Why You Should Never Give Trick-Or-Treaters Homemade Treats

When Halloween rolls around, neighborhoods are gearing up for trick-or-treating. Most of the time, everything goes well as kids in costumes show up at your house, you dump some candy in their bags, and the process repeats. It is, for all purposes, a well-established and long-practiced tradition. And just like any tradition, there are certain guidelines to follow to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. While these "rules" aren't exactly written in stone and overseen by some all-knowing Halloween council, it's mostly just common sense and courtesy by both kids and adults alike.

The Maralee McKee School of Etiquette, for example, has a comprehensive list of tips for adults and children on how to go about the trick-or-treating process. These include sticking to your local neighborhood, keeping a clean and welcoming house should you choose to have trick-or-treaters, and instructing kids on how to thank adults for candy. CNN also offers suggestions for those handing out candy, such as keeping a bowl of allergy-friendly treats available for those who may not be able to eat the fan-favorite Reese's and keeping the candy selection to fun-size options instead of offering king-sized bars.

But where does Halloween etiquette stand on homemade treats? Are homemade Rice Krispies Treats or brownies decorated for the holiday acceptable to drop in a child's plastic pumpkin?

Skip the homemade stuff and keep it traditional

While you may have good intentions in giving out your own baked goods instead of the usual fun-sized Twix bars, it's recommended that you keep your homemade brownies and cookies to yourself. According to The Kitchn, handing out your own treats instead of the usual bagged candy is cautioned against — not because you're a bad cook — but because of a rule about unwrapped candies. As Patch explains, unwrapped or homemade goods from a complete stranger may carry a risk of tampering or hidden ingredients.

Although some might consider the fear of neighbors sabotaging homemade treats a product of social media conspiracy theories, there's evidence that this fear stems back decades. In 1970, the New York Times published an article detailing the dangers of homemade treats, describing reports of "trick-or-treat apples" laced with sewing needles or razor blades. Psychiatrists at the time believed that such behavior was influenced by seeing "criminals and campus riots," warning parents to stick to their own neighborhoods just to be safe.

Of course, making baked goods for a friend's Halloween party is always seen as a welcome and delicious way to contribute, perhaps still be mindful of using allergy-friendly ingredients.