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Happy Halloween, Washington. Welcome to my favorite holiday, the one that brings together two of my chief passions: candy and clothes.

I’ve been monitoring neighborhood Listservs to see how residents are preparing for tonight’s onslaught, and I discovered that Capitol Hill is embroiled in a serious debate: Do un-costumed kids deserve candy? If so, what kind?

One resident says she and her husband have initiated a policy to deal with costumeless kids. “We are pretty strict about the no costume-no candy rule and my husband revels in skimping out on the older kids with mediocre attempts at dressing up,” one neighbor posted on her local Listserv.

Another responded that plainclothes kids should be viewed within their socio-economic context. “I can understand feeling a bit ripped off by kids and adults who come with no costumes, but I’d like to urge some compassion – for the kids anyway. Younger kids in particular may not have the means or ability to put together a costume if Mom or Dad don’t help. What’s the harm in modeling generosity or teaching compassion by wishing everyone a Happy Halloween and giving out some candy?” she wrote.

Meanwhile, one resident said he was just too scared to deny kids candy. “I concur with the no costume-no candy rule, but then reality strikes. The kids without costumes are usually the kind who will remember your house and return with some ‘tricks.’ So it is better to just pay the protection candy and let them move on. Besides, one kid was pretty funny. I asked what he was dressed as and he said ‘I’m a student in the DC Public Schools, isn’t that scary?!!!'”