How Old Is Too Old for Trick-or-Treating?


Jaden Wood

Spooky Halloween leaf

With it being spooky season once again, children of all ages went out for trick or treating on Halloween night, but how old is too old for trick-or-treating?  Trick-or-treating came about in the late 1920s, and has since been a popular tradition for Americans ever since.  It started out with kids sojourning from door to door asking for candy or other treats with the threat of doing a trick on the house owner if they did not deliver on the sugary goods.  The tradition has not been majorly altered since the early days, save for the little detail that pulling tricks on unwilling candy-givers is frowned upon. 

When mentioning trick-or-treating, most people picture little kids dressing up in elaborate costumes to go out with their parents or friends for a fun and spooky night of sugar.  For the parents of younger children, there comes the many fears of letting their children run loose for the evening:  strangers, suspicious activity, and. . . teens.  

With the help of Hollywood, teens have become painted as rowdy with an excessive lack of common sense.  Teens have gained the reputation of the scary big kids that will rob innocent children of their candy, but not all teens are the exact embodiment of the stereotypical Halloween bully.  There is no set age limit for trick-or-treating, but the majority of kids grow out of the annual tradition around middle school or even high school.

Imagine going trick or treating on Halloween night as a thirteen-year-old child, except as you go to ring the doorbell in your decked out costume, you are handed a hefty fine for dressing up and going trick-or-treating.  That was a cold reality for some teenagers in certain cities across America this year.  While the chances of actually being fined for trick-or-treating as a teenager are slim, some cities imposed new regulations to keep the rowdy teens off the streets on Halloween night.  

Some cities have even enacted specific laws against trick-or-treaters over a certain age limit.  As reported by ABC6 Action News, Chesapeake, Virginia, threatened children over the age of twelve found trick-or-treating with fines and even up to six months of jail time.  While jail time may be a somewhat excessive approach to limiting the age of trick-or-treaters, some parents still worry about teen crime and bullying when sending their kid out on the streets at night.  Junior Taylor Heitschmidt thinks that, “We shouldn’t set an age limit for trick-or-treating.  There are worse things kids coulda be doing on Halloween.”  Even if teens are prohibited from trick-or-treating, there would still be nothing to prevent teens from roaming around and causing trouble on Halloween night anyway.

Should teens be allowed to take from the candy bowl?

On the other hand, some parents worry that teens who trick-or-treat are taking away from the younger children.  They argue that Halloween should be about the children who still have an active imagination and youthful innocence.  Teens could always buy their own sweet treats rather than going door-to-door asking for candy.

Another common argument made against teens includes concerns against teens who chose to wear creepy, gory, or inappropriate Halloween costumes.  Some parents work extremely hard to keep a protective bubble around their child for as long as they are able to.  Sketchy Halloween masks and costumes can leave bad impressions on little children, which is why some parents do not approve of the idea of teens trick-or-treating on the streets with their innocent children.  

Whether Halloween should remain an unrestricted night of spookiness or a closely monitored holiday evening, that will probably be up for debate in the coming years especially.  However, for the time being, Halloween still remains the festive night with excessive amounts of sugar for the majority of American towns and cities.