst thing is no one knowing what you are,” Switzer said. “Because if they don’t know what you are, they don’t get excited. Excitement means candy.”
Unless the lights are off, try every house
“You can’t skip any house,” Juan Velazquez said. “If you skip a house, you get less candy. The only houses you skip are the ones without lights because those are pointless.”
Each house has the potential to be the “motherload,” or in other words, the house that has the best candy, according to the fifth-grader.
While Liam Klein agreed, he also suggested looking ahead when going down the street.
“If you’re at a house and you see other kids at the next house, you should try and see if they get candy or don’t bother,” Klein said.
Plan your route in advance
Klein also suggests talking to friends and neighbors ahead of time so you can plan your route accordingly.
“If you get the (intel) on where the good candy is, you can skip the wimpy areas and get straight to the good stuff,” he said.
Will Bennett disagreed, adding that he likes the mystery behind each new street.
“I try to get my dad to take me to a new area each year,” the fourth-grader said. “One year, we go down to the bottom of the hill; and then next year, we start at the top. You can’t cover all of it in one night, so doing different things means you get to see cool, new houses.”
“You have to go right when it starts to get dark before the good candy is taken,” sixth-grader Noah Oliver said. “The worst thing ever is going when people are out of candy.”
Save your candy
In terms of candy, Oliver also suggested withholding your candy snacking urges until you arrive back home.
“You can’t count your candy up if you already ate some,” he added. “If you wait, you can keep track of your records.”
Fourth-grader Ava Martinez agreed, but also added that you have to ration your supply, as well.
“If you only have one or two a day, you can have candy all year long,” Martinez said, “or at least ’til Christmas.”
The best decorations don’t equate to the best candy
“Sometimes, the houses with the coolest Halloween stuff have the sucky candy, so be prepared,” said Jaxson Reed, a fourth-grader.
Reed said that though the candy may not be the best, they’re still worth visiting for the scare.
“My brother always wants to skip some when he knows what kind of candy they have, but I think they’re the coolest,” he added.
When it says ‘Take one,’ only take one
“Usually, when there’s signs that say, ‘Take one,’ there are people hiding to make sure that you do and they scare you if you take more,” said Skylar Oliver, a fourth-grader.
She and her brother Noah have learned the hard way, she said, telling of the time she screamed at the top of her lungs when someone popped out from behind the tombstone to scare them.
“Oh, and sometimes the bowls try and grab you,” she added.
Make sure to say ‘trick or treat’
Though answers varied, the one thing each trick-or-treater agreed on the importance of not just saying “trick or treat,” but saying it in your sweetest voice ever.
“If you kinda sing it, they eat it up,” Velazquez said, laughing.
“I like to stand on my tippy-toes and say it while I sort of dance — that almost always works,” Edson added. “And then you have to say, ‘Thank you’ or they will remember and give you less candy next year.”