DEAR ABBY: Last Halloween, I took my daughters, ages 12 and 6, and a co-worker's 4-year-old son trick-or- treating. My 12-year-old is becoming a young woman and appears older. When we came to one house, the homeowner promptly gave the smaller children candy and had a conversation with them, but completely ignored my older daughter. She was very hurt, and it cast a pall on the evening. I was stunned.
I'm the kind of person who doesn't care how old you are - if you're dressed up for Halloween, you can come knocking and you'll get a treat. I'd rather give someone candy than have him or her feel the way my daughter did.
How should I have handled this? Is there an age limit for trick-or- treaters?
- Festive mom in Kansas
DEAR FESTIVE MOM: If you refrained from challenging the homeowner, you handled it correctly. Halloween is a holiday to celebrate the inner child. As my dear mother once said to me, there were times when the doorbell would ring and she wasn't sure whether to offer the trick-or-treater candy or a martini. And I think that's where I'd draw the line.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 10 and I have a sister who copies everything I do.
My sister tags along with whatever I do. I sell dog treats; she sells dog treats. My mom thinks it's cute and says I should be flattered. All I want is to be unique, but it's hard with my sister who steals the show. Please help!
- Frustrated in Oregon
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Talk to your mother again about this. While I agree that your sister's desire to do what you do is cute, it can also create a cutthroat competition between siblings. Your mother could avoid this if she would encourage your sister to develop interests or talents of her own and help you become involved in after-school activities that do not include your sister.