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‘My son was excluded from a Halloween party and then they trick-or-treated my house’

Most people have experienced that gut-wrenching feeling of being left out, excluded, and not part of the gang. It’s more than a bout of FOMO (fear of missing out), and much more about being cruelly ostracised.

This was the experience of a 12-year-old, who was not invited to a Halloween party, and his devastated mum has taken to Mumsnet forums seeking reassurance. She admits her son is pretty laid back about what’s gone on, but she is not.

“My son was really excited to go trick or treating,” the mum says. “One of his friend’s mums started a group chat with the mums of several kids who live locally, trying to drum up enthusiasm for a local group to head out.”

Delighted to be part of the event, she responded straight away and even volunteered her husband’s help. But that, to her surprise, was the last communication.

“Eventually my (close) friend (who is also a school mum) responded with a strange cagey non-response. I ended up calling her and she ummed and ahhhed a while before admitting there was a party, that her son and all of the other kids nearby were invited to, with the exception of my son and his friend (whose Mum had started the group chat).”

Her son’s friend was “too devastated” to go out trick or treating with her son, because he feared awkward encounters with the group of boys. The same boys later, adding salt to the wound, turned up trick or treating at her house.

“What the actual hell? What kind of parent excludes two out of ten kids?! How dare they treat my son like that and then come to take our sweets?!!” she fumes.

While she admits to feeling more hurt and upset than her son, she feels like she is straight back in the playground again: “It feels like b****y girls excluding again, like high school.

“” feel embarrassed by my enthusiasm to be met by silence of the ‘chosen ones’. All of the secrecy and weirdness makes me think they knew it would be hurtful and I just feel sick to go out in my neighbourhood now.”

She wants to know if she is overreacting and many parents on Mumset sympathise.

One commenter said: “Not an overreaction at all. What horrible people! Why do some feel the need to behave like this?? Don’t be afraid to go out. They’re the ones who should be ashamed!”

Many recognised those feelings of being excluded: “I would feel exactly the same as you. As though everyone was secretly laughing up their sleeve at me and the actual cheek of coming to your house?!”

Others commented on her son’s mature response: “I definitely wouldn’t you’re your dear son how bothered you are. He sounds resilient and that is great.”

“Your son has had a hard experience, but there is nothing you can do to force people to invite him. The parents are often the problem,” another wrote.