Ghosts and Ghouls: Manistee residents decorate for Halloween

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MANISTEE — From ghosts to ghouls, spiders to skeletons, Manistee residents have let the spirit of Halloween shine — or lurk in the shadows — this month with their creative decorations and displays around the area.

With the official holiday right around the corner, here are 10 Halloween tips and tricks for the public to keep in mind:

-Select Appropriate Costumes: Costumes that represent a culture, race, ethnic or religious group or someone with a serious illness, poverty or other hardship, are inappropriate. Sexually explicit costumes encourage negativity.

– Age Appropriateness: While many adults enjoy Halloween dress up, remember this is mostly a children’s holiday. What your teenager might wear, is not a good fit for a first-grade Halloween party. Gage the costume based on your child’s age, and the age of his or her peers.

– Candy Alternatives: Traditional chocolate or sugar-laced candy are always a hit. With more health conscious parents, consider sealed mini bottled water, pre-packaged popcorn, coloring books, pre-packaged healthy snacks, small inexpensive toys, or pens/pencils.

– Don’t Ring Doorbell or Knock: By simply turning off the outside lights, you will alert trick or treaters to skip your house and go on to the next. As an option, consider leaving a bowl of candy by the front door.

– Knock One Time and One Time Only: If no one answers, move on to the next house. There’s no need to be excessive and knock 10 times. The homeowner might be on an important call or trying to help a baby to sleep.

– No Homemade Treats: While it’s a nice thought to want to bake homemade Halloween treats, don’t do it. Parents have heightened safety concerns for good reason, and will discard these items. Buy pre-packaged candy from trusted brands.

– Teach Your Kids Manners: Halloween is a great opportunity to teach your kids manners, such as greeting and thanking each homeowner who gives them candy. Explain to older kids and teenagers that bullying and pushing smaller kids out of the way won’t be tolerated.

– Never Arrive Empty Handed: Anyone invited to a Halloween party, does not arrive empty handed. Bring a small hostess gift such as tea towels, diffuser, candle, coasters, fresh fruit, wine, packaged sweets or children’s game.

– Office & School Policies: Office culture varies, so be sure to research your workplace policy. Ask a trusted colleague about the ‘unwritten rules.’ Some offices encourage tasteful costumes, while others frown upon the practice. Education policies vary, so don’t assume children may wear their costumes to school. In many school districts across the nation, costumes are prohibited for safety reasons. Double check and don’t assume.

– Stay Safe: Younger children should always be accompanied by parents or a designated chaperone. Older children and teens should trick or treat as part of a group. Never enter someone’s home you don’t know, no matter how nice they seem. Carry a flashlight and mobile phone.

Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert, author, and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, compiled these tips and tricks

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