Opinion: How old is too old for trick-or-treating?

Oct 29 2019, 8:25 am

As children from coast to coast add the finishing touches to their Halloween costumes and parents stock up on candy, the perennial question arises: How old is too old for trick-or-treating on Halloween?

It turns out, people have some very strong opinions on the matter.

Older generations always seem to think kids should call it quits early. But thankfully, times are changing and millennials (those aged 18 to 34) are voicing their concerns and believe it’s more than acceptable for teens to get dressed up and ask for candy well past the age of 12.

In fact, according to a 2017 study by Angus Reid, 40% of millennials say that children shouldn’t hang up their pillowcases and stop trick-or-treating until their at least 15 years or older. Our parents, on the other hand, say that 12 or under is a better target.

In my opinion, what it comes down to is not so much about age as it is about effort.

I continued trick-or-treating until I was 16-years-old, but I always made sure to make an effort with my costume and didn’t go out in pyjamas, an over-sized coat, or anything else lame. I also made it a point to be polite and respectful of the younger kids and if someone questioned my age I never got defensive.

Answering your door to a moody teen with little more than $2 cat ears to suggest they’re in the Halloween spirit while they demand candy is one thing, but seeing a well-mannered 16-year-old rocking an incredible costume is totally different. To me, they’ve made the effort to be a part of the night, they’re contributing to the holiday rather than taking away from it. And isn’t that worth a piece of candy?

Not to mention that trick-or-treating is a safe alternative to the other things that teens get caught up in on Halloween, like substance abuse, tormenting younger kids, underage partying, causing destruction to Halloween decorations, or smashing pumpkins.

Teenagers these days are growing up far too quickly. Rather than taking away one of the few remaining events of their childhood by saying a 15-year-old is too old to trick-or-treat, we should be encouraging them to get dressed up and enjoy their youth as much as possible.

Teens just need to remember to make an effort with their costumes and to be respectful not only to the younger kids but to those handing out the candy.

The trick is all in making the effort — on all sides.