Family, Halloween, holidays, Kids, Opinion, parenting, School, Uncategorized, writing

How old is too old to go trick-or-treating?


It is an age-old question about, well age. I was asked by a few folks, what age is too old to go trick-or-treating? I figured that the question was posed as I am now a parent to two high school students.

I think it can be agreed that kids in middle school and below are clearly in the candy-collecting range. And adults with very young children circumvent the issue by trick-or-treating “on behalf of” their infant. I’m sure their two-month-old will enjoy that stick of Laffy Taffy. And yes, we do get a few of those in our neighborhood. Perhaps we should discuss the matter of how young is too young to be taken out trick-or-treating, but that is a different post for a different time. So that leaves that awkward, in-between age consisting mostly of high schoolers and entry college students.  How old is too old to go trick-or-treating?

I’ve heard a myriad of opinions on the matter, running the gamut from “high school kids have no business trick-or-treating, bah humbug!” to “we give candy to everyone who comes to our porch.” Perhaps the clearest guide for whether a child is too old came from my daughter’s Venturing Crew advisor: once the child is taller than either of their parents, he/she is too old for trick-or-treating.  I would almost agree with this measure, however, it disfavors kids with naturally petite parents.  I would have had to stop going out with friends in sixth grade, as I outgrew my Filipina mama who stands at barely five feet with shoes. And my younger boy, who has always been a taller kid, matched my height at the end of fourth grade. Seems a little too young to end the fun, don’t you think?

My personal take on the matter is this: A kid, or shall we say student, is welcome on my porch regardless of age or size, if they are going out to have fun with friends in goodwill, not to cause vandalism or other potentially harmful mischief, and are good-mannered as many of the high school age kids who visit our neighborhood tend to be. I do prefer that they take the time to dress up, even if it’s just a mask or a cape added to their street clothes. Come on kids, it’s Halloween after all. Show at least a tiny bit of effort. But I would rather teens be out safely having fun, being kids, than doing things they shouldn’t be doing. And I love seeing the creativity some of the high school kids put into their costumes.  Ernest Hemingway and the Refrigerator from a few years back are still probably my favorites.

I’d be interested to hear your take on the matter.  Feel free to leave your thoughts on the comments below. And Happy Halloween!

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