You’ve Been Ghosted!: Start a Fun Pre-Halloween Tradition in Your Neighborhood


Halloween Tradition Ghosted Ghosting Providence Moms BlogI’m a mom of teens, but there’s a Halloween tradition that we have preserved in our family regardless of my kids’ ages. I’m not talking about trick or treating, costume parties, or bobbing for apples, although those are things we end up doing every year with dear friends. I’m talking about Ghosting!

Have you ever been Ghosted?
I’m not talking about watching Scream and having your teen scare the Beetlejuice out of you when she sneaks up behind you. My definition of “being ghosted”: (v) When someone rings your doorbell anonymously (think G-rated “ding-dong-ditch”) several days before Halloween and leaves goodies and a poem at your door.

A paper ghost on a front door means they’ve been Ghosted!

We started this Halloween-time tradition 14 years ago when we first moved to our neighborhood. My sister-in-law and her family Ghosted us one night (they surprised us so well, I nearly wet my maternity jeans) and we haven’t stopped since. We Ghosted several families that year to help kick off the tradition. It’s something my kids look forward to every October. We make a night of it, running around with flashlights, goodie bags, ringing doorbells and hiding. We hide behind our neighbors’ bushes and there’s always tons of screams and silent giggles.

If you haven’t been Ghosted yet, plan to Ghost someone this October. It’s easy, inexpensive, and fun for the whole family. But you HAVE to do it before Halloween!

How to start a Ghosting tradition in your neighborhood:
1. Make two copies of this “Ghostly” poem:


You’ve Been Ghosted!
Late last night, we left you a bag of treats.
The tradition is fun, and one we hope you’ll repeat.
Please take the ghost and pin it on your door, to let others know you’ll be ghosted no more.
Now it’s your duty to pass on the surprise, to at least two more families, we kindly advise.
So gather some treats and deliver them soon, within two nights, under the light of the moon.
Include a ghost with each package you give, along with this poem so the tradition can live.

2. Gather some fun treats – from spider rings and stickers to crayons and candy. The Dollar Store, Target, and local drugstores have inexpensive trinkets to help create fun, unique goodie bags. (It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a fun surprise, but I have been guilty of going a little overboard at customizing treats for specific families!)
3. Fill two ghostly goodie bags with treats and copies of the poem and ghost picture and hide them in a safe place.
4. Choose at least two friends/neighbors to “Ghost” that do NOT have a ghost taped to their door. (Important: If they have a ghost taped to their door, it means they have already been Ghosted!)
5. Wait until it’s dark outside and walk through your neighborhood. Be careful of cars and USE A FLASHLIGHT, please. Leave the goodie bag on your neighbor’s doorstep. (Double check that the poem and ghost picture are safely tucked inside.)
6. THEN…RING THE DOORBELL AND HIDE! Make a run for it so no one sees you.
7. Ghost the next neighbor of your choice and watch the fun Halloween-time tradition unfold!

To Giggly Ghosting and a safe and Happy Halloween! xo

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Jackie Hennessey is a Rhode Island mom who honestly gets what other mothers go through. Having worked full-time, part-time, and been a stay-at-home mom too, she sees motherhood from a variety of angles. And thankfully, with a sense of humor. Jackie blogs about her take on motherhood and mid-life at and writes about it in her award-winning gift book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker. Jackie is a native Texan with some roots and relatives in Rhode Island. (She's a NASA kid and her Houston accent usually comes out when she's blasting Willie Nelson in the car.) She has more than two decades of experience in public relations and journalism and holds a BA in journalism from Texas A&M University, where she received the “Best Aggie-Life writer” award. (She still has the tacky maroon plaque in her home office to prove it.) Jackie was a cast member of the 2013 and 2017 Listen to Your Mother Shows, where she formed lasting bonds with the incredible women she shared the stage with in honor of Mother’s Day. Her writing has been featured in The Barrington Times, the book Mommy Diarist and blogs like Scary Mommy and BluntMoms. She has donated her PR expertise to many local non-profits from Arts Alive to Dress for Success since launching her professional pr consultancy in 2006. When she’s not writing, consulting, volunteering, ubering her kids around, vacuuming up dog hair or folding laundry while binge-watching Netflix, she likes to vent with dear friends over cheese dip. Jackie is married to her high school sweetheart and they live in Barrington, Rhode Island with their two teens and three fluffy and friendly Golden Retrievers.