Childless Halloween: Trick or Treat?

37738124 - halloween still life with pumpkins and halloween holiday text
Copyright: alexraths / 123RF Stock Photo

It’s time for kid-centered holidays. Labor Day was no problem. But Halloween is a different story. All those kids whining about costumes and candy. All those proud parents taking pictures of their little ones dressed as pumpkins, Ninja Turtles, or whatever’s hot this year. Carving pumpkins, baking orange-frosted cupcakes, buying sugary treats to hand out at the door. It sounds exhausting.

Yesterday, I asked my hair stylist, mother of four, if she was ready for Halloween. She sighed. “Almost. I still have a few more things to do.” At that moment, I did not mind one bit that I don’t have children. Christmas is bad enough.

Yes, it might be fun to do Halloween with my kids. I might enjoy every minute of it. By now my children would be adults, possibly bringing their own children to my house to show their costumes to “Grandma.” I’d be posting pictures like crazy. But that’s not going to happen. Living out here in the spooky old woods, I don’t even get other people’s kids coming to the door. So I don’t have to buy candy. I still have a few of last year’s Tootsie Pops that I bought in a fit of optimism, but it’s too dark out here. If somebody knocks on the door, it might be a bear.

Remember that even if you had children, you might not see them on Halloween. My father’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all live far away, and he won’t see them on Halloween. Mostly he just worries about trick-or-treaters smashing his plants and trashing his yard.

I could feel sorry for myself on Halloween, but I have choices, as do you. I can go to one of the many events for children and shower them with candy and compliments about their costumes or visit someone who lives in a more child-friendly neighborhood. My late mother-in-law lived in a section of town where people brought their kids by the busload. For several years, she hid in a back room while Fred and I handed out little Hershey Bars for hours. It was fun.

If you live in civilization, you can enjoy decorating your house and yard and offering tricks and treats to the neighborhood kids. Dress up, get silly. If you don’t have a kid, be a kid.

Or put on your own costume and go party with other adults. Karaoke, anyone? Pumpkin-tinis? Dancing to “The Monster Mash?”

If someone is pushing you to watch them and their kids have fun, you can go and be the fun “auntie” or “uncle.” You can also say no, stay home, turn out the porch light and watch “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s okay.

What are your plans for Halloween? Are you looking forward to it or dreading it?

5 thoughts on “Childless Halloween: Trick or Treat?

  1. I’m in the category of enjoying my nieces and nephews without being responsible for dealing with the inevitable sugar crash that they will experience right at bedtime.

    Over the years it’s been tough. At first it was fine because not all of us had children. In those years DH and I worked as crossing guards for the night and warmed up with liquid spirits at the end of the evening. Then people in the family started to have more kids and Halloween turned into an exclusive club. Those with children were invited to a pizza party before Trick or Treating. The rest of us were not. Even that wasn’t so bad – until we were the only ones without kids. By then Facebook was used more and we got to see all their fun via our FB wall. Boo.

    One year we were invited to the pizza party and the next year forgotten. No rhyme or reason to any of it. These days we are always included and we enjoy being part of the big crew that trolls the town. HOWEVER, the group always dresses up (parents and children) in a grand theme. Since we don’t have children we are never informed of this theme so we tag along in our random silly hat or shirt – included but still on the outside of it all. Plus the main van that is used for the evening is only big enough for the kids and parents. DH and I have to follow behind them in our own vehicle. Last year they forgot to tell us of a place they were going so we got separated. We just went home. Probably no one missed us.

    But we’re grownups and don’t wish to pout like children over Halloween exclusions. And it is silly to even waste time being hurt over something like this. It’s certainly not intentional. These parents have enough trouble getting the kids ready without worrying about us being included and informed.

    So it’s only little hurts. Some years – when the hurts have added up too quickly – are harder than others. We take it upon ourselves now to ask questions. And I make sure to have plenty of candy at the house for us to enjoy on our own.

    This is how we celebrate Halloween.


    • Thanks for sharing this, Anon. I guess you need to make sure they tell you where they’re going! I think the parents are pretty preoccupied with the little ones, so you have to watch out for yourself. But good for you for diving in. Enjoy your candy.


    • This was the first year I was able to hand out candy in 20 years. Our previous home was outside of town on three acres. It was bittersweet. I pretty much handed out candy because it was expected of me, plus I didn’t want to be known as the new childless women in the neighborhood who hates kids. Plus my brother-in-law, who I am living near for the first time ever,is convinced that I hate kids because I don’t find all the children in the world so cute and adorable, like the small child in the booth behind you who won’t leave you alone. Its a tough one, but I will participate and give all the oo’s and aa’s to the small children and their costumes. I figure its better to go along with it than to have people upset that you aren’t.


      • I also don’t get how every new mother thinks you would just love to hold their baby, like you have waited your whole life for that one moment to hold their child. I just politely say no thank you and explain that I’m all thumbs and will most likely drop them. Like you, hold a puppy in my face and I go weak at the knees. The stronger the puppy breath, the bigger the lick on the face, the better!!!!


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