youve been booed with girl wearing boo mask

Halloween is nearly here, and ghastly ghosts and ghouls lurk in the shadows, waiting for just the right time to leap out and make their frightful presence felt.

While the trick-or-treaters may not start gobblin’ up their candy until All Hallows’ Eve, the booing starts now. No, we’re not referring to making your crush your boyfriend or girlfriend (or “boo,” as the kids call it) — we’re referring to the relatively recent Halloween tradition of booing your friends, neighbors, loved ones, and even strangers.

So, what is booing, and how do you go about pulling off an effective boo? Read on for your one-stop guide to booing someone around Halloween along with some extra special booing advice from a certified booing expert.

What is ‘booing’ on Halloween?

Unlike the booing traditionally heard in sports stadiums, this type of booing is a wholesome, positive trend meant to spread joy and the holiday spirit. Simply put, it involves blessing your booing target with treatsthemed gifts, and a “directive” to continue spreading the boo.

The tradition dates back to the 1980s and has gone by many names throughout the years, including “ghosting” and “hobgoblining.”

Now, it is commonly known as booing, and its popularity is booming.

How to ‘boo’ someone

Booing someone during Halloween is a fun and engaging activity. Booing begins with a selfless gesture and spreads (if done properly) like a delightful plague. The most common booing method is to fill a bag (or bucket) with delicious treats and goodies — along with a “you’ve been booed” note — that is then sneakily dropped off at a friend or neighbor’s doorstep.

youve been booed with boo bags

To spark this flame of fun, however, you must make sure to execute your boo correctly — that is, the booing needs to continue on. No matter what you decide to put in the bag — homemade treats, store-bought sweets, thoughtful messages, etc. — it is crucial to include a special note that encourages the recipient to pass the booing on to at least two other friends.

While a properly executed boo usually contains certain elements, there’s more than one way to skin a (black) cat, as Kendra Montante points out. And she should know. Montante is affectionately known as “The Boo Lady,” a moniker she received after writing the book Booing: A Halloween Tradition, which shows how small acts of kindness can build up a community.

“Booing is regional. In my area [the suburbs of Detroit], we tend to pack two bags of treats, sneak out at night, and take them to the neighbors’ or friends’ houses, put them on the porch, ring the doorbell, and run and hide. That’s being booed!” she said. “Still, it happens so much and it’s so widespread that it takes on different forms all throughout the country.”

Some people might fill entire driveways with candies and treats, she said. Others take a more 21-plus approach and opt for boo-zing their friends, where you leave beer, wine, or liquor as a surprise.

Want to know how to boo? Here are three easy steps to bringing Halloween joy to your neighborhood.

youve been booed with kids making boo bags

Prepare the packages

To start, you will need to put together the packages you’ll be dropping off. This is the first step in the process of booing at Halloween. You can use candy, but feel free to get creative. Consider adding Halloween-themed crafts, toys, family games, and other goodies to the loot.

Once you’ve stuffed those surprise sacks full of fun and delicious treats, attach a note to the bag that says “You’ve Been Booed!” (Just don’t include who it’s from!) This will tell your boo beneficiaries that they should continue the tradition and pass the boo along to someone else.

Deliver the Halloween boo goods

Now, it’s time to channel your inner ghoul. When you’re being booed or booing someone else, the delivery is crucial. Float like a ghost to your neighbors’ or friends’ homes and, under the cover of darkness, deliver the goods. Quick as a cat, ring the doorbell and run  you do not want to be seen! If you want, you can stay close by (in a hidden spot, of course) to watch the recipient discover their delivery of Halloween treasure.

Spread the Halloween boo

Your responsibility as a boo-er, however, does not stop when you deliver the sweets and treats to your selected boo-ees. Being booed or booing at Halloween means you have the responsibility to keep the tradition going. While a boo will likely spread auto-magic-ally, that does not mean you should sit idly by. Take it upon yourself to share the ins and outs of booing with everyone you know. The idea is just as contagious as the act, and before you know it, the whole neighborhood will be caught up in this festive tradition.

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Beginning her writing career as a print journalist, Hanna Marcus worked as a beat reporter and general assignment reporter in newsrooms throughout Florida including The Tampa Bay Times, The Orlando Sentinel, The Naples Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun. Now a full-time freelance writer, she writes for clients such as Hot Topic, New Balance, BoxLunch, and others.

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