A Boo! That’ll Delight But Won’t Fright

Whether you call it “Boo’ing” or “Ghosting” or “Boo Bags” or any variation of those, spreading a little bit of the Halloween spirit, families who love Halloween are having the best time pulling this sweet “trick” on their neighbors and friends.

What exactly is it?
Whatever you call it, surprising neighbors or friends with some extra Halloween treats (because your kids need more candy, right?) just adds to the fun building up to Halloween night. While each BOO’ing method may vary a bit, the basic idea is that you pick one friend or a handful of friends, fill goodie bags with Halloween treats and deliver them to their doorstep anonymously. The next time they open the door or arrive home, they’ll find a fun little surprise on their doorstep, including instructions on how to “pass the BOO” on to even more neighbors or friends. Once they’ve been BOO’ed, they post a sign in their front window or on the front door, where it’s visible, so that everyone knows that they’ve been BOO’ed! Easier than carving the 30-pound pumpkin your preschooler picked out at the pumpkin patch this weekend!

How do I do it?
Get started by picking how many people you’re going to BOO – typically three houses is a good place to start to get the BOO kicked off. In each BOO bag, be sure to include a simple instruction sheet that tells them that they’ve been BOO’ed and how to pass it along. You can download the Red Tricycle version here and then they can simply make copies of that sheet to put in their BOO’ing bags. Also, include a BOO sign, that they will hang in their window to make sure their house doesn’t get BOO’ed over and over again…not that it would be a bad thing! You can find the Red Tricycle version of the BOO sign here.

Once the bags are packed and ready, plan your BOO attack! If you have kids who can stay up past sundown, hit each house after dark with a little “ring and run” action – yes, drop your BOO bag on the front porch, ring their doorbell and RUN! While we generally don’t encourage teaching your kids the joys of this adolescent game that’s usually reserved for bored teenagers, there’s no harm in it… just this once. Have little BOO’ers at home? Deliver your BOO bags in the daylight hours – it’s just as fun!

What do I BOO them with?
The best part about BOO’ing people is that it is completely customizable. Start with small bags – even simple brown paper lunch bags work well and can easily be decorated with Halloween stickers or drawings – then fill them with age appropriate goodies. Of course, candy is always a hit, but you don’t have to add to the sugar debauchery that is about to come once Halloween rolls around. Check out the Halloween section of your local drugstore, where you can often find party favor-style Halloween goods, like pencils decorated with ghosts and candy corn colored notebooks.

Skip the homemade baked goods, unless you leave a top secret note from the parents, explaining who the BOO is from… delivering anonymous cupcakes probably isn’t the best way to get them to pass the BOO and probably is counterproductive to all of those talks about “no candy from strangers.”  And, keep in mind the ages of the kids who live at the house you’re going to be BOO’ing – even though you may be BOO’ing friends from your son’s third-grade class, throw in something in the BOO bags for the younger siblings as well – their parents will appreciate it and it will cut down on the BOO-hoo-hoos.

When should delivery my BOO?
Some neighborhoods start as early as October 1st, but it’s completely appropriate to BOO your neighbors and friends all the way up until Halloween. Just make sure they have enough time to pass the BOO along themselves too!

What if they’ve already been BOO’ed?
It’s happened to every BOO’er one time or another. You have your BOO bags ready to go and just as you’re approaching a doorstep, you notice that this house has already had a BOO delivery of some kind. Makes you want to say boo, doesn’t it? Before you leave, make sure that you warn your kiddos that this may happen – especially younger ones who may have their hearts set on BOO’ing a particular friend. Always have a back-up list ready to go. For instance, if Kate’s house has already been BOO’ed, we’ll take this one to Megan’s house instead. If you’re BOO’ing late in the month, this is more of a possibility, so be sure to have that Plan B (for boo) ready. And really, even if they’ve been BOO’ed, there’s no harm in leaving them another bag, especially if it will put a smile on the face of your own little BOO delivery kid.

Share your BOO’ing traditions with us in the comments section below! We want to hear your family’s take on this fun Halloween tradition!

– Katie Kavulla

Photos via Flickr users Bunches and Bits