Dear Annie

The rules of trick-or-treating

Dear Annie: It’s that time of year again when the tacky cobweb decorations are up and overpriced bags of “fun-size” candy flood every grocery aisle’s end cap. As I prepare for this Halloween, I’m wondering what your opinion is on something that’s been bugging me for years now.

My neighborhood civic league has rules regarding trick-or-treating. It’s to occur between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m., and only children 13 or younger may participate.

Of course, every year, there are a handful of teenagers, probably 15 or 16 years old, who show up on our doorstep expecting candy. I tell them sorry; they’re too old to be trick-or-treating. I didn’t make up the rules — but I do agree that trick-or-treating should be left to the little ones.

Also every year, there are the stragglers who come ringing the doorbell at 8:15, after I’ve shut off the lights and put away the candy, and I refuse to answer.

— Halloweary

Dear Halloweary: As for the 8 o’clock cutoff time, you’re entitled to shut things down promptly. It’s better to encourage an early curfew on Halloween night anyway, because it can be dangerous to have kids in the middle of the street after dark.

If they aren’t even dressed in costumes and simply show up on your doorstep looking for a handout, set them straight. But if these kids are trick-or-treating in earnest — wearing costumes they put real effort into — then loosen up and give them some candy.

Dear Annie: “Playing games” isn’t my thing. Women need to be more straightforward. Recently, I went out with a woman, “Stephanie,” who works at a restaurant that’s in the same shopping center as the retail place where I work.

We got happy-hour drinks at a bar across the street recently, and she seemed into me. We got on really well, and I was cracking her up. We ended the night with a hug. The next night, I texted her, asking whether she wanted to go out to dinner sometime. She texted back and said she would love to get dinner sometime but specified that she only wanted to be friends. Ugh. I told her thanks but that I didn’t need her pity friendship.

My question to you is: Why did she go out for drinks in the first place? Why didn’t she just turn me down from the get-go?

— Too Nice

Dear Nice: This woman is not in your debt. She simply wasn’t interested, and she did you the courtesy of letting you know that quickly, which is pretty rare these days. And you returned her kindness by spurning her friendship? Yeah, real nice.