How do you spell the name of those adorable (menacing) little children (vagrants) who knock on your door asking for (demanding) candy on Halloween night? Is it “trick-or-treaters” or “trick or treaters”? Hyphens or no hyphens?
The answer is: hyphens. The correct way to spell it is “trick-or-treater.”
But what about “trick or treat,” you say? Hyphens or no hyphens there? This one is a bit more complicated.
Let’s look at the two ways you can use “trick or treat,” as a verb and as a noun.
Verb: Sally dressed up as an amoeba to trick-or-treat.
Noun: As Sally dragged her candy sack home, she thought the trick or treat was successful.
When I wrote “trick-or-treat” as a verb, I used hyphens. Hyphens are always the answer when you use it as a verb. But when written as a noun, “trick or treat” can go either way, says our friends at Merriam-Webster:
Now go forth and eat candy, friends! A happy trick or treat to all!
Erin Servais is a book editor who specializes in young adult literature. She also has a sweet tooth. To learn more about how she can help you with your writing project, visit her website.