Does trick-or-treating have an age limit?
October 30, 2018
Trick or treat: How old is too old?
Every Halloween where I have opted to stay home (as most Halloweens as of late), I took the critical role of door-answerer. I provided fun-sized, individually wrapped future cavities to those whom such a problem poses the least risk — children whose adult teeth have yet to come in. I’ve watched the endless parade of miniature ghouls, witches, superheros (and invariably a character from a movie the child sporting the costume is way too young to have watched) collect candy and run eagerly to the next door.
Sometimes, though, I’d answer the door and find myself staring at my high-school peers, holding a pillowcase expectantly as I begrudgingly gifted them candy.
It’s always evaded me as to why high schoolers still go trick-or-treating, and why I will invariably come face-to-face with some of my classmates, even though they’re seniors. Many will argue that there’s no limit to Halloween and that anyone at any age should be allowed to go trick-or-treating. And who would I be to put an age limit on having fun?
My issue arises with the fact that many high schoolers that opt to go trick-or-treating simply aren’t children anymore, and see trick-or-treating as a means to an end instead of an enjoyable activity in and of itself. Increasingly, I’m answering the door not to 5’9” figures draped in a bedsheet, but an unabashed gaggle of teenagers in sweatpants and hoodies. While children find joy in dressing up (it’s half the fun after all), many high schoolers see trick-or-treating as a quick and easy way to stock up on free candy.
Candy, however, is a limited resource. Every house only has so much to give kids, and high schoolers who are in it for the candy can just go buy a bulk pack (or buy it the day after, when it’s sold at a discount) to satisfy their sweet tooth. High schoolers who swipe handfuls of candy from bowls deplete the stack for the flocks of children for whom the holiday is really for.
Which begs the question: How old is too old?
There’s no clear answer or concrete cut-off I can provide to satisfy everyone. To me, I feel someone should only be trick-or-treating past middle school if they genuinely care about the spirit of Halloween. To high schoolers, even seniors, who legitimately enjoy the act of trick-or-treating and dressing up, I won’t deny you your fun. Trick-or-treating should end when the person in question no longer believes in the spirit of Halloween. This doesn’t mean that all the seasonal festive fun has to end, though — you still get to enjoy candy canes and presents even after you outgrow Santa. There’s lots of seasonal activities for October, like haunted houses or R-rated movies, that you can now enjoy that you’re older.
So my question to high schoolers who still faithfully don their costumes (or just go door-to-door as they are): what are you really going door to door for? Is your candy crusade genuinely in the spirit of Halloween, or do you just want candy and the opportunity to stay out late with your friends? If your answer is the latter, maybe you should stay home this Halloween.
Tricking the Halloween age limit is a treat
I believe that high schoolers should be able to trick or treat on Halloween because there isn’t a reason for students to grow up so fast or to feel pressured about growing up.
Trick-or-treating is a fun experience when people can go door-to-door asking for candy on Halloween night. However, this tradition is viewed as childish, which pressures some teens to stop.
Many teens, starting in middle school, already feel “too old” for this event, but there’s no reason for this. Sure, many children go trick-or-treating, but that shouldn’t stop a high schooler from doing so. Take Christmas, for example: you don’t stop receiving presents from family and friends as you get older. Halloween is a holiday for all ages — friends and family still gather together to celebrate the spooky festivities each year — so age shouldn’t matter in determining whether or not you should trick or treat.
High schoolers who don’t trick or treat are missing out, especially since they are letting a non-existent age limit control their Halloween fun. There is no explicit age limit for when you should stop trick-or-treating, so you shouldn’t let tell yourself that you’re too old for fun.
Some people will argue and say that there’s no point for people who are able to buy candy to be able to trick or treat. I believe that the fun of trick-or-treating lies in the going door-to-door aspect, not in the free candy. And you can’t use money to buy that experience.
Growing up can be hard because responsibilities just keep building up, but that’s no excuse for allowing ourselves to lose our innocence and sense of fun. If you feel “too old,” that’s an even bigger reason to go out and trick or treat because you shouldn’t grow up too fast. I personally love to trick or treat, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
People should be able to trick or treat on Halloween regardless of their age. There’s no such thing as being “too old.”
Caroline joined the Tribune during her freshman year, unaware that she'd be working on a school newspaper for the next four years. All she knew is that she enjoyed writing and taking photos. As a staff writer,...