How to Act Like a Grinch for Halloween

Feeling irritable, malevolent or just plain grouchy this year? Does Halloween give you the same feeling as a cat coughing up a furball, all pain and no pleasure? Sure, there are those folk who think dressing up, saying boo to one another and demanding the goodhearted neighbors give them sugary treats is a fine way to celebrate Halloween.

But for the grouch, the whole scene is so yesterday and mired in commercial grunginess. Being the grinch of Halloween on your street lets you ruin the fun for everyone. As your romp through others' Halloween joy, give them cause to think thrice before targeting the grinch of Halloween!


  1. Image titled Act Like a Grinch for Halloween Step 1
    Stick the decorations where they belong. Absolutely nowhere. Don't go to the store and don't buy anything. Every good Grinch knows that planetary resources are finite and that misuse for frivolity is wasteful and wanton – Halloween decorations are some of the most pointless gimmicks humankind has ever invented. More importantly, every grinch knows a penny left in one's own coffers is a penny the stores won't ever see. You can award yourself with a badge of parsimony and open an account called "My Halloween Savings" and spend Halloween checking your bank statement online.
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    If you feel you must make a decorative statement, find the smallest pumpkin the local market has. Select the tiniest one there and offer to take it off their hands for nothing; after all, what good will ever come to them from such a minute pumpkin? Then stick it out on your porch or mailbox. Do nothing else. No carving, no candle, no mention of why the puny pumpkin is there at all. It just is and it cost you nothing.
    • Fill the front yard with "NO TRESPASSERS" or "GUARD DOG TRAINED TO BITE ON SIGHT" signs. That's a decoration straight from the heart of a grinch.
  3. Image titled Act Like a Grinch for Halloween Step 3
    Remove the lightbulbs from the front porch. On Halloween night, keep all front room lights off. Make like you're not at home apart from ensuring that very festive sounds are emitting from the back of your house. Leave a sign posted to the front saying: "No entry, lighting busted, danger, keep out, all treats went moldy."
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    If, despite all your best efforts, the intrepid little trick and treaters make their way up your path, driveway or whatever excuse for a front yard you have, make merry with them. You've a number of ways of playing havoc with their naive eagerness:
    • When they knock at your door, don't open it. You could leave a sign on it saying "Out of order – use the servant's entrance three houses down".
    • Open the door just a crack and shout out "Who's there?" Demand to see their ID or you won't open the door any further.
    • Act offended that they've entered your property. Tell them they're wasting your time and that time is money.
    • When the kids knock at your door, and they say TRICK OR TREAT!, just yawn ever so casually, select the most obvious costume and ask, "And just what are you supposed to be?" Or mock their costumes. If dressed as superman/woman, say, "Oh, let me guess, batman/woman?" If dressed as a ghost with a pillowcase over their heads, say, "Let me guess. Weirdo in a rag? No?"
    • Pick the smallest kid and yell "Boo!" A good grinch is aware that this is character-building treatment; after all, it is Halloween and a good grinch scare is a story a kid can feed off for years to come.
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    If teenagers (each one likely to demand more candy than the entire night's worth of kids) come trick or treating at your door, turn all the lights off, turn the TV down and pretend to snore and grunt loudly, as if asleep. If they persist and start toilet papering your house, have alarms rigged to go off, all loud and flashing with lights to scare the living daylights out of them. A few strategically placed firecrackers will improve the atmosphere no end to see them off your property promptly.
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    Begrudgingly get into the spirit of Halloween by giving out treats. Of course, they're grinch treats and so they should involve the attachment of a vegetable to a toothbrush. Handy notes can be included such as "sugar destroys brain cells", "candy rots your tooth enamel", "your second set of teeth is irreplaceable" and "there is a 100 percent probability that someone you trust will steal your candy stash tonight".
    • Another great grinch treat involves making illusory candy. Make this using empty candy wrappers. Simply blow in one end, while holding the other end firmly shut, and a little bubble of air will appear in the middle of the wrapper, making it look like there is a sweet inside! Give away with great delight.
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    Shut your house up and go out for the evening. Avoid the entire event and leave your neighbors to suffer the headache of an annual candy grabbing feast that fails to teach children anything about delayed gratification, dental hygiene or respect for their elders. A real grinch lets others discover for themselves the salutary lessons of indulging children.


  • A grinch could also make a point by giving out candy nobody wants. Choose the candy from a foreign country with weird flavors nobody has ever had before. Or candy as hard as a rock. Or candy made from cod liver oil.


  • Having the evidence of your Grinchiness in writing makes it harder to deny. Expect disgruntled kids to squeal to their parents: "Mommy, mommy, Mr. (Soandso) gave me a piece of paper saying, 'Halloween stinks!' instead of candy!"
  • If you're mean to little kids when their parents are there, you'll get an earful. Then again, you're probably the type to give as good as you get.
  • Don't pretend to be mean to people on Halloween if you are Acting like The Grinch. They will end up telling on you and will make you Leave.

Things You'll Need

  • A history of being grouchy (especially around Halloween)
  • A small pumpkin with no candle or carving (to place outside)

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