Trick Or Treating: How Old Is Too Old?

Trick or treating is one of America’s favorite Halloween traditions. Yet each year, some kids and parents are faced with a critical decision to make: Is it time to stop trick or treating? How do you know when a child has outgrown this pastime? Sure, we’ve all seen that gang of teenagers trying to fill large sacks or pillow cases with candy, all while knocking cute little princesses and mini-sized Hulks out of their way, but when is it time to say enough is enough? How old is too old to trick or treat? While most Americans feel that it’s up to the parents to decide, some cities have taken measures to restrict the age of trick or treating, reports the NY Daily News. Your first step in deciding if your child is too old for trick or treating is to check with your local municipality and determine if there are applicable laws or guidelines to follow. If there is no age limit enacted, then use your best judgment. Most children stop trick or treating between the ages of 12 and 17, but there is no definitive answer.

Many teenagers continue to trick or treat, but have clearly lost the childlike wonder and excitement of the holiday. There may be no way to stop rebellious teens who act out on Halloween, and it isn’t uncommon for those handing out candy to find a couple of oversized mummies, mermaids and monsters knocking on their door, asking for candy, then bursting into laughter. For the most part, teens grow out of this rebellious stage, as witnessed by the fact that many have never seen adults posing as children trick or treating. However; that seems to be something on the rise. According to a press release by Indiana University, adults trick or treating without children is becoming increasingly common, particularly in college towns. While the number of arrests for trick or treating remains slim, that could change in the future. More cities are enacting curfews as a way to control the hours that people trick or treat. Due to seasonal changes, there isn’t one, uniform time standard nationwide for when peoplego trick or treating, but rather, each area sets their own curfew limits. Those trick or treating beyond the curfew would be subject to a fine. Of course, any vandalism that occurs as a result of trick or treating would be subject to legal penalties and/or prosecution. According to the NY Daily News article, most areas that have a trick or treating age limit have set it to approximately 12-years-old.

Trick or treating is a wonderful time for families and friends to make memories, share in the Halloween spirit, and meet neighbors. As some cities enact trick or treating age limits, it’s important to understand that many cities do not. It is up to parents to ensure that their children have a safe Halloween experience and that includes trick or treating. From understanding the potential dangers, to choosing safe and appropriate costumes, to making certain that candy collected from trick or treating is safe to eat, parents have a great responsibility to ensure their kids have a fun and safe Halloween. Trick or treating is an important aspect of the holiday and parents often bring children under the age of one for the adventure. Make sure to check with your local laws and take the time needed to give your kids a wonderful Halloween experience. And if your thirteen-year-old is in the house, moping because he or she wants to go trick or treating, and there isn’t a city ordinance in place, by all means let them go. We won’t tell.

[Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images]

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