Going door-to-door yelling “trick-or-treat!” is a time-honored tradition, but it’s a little strange that people so welcomingly open their doors to an ultimatum.
You’re really just a child intimidating an adult while your parent stands guard on the street. Begging for candy is degrading, but threatening for candy gets results.
“Trick-or-treat” appeals to a homeowner’s fear of property damage, but why stop there when there’s still body-image, sickness and death? If fear tactics aren’t your style, just be honest with them and say you’d rather not eat one of their razor-apples.
Here are a few different things you could say this Halloween to up your yield.
“No razors, please.”
Be upfront about it. Let them know you want candy, not apples.
You’re not quite sure how they would’ve finagled a razor into a Granny Smith without breaking the skin, but you trust your parents’ instincts that psychopaths wait until October 31 to do any real damage.
“If I don’t eat it, you will.”
This strategy works especially well for apathetic homeowners with body-image issues.
They don’t even consider Halloween a holiday, but if you can convince them you’re doing them a dietary service, they’ll scramble through the house in search of every sweet they have.
You may be “a little old for trick-or-treating,” but they hate themselves. Leverage their self-loathing and cast trick-or-treating in a different light.
You’re not some masked deviant here to beg for candy, you’re an angel sent by Jenny Craig to cleanse this house and save their hips.
“I’m here from the FDA. There’s been a recall.”
You’re going to get some follow-up questions, so you’ll need to come prepared with phrases like, “Some E. coli got into the nougat” or “We found traces of uncooked meat in all green Skittles.”
If they ask why you’re dressed up as slutty skeletons, just tell them the government suggested you blend with the masses to avoid inciting panic.
Note: This method will still cause mass panic as neighborhood associations frantically call their residents and instruct them to destroy their children’s hauls. Hopefully you’ll be gone by then.
“My blood sugar is low.”
Create an emergency situation on their front steps.
Before you go out, make sure to practice walking with a tired stumble in front of a mirror. If you’re not convinced you can seal the deal with your acting alone, enlist a few friends to pose as bystanders who can guide the flustered homeowner into doing the right thing.
In this case, “the right thing” means pressuring a grown man to hand feed you candy while your friends add it to their Snap stories.
“Give me a toothbrush and tomorrow your roof will have exactly one more toothbrush.”
It’s longwinded, but it gets your point across. The only thing more condescending than giving out toothbrushes on Halloween is bringing a job application to your friend’s community theater performance.
You’re aware of the heath hazards and discomforts associated with candy -- cavities, upset stomachs, diabetes – but unless it’s electric, you’re not wasting your time with toothbrushes on Halloween. (Seriously, though, if you get an electric toothbrush, treasure that thing. It’s like getting coal on Christmas: sad until you realize the resale value.)
“Have you heard the good news of Jesus Christ?”
Most people will slam their doors before you get to “Je–,” but you must be strong. Hold out until you get to a bright white house with a crucifix instead of a mailbox flag, and then cash in.
Some would call this religious appropriation, which seems appropriate given the fact that Halloween is just a commercialization of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
Translation: May his/her soul be on God's right hand.
Historians believe a facsimile of trick-or-treating originated in Medieval Britain in a tradition known as "souling," when the poor would pray for the upper classes’ dead relatives in exchange for soul cakes.
Less informed homeowners might confuse this Gaelic prayer for demonic incantation or obscure High Valyrian, but if you live in Portland -- or anywhere that thinks Halloween has "sold out’" to the corporate fat cats at CVS -- they’ll value the return to form.
As is the hipster way, they won’t give you candy, but you’ll get an entire cake they prepared just for you.