Are there guidelines for Halloween decorations? Our kids are old enough not to trick-or-treat anymore, so they want to decorate the house, but I’m not certain what’s appropriate. They think vampires and scary skeletons are perfect and want to blast awful music into our yard; I’m not so sure and am thinking carved pumpkins and maybe a scarecrow might be better. What do you think?

The best thing to do is to keep in mind that some decorations genuinely frighten younger children, and Halloween really is for them. Try to avoid severed limbs, fake blood and gore, loose eyeballs, and scary masks of any sort. Halloween should be fun, not filled with nightmare-making creations.

Does a man or a woman go through a revolving door first?

When revolving doors were first invented, the etiquette guideline that was designed to accommodate this new technology was that if the door was not moving, a man went first to get it started, since it would be difficult for a woman to exert the kind of force needed, and if it was already revolving, the woman went first since she wouldn’t have to push. Eventually, it was discovered that women were perfectly capable of pushing a revolving door, so now the etiquette is that whoever gets to the door first goes first.

Can I have both a maid and a matron of honor for my wedding? And if I can, what’s the difference?

You may have both. A maid of honor is so designated because she is not nor has she been married. A matron of honor is called by this name because she is or has been married. Generally, the main duties are carried out by the maid of honor, although the maid and matron certainly may share any responsibilities. While the terms may seem antiquated in 2015, they have continued, with the main advantage being for the bride, who can have two special people in these honor roles instead of having to choose one.

We are expecting a baby in a few months and are thinking about naming him after my husband. Would he be a “Jr.” or a “II?”

When a child is named after his father and there are no previous generations of family members with the same name, he is a “Jr.”  If the father is already a “Jr.” named after his own father, then the baby is a “III” or “3rd”, since he would be the third in line with the same name. When a baby is named after his grandfather, and the baby’s father does not have the same name, then the baby is a “II” or “2nd”.

 

I have trouble with my teeth. Is it wrong to use a knife and fork for what other people eat as finger food?

No, it’s not wrong, and you don’t have to explain. If questioned, simply say you prefer to eat with a fork.

 

Questions for Catherine? Send them to [email protected]