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Celebrating Halloween Traditions: Boo

By Melissa Summers

A couple of years ago I picked up my friend’s daughter for preschool and noticed a ghost picture in her door. I asked, “What’s that for?” She said, knowing how much I hated my own neighborhood and how much I wanted to live in hers, “I’m afraid to tell you, I think it’ll upset you.”

So I knew it was some sort of ‘Fun Neighborhood’ tradition but, at that point three years away from achieving my goal of living in a family oriented neighborhood, I didn’t want to know about it.

Then Monday night, now that we’ve been in our wonderful new neighborhood for two months, I came home to find two packages on my porch. Enclosed were some treats for the kids, a printed picture of a ghost and a little poem explaining we’d been ‘Boo’d’.

When you’re ‘Boo’d’ you hang your ghost picture in your window to let everyone know you’ve already been treated. In order to keep the game going, you choose two neighbors to send a couple treats to with a copy of the poem and their own ghost image to hang in their window.

Have I mentioned I love it here? Because I do. I also love this tradition so much I wanted to share it with you.
Over at Skip To My Lou, she’s got her own version of the Halloween ‘Boo’ and doesn’t limit the fun to her neighborhood. She offers up a poem you can download for yourself and also created a paper cone to fill with treats. Each participant simply refills the cone with treats and delivers it (secretly!) to the next person. Great idea if you live in a neighborhood where people are lame but you still want to do something fun for Halloween.

Here’s another page describing how to start a Boo/Ghosting in your neighborhood. Complete with download-able images and poems to use. Here are the instructions we received:

You’ve Been Boo’d
Now it’s your turn to “Boo” two other people in the neighborhood.
You should “Boo” these people within 2 days of receiving your treat.
Hang the ghost on your front door so that everyone can see that you have been “Boo’d” and will not Boo you again. This will also let you know who you can Boo.
Fill 2 bags with candy and treats. Copy this letter and the ghost twice. Include treats, letter, and ghost in your bag of goodies for the neighbors that you choose.
After dark, and only with an adult, “Boo” 2 of your neighbors.
Do not let the person that you are “Boo’ing” see you, for it adds to the fun of it all.
Place the treat bag on the doorstep, ring the doorbell and run!
It will be fun to see how many ghosts will appear in our neighborhood by Halloween.
Please keep it safe and enjoy!

We did our Boo the other night, being lucky enough to have almost all the neighborhood to choose from since it’s still early in the month. We’re also lucky enough to like almost every one of our neighbors enough to gladly send them a treat. All except that one lady….every neighborhood has to have at least one.

Halloween Boo

The kids and I grabbed some candy, a toy for each of our recipients along with some stickers. I also used this opportunity to raid the Martha craft supplies at Michaels. God Help Me, I love that stuff.
Halloween Boo

I bought non-Martha candy boxes because they’re less than a dollar a piece but I used the Martha Halloween transfers on the boxes. Note: I’d use stickers to customize my bags and boxes in the future, the transfers were a bit of a pain for something so simple.

Halloween Boo
Halloween Boo

I also used the transfers to customize plain orange gift bags (40 Cents!).

Halloween Boo

I think this is a great tradition and, mark my words, something Martha will have a “Halloween Boo” craft set for next year at this time.

Explore Halloween costumes, crafts, decorations and treats from our archives here.

Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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  • Julie

    We got Boo’d this week. It has been fun collecting goodies to go in our Boo’s that will be delivered tonight, under the cover of dark, with lots of running and hiding involved. I’ve even made a few little ones and altered the poem to start a Boo-fest at work. Not sure how that will go over, but noone will know it was me anyway!

  • What darling treats! I loved your idea to use the transfers to dress up the plain sacks and boxes! Too cute! I think I will have to make my way back to Michael’s to buy yet another item from the Martha line -YIKES!
    Thanks for giving me a mention!

  • kelli

    I just went to Michael’s and they some of the Martha stuff (even Halloween) is on clearance (some up to 50% off!). And you can now use the 40% off coupon in the sale flyer on her stuff, too! (Yeah, I spent $40, but I now have a cool cat cutout, Halloween stickers & cards to send to relatives, and boxes for treats for teachers at Christmas, and cool wrapping paper + tissue!)

  • Julie, I had the same idea when I read this – I think I’m starting a Boo-fest in my office tomorrow! I think the group I work with will really get into it.
    Thanks for sharing, Melissa!

  • Target sells “Boo” kits– includes everything this year, last year it was everything but the candy. Although, your Martha version is WAY better! Such a fun tradition. I’m glad you have such a “boo-tiful” neighborhood!

  • Mizz Drizz

    I just got Boo’d tonite as well. We just moved into a dream neighborhood like yours, after coming from one akin to the depths of hell… My first thought was that I was getting Ding Dong Ditched, but it was such a great surprise. Now, I have 2 Boos to do. Ours was filled with beer and candy but I am assuming they should be more kid friendly, for families that don’t have 2 beer drinking parents and a 10 month old that doesn’t snack on Twix bars. I was planning on stopping at Michaels tomorrow, I guess I’ll have to check out Martha’s stickers. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Kimmers

    Those of you that decided to do this for the office, can you share your alterations? I think I’d like to try this at work. My neighborhood is NOT somewhere I could do this!

  • What a cute idea!
    I’m a little afraid I might get shot in my neighborhood, how sad is that! But I might try it at work. How should we have them indicate they’ve been boo’d already though? Maybe hang a ghost on their mailbox? or on their monitor? I’ll have to think about it.

  • Gudrun

    thanks for the comprehensive Boo information. I have to wait each year to get Boo’d, because I am not clever enough to keep last year’s information. I love this tradition, and it only started happening after we had kids 🙂
    I took it to work last year and tweaked my poem a little bit, and in the poem suggested hanging the sign on your cube to avoid being re-Boo’d. The people who participated thought it was fun, but unfortunately it did not reach as far as I had hoped. I think it is a great idea!

  • Just wanted to let you know that I have a new version of “BOOING” this year.
    I hope you will check it out!