With Halloween next Tuesday, the Hopkinton Police Department recently alerted the community to a holiday-related trend that has spooked some residents and prompted calls to the station.
“In the past weeks, we have responded to multiple 911 calls from concerned residents about people sneaking around their property,” HPD announced on its Facebook page. “On multiple calls this turned out to be getting ‘booed,’ which is a game played to pass on candy before Halloween.”
A house gets “booed” when someone anonymously leaves a Halloween-themed gift on the doorstep, sometimes ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door and then hiding. The bag, basket or plastic jack-o’-lantern typically contains candy or baked goods as a gesture of friendship. Also enclosed is a printed message with a picture of a ghost with a short poem explaining that the person has been “booed.” The recipient is expected to hang the ghost picture on the door and continue the trend. While “booing” can be done at any time of year, it typically precedes Halloween by a week or two as another means of spreading treats.
The trend’s roots can be traced back to the early 1980s, according to a news report.
While good-natured in intent, young people knocking on doors and being spotted hiding in yards late at night has raised some concerns among residents, as illustrated in the police blotter over the past couple of weeks.
“While we understand that the intentions are well-meaning, these incidents are creating fear amongst residents,” the HPD statement read. “Please refrain from sneaking around other people’s property late at night. [Y]our neighbors would greatly appreciate it.”
HPD Chief Joseph Bennett declined further comment Monday evening.