Let your kids go trick-or-treating. It’s good for them.

I worry that trunk-or-treating is setting our kids up for unrealistic expectations on life, and that it takes away opportunities to learn and practice good life skills. Trunk-or-treating makes candy-getting physically and emotionally easier. Kids don’t have to get cold feet or experience any negative emotions. And they don’t get the chance to read social cues, attempt patience, regulate emotions, or remember manners. It’s a perfect case of what another psychologist, Wendy Mogel, in warned us against in her book “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.” She worried that we were afflicting our children with ingratitude and entitlement. She argued that with if we made things too easy, our children would become less resourceful and likely less appreciative.

Years ago, Halloween helped in at least some small way to build resilience and grit; it socialized us. We had to put on our huge smiles as we approached a house; we had to perform gratitude when we received a treat (extra gratitude if we got two treats instead of one.) We learned that a porch light meant a homeowner was handing out candy, and a dim porch meant to pass by politely.

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