How old is too old for trick-or-treating?.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 10/26/2010 ( 40 moms have responded )

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Have you ever looked out your peephole and felt scared of a trick-or-treater? You're not alone. Mayor Mark Eckhert of Belleville, Ill., says he's heard a ton of complaints from frightened single mothers and senior citizens who are less than happy about the “6-foot-tall kids” that ring their doorbells on Halloween. His solution: To create an ordinance banning high-school teenagers—that is, anyone over the age of 12—from trick-or-treating.

"When I was a kid my father said to me, 'You're too damn big to be going trick-or-treating. You're done,’" Eckhert told ABC News. "When that doesn't happen, then that's reason for the city governments to intervene."

Intervening, in this case, means putting an age limit on trick-or-treaters, and threatening the over-12 set with a $100 fine for those who ignore the law—though, according to ABC, that fine has rarely, if ever, been actually meted out. And while some residents of Belleville have complained about the ordinance, it seems that many more are relieved. Trick-or-treat age limits have also been popular in townships in South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, and Virginia.
However comforting these restrictions may be to some, we can't help but wonder: Are laws the right way to go when we're teaching kids about becoming better adults?

Because, honestly, many of us—myself included— were teenage trick-or-treaters. How it happened for me is probably less important than why (I can try to blame other factors, but the truth is, I just loved free candy). You know when you're aware that you are doing something wrong, but you do it anyway, hoping that you'll pass unnoticed? Well, I quickly learned I couldn't: “You gotta be kidding,” one neighbor said, staring sadly at my baby costume, slamming his door, and providing a necessary behavior adjustment all in one swift move.

While I learned my lesson through good, old-fashioned (and effective) humiliation, Eckhert and others believe that creating laws takes the guesswork away from those unclear about when they are no longer eligible for receiving treats. But not everyone is convinced that excluding teens from the relatively tame activity of trick-or-treating is a great idea. "Trick-or-treating in a large part is embraced in this country because it serves to cut down on teenage vandalism," University of North Dakota history professor and early traditions expert, Hans Broedel, told ABC News. "Certainly telling teenagers they can't go trick-or-treating isn't going to stop them from going out on Halloween and doing whatever."

What do you think? Should overage kids be legally banned from trick-or-treating? And how old is too old for trick-or-treating?

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Jessica - posted on 10/27/2010

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I'm getting so sick of hearing about people who are uptight enough to care how old you should be to trick or treat- it seems like I'm hearing about it a lot these days. I mean REALLY?? Aren't there bigger things to get your panties in a wad about? And to actually pass a friggin law about it... I think that's pretty dumb.

So no, I don't think there needs to be an age limit. Halloween, trick or treating is all about having FUN, no matter how old you are! And it seems like these days people are trying to make too many rules for it- apparently, most places don't even have trick or treating on Halloween anymore, its some other random day. When I was in high school, my friends and I always went out! People gave us candy too, I never once encountered some tightwad who looked down their nose at us. It was innocent enough; I think people need to let it go!

I DO however, think that if you are going to go trick or treating you should dress up. Since that's part of the whole deal ;)

Jodi - posted on 10/27/2010

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What if the child is say...17...but has the mental age of a 6 year old? Someone who thinks, feels, acts and in all other ways besides physically and chronilogically is a child should be allowed...but how to control that situation? I think passing a law is completely BS. I dont' mind teenage trick-or-treaters as long as their costume is really good. I went trick-or-treating as a teenager...but it was really only with my group of friends to our parent's houses and grandparent's houses and people we knew. No costume (and I mean...a costume...not a mask or facepaint with no purpose) no candy.
On a side note...my husband is kind of a math whiz, last year I took my daughter down a few houses to the neighbors we are friends with...when I got back there were two teenagers at the door looking totally confused. (and without costume mind you!) Turns out, my husband gave them a complicated math equation they had to solve in order to earn their candy! This year....he carved a new math equation into his jack-o-lantern!!! Now, that's our rule, no costume...answer math questions! :)

