Are Teenagers Too Old for Trick or Treat?
Until this year, my biggest problems have been surrounded by what everyone wants to be for Halloween and other very important concerns such as: Are we going to be the same thing as last year? How do I make a duck out of cardboard and felt? Do we have to put all the Halloween candy in one bowl for everyone to share?
Every year it’s been the same questions and issues, except now I am suddenly faced with the fact that I have a teenager in my home. That’s right, a full-fledged, double digit, taller than me, TEENAGER. It’s been asked of me if the teenager in question will be trick or treating this year. Since he’s now become a teenager, I guess there is some speculation on whether or not he is too old to dress up, knock on doors and ask for candy. If you ask this mom, you’re never too old to be a kid, so long as you adhere to some basic guidelines.
One hard and fast rule in my house has always been that if you are going to trick or treat, you must dress up. I created this rule a year or so ago when one of the kids had NO CLUE what they wanted to be for Halloween but still wanted to reap the benefits of Trick or Treating. That’s not fair to all of the other kids who dress up year after year and put a lot of thought into their costumes. So I thought it was only fair to say that if you want to have the candy, you must do the work and dress up to be a part of the fun.
I also don’t believe in being rude or disrespectful. Everyone has their own belief about what age is too old to trick or treat on Halloween but I feel like as long as the teens (or any kid for that matter) aren’t shoving in front of the little ones or being vulgar, rude, or disrespecting property, then there’s no harm in handing out a piece of candy to trick or treaters of all ages. Still, those people who won’t give out treats to the trick-or-treating teens are well within their rights to say no, and my teen will move on to the next house without even batting a disrespectful eye.
I guess because we force our teens to grow up so fast in other ways, being able to enjoy the fun of Halloween and trick or treating should be one thing that we as parents can allow them to do for as long as they feel comfortable. At some point peer pressure will take over and they will move on to being more grown up. In a lot of ways this makes me sad for my teen. So rather than take away what little fun of being a kid he has left, I posed the question to my soon-to-be 14 year old and asked him directly if he would trick or treat. I was surprised to hear that he wasn’t sure. Like any good mom, I left him with my blessing that he could if he wanted to, so long as he abided by my rules when we were out.
In many ways, giving him the option lets him make his own decision. He knows that it’s OK with me and that I’m not going to take away this piece of childhood fun from him. The decision is his and the rules are understood.
At the end of the night, whether he trick or treats or not, we will reminisce about what we saw that night, what some of the goofiest and scariest costumes in the neighborhood were and yes… that all the candy is going into one giant bowl for everyone to share.
What's your take? Will you pass out candy to teenage trick or treaters? Will you allow your own teens to trick or treat?