Auburn Family

Jack-o-lanterns stare out from front porches, and a mischievous breeze blows fallen leaves through the streets. Halloween has once again arrived on the Plains.

As a college student, Halloween still gets my holiday juices flowing. I love the costumes, the pumpkins, the haunted houses and the parties. One tradition I miss fondly, though, is trick or treating. 

 Trick or treating once was the epitome of everything good in this world. One night a year, my friends and I could dress up however we wanted and stay out late asking strangers for free candy. Halloween was the only time of the year we were happily granted such a silly request.

While I have long since outgrown my trick or treating years, the memories and the lessons I learned from them still stick with me. I may not be filling a bucket with candy tonight, but I will be contemplating what the years of doing so taught me.

Without further adieu, welcome to Trick or Treating 101.

1. Manners go a long way.

Strangers are not obliged to give you goodies at 9 o'clock at night just because you're dressed like a fairy. Saying "please" and "thank you" are effortless ways to let someone know you appreciate them and especially their Reese's peanut butter cups.

This point can and should be easily applied to other aspects of life. Taking the extra step to be kind not only makes you look good but also makes you feel good, too.

2. Creativity counts.

Not everyone has the skill to MacGyver a cardboard box into a convincing robot costume, but we all have some creativity coursing through our veins.

As children, we love to explore our creativity, and Halloween is the perfect time to do just that. When we reach our teenage years, however, that creative spirit is often replaced by a superior attitude that causes us to think dressing up is embarrassing.

I say, be creative! Everyone appreciates creativity, whether it's put toward an impressive Halloween costume or a solution to a daunting problem.

3. Sharing is caring, it can be fun.

Confession time: I used to hoard my Halloween candy until all that was left were Bit-O-Honeys and unidentifiable toffees.

My childish "more for me" mentality never paid off. I ultimately got sick of eating the candy or forgot where I had hidden it in my closet. After years of selfish candy stockpiling, I finally realized that sharing is in everyone's best interest.

There's always someone who wants what you have, and sometimes, you have more than you need. Sharing is a skill that, although often difficult to do, teaches us empathy and allows us to spread a little bit of happiness.

Plus, you never know. Somewhere out there is a guy who loves Bit-O-Honeys and hates KitKats just waiting to make a compromise.

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