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Jenn - posted on 11/02/2010

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About going out on another day/night - I have a few friends in the states who mentioned that where they live if Halloween is on a Sunday then they go out on the Saturday because Sunday is a holy day. Still seems strange to me. If you're that concerned about it conflicting with your religion then don't participate! And I'm pretty sure everyone around here knows that you only go to the houses with a light on - that's how people let you know if they're handing out candy or not. I highly doubt they see it as "harassing" since they went and bought candy to hand out in preparation, therefore they are a willing participant in the festivities.

Amber-Dawn - posted on 11/02/2010

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When I was seventeen, a teacher of mine gave the class an awesome idea for Halloween. We still want all the fun of going door to door, but honestly, we should stop taking candy from children. It's mean. So she suggested that we go door to door and collect non-perishables for the food drive instead. So each year, I have. I still get to dress up and feel like a kid, while doing something for somebody, so it's awesome.

Desiree - posted on 11/02/2010

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I personlly think its a bit silly almost like telling a person that he/she is to old for Christmas presents. As an adult remebering myself at that very lost age, Where I was no longer a child but I was not yet an adult, it was fun(and still is) to become a child again even if its for one night. I don't think they should be excluded, maybe instead ask them to walk the younger kids on their rounds and give them an extra special treat at the end of the tour of duty. Let them see its ok to dress up and have fun, but to do it in a more responsible way. Their teats just change from being one kind of sore stomachs and smudged mouths to something that can be longer lasting. money to get that DVD they have been trying to save up for. Hey before you knock me its just an idea from an outsiders point of view.

[deleted account]

Emma, we went at dusk so it was still light but getting dark and we ONLY visited the houses that had decorated or had pumpkins displayed because they are showing that they are ok with trick or treaters. Some people put up signs saying no trick or treating but tbh we wouldn't have called on them anyway because they were not decorated in any way.

Pamela - posted on 11/01/2010

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Frankly folks, I'm in it for the candy. I can't wait until Halloween because of all those delicious mound and snicker bars, butterfingers... and so I will insist on sending my boys out for trick or treating until they're around, oh I don't know, 50.

Actually, as long as everyone is respectful and kind, I don't care how old anyone is.

Amie - posted on 11/01/2010

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It's not harassing Emma, no need to get upset.

We have people over here who don't like participating either. They turn off their porch light and/or put up a sign that says "Sorry no candy". No big deal, they're polite about it at least.

Most young children don't go at night either.

Stifler's - posted on 11/01/2010

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what bullshit. younger kids shouldn't even be allowed to go. i live in australia and all this halloween crap is coming in, there's NO WAY my kids are going harassing the neighbours for lollies AT NIGHT. Wtf people.

[deleted account]

I definately think once children are over the age of 13 they shouldn't be trick or treating...personally for me I didn't...it wasn't the cool thing to do, more a childish thing by that age. However, even when I went at age 10 sometimes the people wouldn't give me anything but would give my friends stuff simply because I was tall for my age. I'm now 5 foot 11 and 20.

Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010

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i don't think there should be an age limit. who cares if a teenager is coming to your door asking for candy, that's what the holiday is about really, so WTF is peoples issue with it. keeps di[pshit teenagers from drinking, and vandalizing if they'regetting their loot!! i did it for a long time, i think up until i was 16 ish. i loved it!! i don't see the harm.

[deleted account]

Dana you are so right, I have brought milky ways and twixs for trick or treaters and I keep munching the twixs... I'm blaming the baby I seem to be having odd twix desires lol

[deleted account]

Hey I'm agreeing with you guys these people DON'T get anything from me come back on halloween! It really annoys me when they trick or treat BEFORE the day. It is usually the teenagers/ pre-teens that pull this though there are never any parents with the early ones.

