On a recent play date, we learned about the “We’ve Been Booed” phenomenon that encourages friends and neighbors to participate in an anonymous treat-sharing game in the spirit of Halloween (pun intended). If you have not heard of this before, the premise of the game requires some element of stealth, as you are supposed to be discreet when you drop off a goody bag for an unsuspecting family.
The bag should include a nice Halloween greeting with instructions on how the new family can keep the game going and a sign for them to place on their door that says “We’ve been booed” to avoid receiving more than one phantom delivery (the puns are endless). If you want to see a sample greeting, you will find a ton of ideas when you search “we’ve been booed” on Google.
When I told my husband about the game, we thought about starting it in our own neighborhood and had a couple of houses already picked out (I’m looking at you, Angela), but we realized with our three-year-old twins, this game would have been more of a trick than a treat. Here is what I mean:
1. Toddlers are not the best runners.
One of our twin daughters is a natural athlete and runs pretty fast for her age. She is usually excited to get to places quickly but has plenty of skinned knees to show for it. Our other twin daughter only jogs short distances and likes to take breaks to pick flowers and take in her surroundings. When either twin believes there is a race or time limit involved in the running, whoever comes in last becomes upset. For us, trying to sneak away from someone’s doorstep quickly on foot would inevitably end in scrapes, tears, and a haunting childhood memory (sorry, another irresistible pun).
2. Toddlers cannot hide well.
With the above consideration in mind, we thought about looking for a place to hide near our chosen families’ homes. We thought maybe it would be more fun to stick around and watch our friends answer the door and look around in surprise. If we were trying to remain truly anonymous, however, we could not accomplish this well with our toddlers in tow. If you have any familiarity with toddlers, you know they are incapable of staying quiet for long, have not mastered the art of a whisper, and would be easily distracted by their surroundings. In my imagined scenario, I could almost hear one of my twins yelling, “Look! That house has windows like ours!”
3. Toddlers tend to respond inappropriately to stress.
Undoubtedly, my twin toddlers would have been excited to play this game, one where they get to pick out and deliver a surprise or “something special” as we like to call treats at home. The problem with the excitement and anticipation associated with this game is that it would have triggered a sense of toddler-sized panic at the moment we were supposed to run from our targeted home.
This panic could have the same result as the scenario previously mentioned in my first point, but it also could have sparked a temper tantrum about a number of things, like how they wanted to be the one to ring the doorbell or the one to drop off the basket, about how they did not want to hold hands or be the last one down the stairs or any number of completely irrational responses. If we had planned our covert delivery after dinnertime, a tantrum was almost guaranteed.
4. Toddlers may learn the wrong lesson.
Perhaps the scariest (and sometimes amusing) thing about teaching toddlers anything is their unpredictable responses to the lesson. You can never be sure about what your toddlers will draw from their experiences until you witness their interpretations at a later date. Although we would have used this Halloween-themed game to encourage a positive association with community engagement and gift-giving, our daughters may have gotten a different message. They would probably request a treat of their own for doing a good deed. (My bad for practicing positive reinforcement?) There was also a remote chance that my daughters would conclude it is okay to ring someone’s doorbell and disappear. Epic fail.
For the above reasons, we will not be starting this Halloween-themed game in our neighborhood this year. Perhaps in a couple of years, my daughters will have matured enough to complete the mission effectively. In the meantime, consider this post our contribution to the game.
Have a safe Halloween, everyone! Happy, healthy twinning!
♥ ♥ ♥
Speaking of Halloween, I will be trick-or-treating with Belle and Cinderella this year. We even ordered matching custom-made hair bows from Lily’s Pad Bowtique. How will your multiples be dressed for Halloween? Do you go with a family theme?