Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do you Boo?

Do you Boo?  Our little neighborhood has really grown over the 10 years that we have lived here. Somebody told me there are 14 kindergartners in the neighborhood this year!  It is a very self-contained sub- we don't merge into anything;  you are either in or your out of the neighborhood.  Did you catch that?  Another Project Runway reference!  Anyway, beginning the first year we lived here, somebody started the tradition of a neighborhood Boo.  Being self-contained and small meant it would quickly traveled through the entire neighborhood.  

I love the green metallic shred, it
looks like a witches brew
If you have no idea what I am talking about, a Boo is the Halloween equivalent of Secret Santa.  Somebody starts the chain by sneaking up in the dark and leaving a little Halloween gift on someone's doorstep.  The trick is to get away without being seen so this is the only, the ONLY,  time that "ding dong ditching" is parent approved.  Honestly, it's pretty fun to see if you can get away without being seen.  Keep in mind that half the fun is watching the recipient open the door, flip on the porch light, look out confused, and finally look down.  So…let's get this straight…. one can't be seen but one has to see (the door)?  Exactly.  Boo'ing involves a lot of running, some tripping (it's dark)  and lots and lots of very whispered (and winded) giggling.  Usually we Boo two different families.  This year I am only doing one because it is a big family and I bought enough for each kid to have the same things.  I figure I can always boo another family later on if the Boo is dying out before all the neighborhood kids get something. 

See the entire bag of M&M's
Boo'ing has become as popular as Bunco.  I've seen Boo "Kits" at Target the last few years but I still like to do it old school.  Start from scratch.  Each year I change up what I give and what I use for a container.  This year I decided to use an old Cauldron I had from last year.  Since I am starting it, I decided who I was going to hit before I even went shopping.  I chose a family with 5 kids ranging in age from 6 months to 10 years, and I bought enough for all.  I gave them 1 big bag of M&Ms rather than individual bags and included enough Skittle Eggs for all 5 even though I know the baby won't eat them….it just seemed fair and maybe mom will get a few.  I also included supplies to make up to 24 foam masks, 16 pencils, some stickers, a bunch of plastic rings and 15 glow stick bracelets to wear on Halloween night. 

What other types of treats have I include in my Boo swag in the past?  It depends on my mood, what's available, what's on sale, and what I got found on clearance last year.  Gross! No, I don't buy CANDY a year early, but I have saved some cute stuffed animals I snagged on clearance at 75% off.  If I have an idea who we might Boo I try to get items that are both age and sex appropriate.  No family of boys is going to want a pink ballerina costume bear! I speak from experience.  Last year,one of my baskets had a stuffed animal and some candy necklaces.  I told my then 11-year-old to give it "to anybody with a little girls" so she, being the attentive tween that she is, ran right to a house with 2 boys, 0 girls.  Seriously?!?  Her defense..."I didn't hear you".  Riiiiiight! 

Regardless of what the swag item is I, like most Boo'ers, like my gift to look very festive.  That means sticking to items that are Halloween themed or black and orange.  Obviously, candy is always a big part of the swag.  I like to give chocolate cuz, well, I love it and I get to eat the extra.  Items that do not come in milk and dark have included stickers, pencils, bracelets, necklaces, and rings, glow-stick anythings, small books, coloring books and crayons, small project kits, socks, bouncy balls, bubbles, erasers, and balloons.  I think in today's world It is prudent to try, try, to sure there are no food allergies or skip candy with nuts.  My neighbor's little boy has a peanut allergy and 2 or 3 years ago he was given a basket full of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Snicker Bars.  His mom snagged the candy before he saw it, but it was a huge portion of the gift. Without the candy there wasn't much left for him and he was too young to understand. I know that it absolutely was an honest mistake by a neighbor who just didn't know him, but it still broke my heart. 

Basket/bag/cauldron-check, candy-Check, fun filler swag-check….but we aren't done.  Besides the swag, no Boo would be complete without an instructive poem so the boo'ee understands why there is a cauldron full of candy and pencils on her porch at 9:00 p.m. and so she understands her rights and responsibilities as a Boo'ee (she has to pass it on!).  Finally there must be some sort of sign that gets the point across that this house has already been Boo'd" and is out of play.  The Boo'ee must photocopy the sign before hanging it on her door. 

If you don't feel poetic enough to jot down a little Boo-rules poem do not fret.  There are plenty of samples on the internet.  In fact there is actually a website called Been Booed which includes colored or black and white sign options, poems and even a little history of the Boo.  There are lots of other sources for poems and signs including this Hub Page or
at Squidoo.  If you don't see something you like just Google "boo poem" for lots of other options.

As my neighborhood has grown over the last decade, it gets harder to Boo everyone.  It seems to get stuck and travels in odd patterns, skipping huge chunks of real estate, never quite making it to everyone. A few years ago, we had two completely separate Boo's going and they never met.  How do I know?  There were 2 completely different "I've been Boo'd" signs going up and we never got Boo'd at all.  In fact, my 6-year-old hasn't been Boo'd since he was too young to remember so I am determined to make sure the Boo hits us.  How?  By starting it myself.  If we don't get it back in a day or two, I will lay on the pressure.  Mafia style.  

How do you Boo?  Leave me a comment telling me about your neighborhood Boo or what you like to include.  If your neighborhood doesn't Boo, start one yourself and drop me an email or comment to let me know how it goes.   



  1. Thanks for the treat!!! We loved it. We appreciate your kindness!

  2. What a fun way to play!!! I have never heard of Boo'ing before and living in the country makes it a bit hard but still doable. Thanks for sharing, your post made me smile!

  3. I've never heard of this before. It sounds intriguing.

  4. my neighborhood is all grown up but I think this year I will start a Boo. I know the grown ups will be very surprised. How fun.

  5. We were just Booed but being that it is Halloween Eve do we continue to Boo or does it end with us tonight?


I love reading your comments...