Trick or Treat - harmless Halloween fun or is it just another form of begging?

Sam and Noah Abbott ready for Trick or Treating

Sam and Noah Abbott ready for Trick or Treating - Credit: Archant

Trick or Treating is an American tradition which seems to grow each year here in Suffolk and north Essex.

Noah Abbott ready for Trick or Treating

Noah Abbott ready for Trick or Treating - Credit: Archant

Children run between houses collecting treasures from neighbour who have decorated their homes with flickering pumpkins, cobwebs and other scary accessories.

Do you allow your children to go Trick or Treating or do you see it as another form of begging? We asked parents to share their views.

Chris Abbott, business and property manager for Archant Suffolk, takes his sons, aged seven and four out each year. He said: “We love Halloween in our house, my kids love to decorate the house and create their homemade outfits - we’ve made all sorts, including fully lit up ghostbuster packs, so really enjoy taking part.

“My children are quite young, only seven and four, so of course we accompany them around the few houses locally that always partake in the Halloween festivities, only going to those houses that clearly don’t mind. The ubundance of spooky pumpkins is the giveaway.

Amelia and Phoebe Goodman with their auntie Louise

Amelia and Phoebe Goodman with their auntie Louise - Credit: Archant

“I want my children to experience the activities I enjoyed back in the 80s, which were mostly outdoors and although the area I live in is a relatively safe and quiet neighbourhood I can’t see my wife and I allowing them to trot out on Halloween without us for some time yet (21 if I had my way).

“Memories of my own mother walking five steps behind me at 10 years old trying to be covert, stay with me know.”

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Jo Adams has three boys, Zach, Leo and Jake aged between eight and four, and she doesn’t allow them out.

“You spend the whole year telling them not to take sweets from strangers and certainly don’t go knocking on their doors. Then there is this one night of the year when it’s perfectly fine,” she said.

Anne Francies lets her twins out Trick or Treating with walkie talkies

Anne Francies lets her twins out Trick or Treating with walkie talkies - Credit: Archant

Helen Goodman is mum to Eleanor, 16, and twins Amelia and Phoebe, 13.

She said: “I aways took mine out, following them around and only allowing them to knock at houses that were decorated with Halloween bits.

“Last year Eleanor was away and we took Amelia and Phoebe to Adventure Island in Southendinstead. All the staff were dressed up and loads of kids of all ages were too.

“The girls had a great night and they have asked to do the same this year.”

Dee Potter is also against the tradition and prefers to enjoy Halloween at home with her daughters.

“I was never allowed as a child as my mum classes it as a form of begging. “I don’t take my girls out, not for that reason but because they aren’t old enough to head out on their own yet and the thought of them knocking on strangers doors is not my idea of a nice evening with the kids.

“I would rather have a movie night with treats indoors to celebrate Halloween.”

For Anne Francies, of Kelvedon, last year was the first year her twin daughters, now nine, were allowed out unsupervised.

“I take mine to close houses and only those houses we know the owners and have pumpkins. We don’t go too far as there are only so many sweets they can eat.

“Last year was very exciting as we agreed boundaries and they went alone with a walkie talkie!”

Fellow Essex mum, Kelly Hernaman, who lives near Chelmsford, allows her children, Amelia and Oliver to go Trick or Treating.

She said: “I feel it’s safe in the village, and only let them knock on houses with pumpkins out and decorations.

“It’s nice seeing all the parents and families out together and happy but not sure everywhere would have the same feeling.”

Claire Rayner’s daughter is now 16 and has outgrown the festivities.

But she said: “When Lauren was younger, we used to alternate a year at home where we gave out sweets and a year when we went trick or treating.

“When we went out, we would only go to one or two roads so that we weren’t greedy. She was always happy with that.

“I always waited at the end of the path so I knew she was safe. We stopped going out when she was around the age of eight and now just enjoy the giving.”

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, of Hadleigh, is mum to Ella and Ethan, said: “I think Halloween is a great bit of harmless family fun. I wasn’t really allowed to do it when I was younger so when I go along with my children I’m secretly re-living my youth.

“They love dressing up and walking around with their friends looking at all the decorated houses. In Hadleigh some householders go all-out with special effects!

“We do have rules though. We only knock on doors where there are Halloween decorations or pumpkins on visible display. And we don’t knock after 7.30pm when younger children are likely to be asleep.”