Jessica - posted on 10/29/2010

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I agree Dana...I can't have candy in my house that long either! Maybe if it wasn't candy that I like but then my trick or treaters wouldn't get any kind of good candy! Now I am pregnant and i don't like very many kinds of candy thankfully! Also I wouldn't ever take my kids out before trick or treating before...we do it here the day before halloween...it is called beggers night!

Amie - posted on 10/29/2010

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Toni that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. Their parents actually let them do this?



If my kids couldn't go out on Halloween, oh well too bad, so sad. It's just candy. =/ Sheesh.

[deleted account]

I can't believe people go trick-or-treating before Hallowe'en - that's absurd! What if you don't have candy ready? I buy my candy the day of because I don't want to have it in the house longer than I have to. I may eat it all! LMAO! People are fuckin stupid!

[deleted account]

Jenn, I ONLY said that because I have EVERY year at least 3 sets of trick or treaters well before halloween, when I tell them to come back on halloween because they are too early and it's not halloween THEY say they are doing it early because of...it being a school night...them going on holiday...etc etc so *I* don't think they are genuine reasons BUT they have been said to me many many times. I would LOVE it if people ONLY came trick or treating on halloween but IF they can't do the nearest saturday.

Oh and Dana yah the elderly people often give cash where I live, we used to get at least £15 each from trick or treating although we only wanted the sweets so we used to spend it on sweets and chocolates anyway :-)

Jenn - posted on 10/28/2010

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OK - I did say that I think older ones shouldn't go, but having said that if an older kid came to my door I would still give them candy, but I would think in my mind that they are too old and I wouldn't let my kids go at that age. As for the day thing - I've never heard of anyone around here going on a day other than the 31st because that is Halloween! How would anyone know to be ready for trick-or-treaters on another night just because you don't want them out on a school night?!? That's strange. Most little ones start early and are done early. When we go we will be home by about 8 at the latest and that's only because we have to drive back from town. Added bonus is that they made the Monday after a PD day anyway - so no school ;)

Sharon - posted on 10/28/2010

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I don't think there should be an age limit. And definitely no size limit.

My brother & I were always tall for age and it HURT to have someone say "aren't you a little old to be trick or treating?"

Really? Just how many "teens" decide to go trick or treating versus going to a party or the local haunted house?

My oldest is 15 now. He likes to hang out with his little brother & sister. He LOVES getting into character too. He often takes them door to door while hubby & I wait in the truck.

He doesn't get as much candy at some houses as his smaller & brother sister do, he doesn't care. He knows he can buy all he wants, he's just having fun. He's a big kid too. At 15, he's nearly 6ft tall.

He enjoys the "trick" part of it too. He took a joy buzzer one year and just "tricked" rather than "trick or treat", he has one standard joke at least, to tell for his "trick". But he's odd man out in my crew. The other two don't care a fig for "trick", lol.

[deleted account]

Amie T I was thinking about younger children, ones whose bedtimes are at 7, often do not have time to go on a school night because of after school things and tea and bath etc so IF they cannot go out on the actual night go on the nearest saturday, my point was not weeks before halloween.

[deleted account]

Last year one of the teenagers was an outhouse. I've seen a guy as a hot dog. His best friend was a bottle of mustard. An adult couple I know were Homer and Marge Simpson last year. They didn't 'go' ToTing, but that street is kind of like a 'block party' on Halloween. As I said earlier, I love it. :)

Charlie - posted on 10/27/2010

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Humpf , if we had a non commercial directed Halloween for tradtion i would so be out there in my costume and im 26!

Lindsay - posted on 10/27/2010

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I don't think there should be an age limit either. It's all in good fun. If they are dressing up, they are more than welcome to knock on my door for some candy.

We actually go to one house that gives out candy to the kids and gives a beer to each adult! We never miss that street! ;-P

Amie - posted on 10/27/2010

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"Go on the 31st or the NEAREST saturday if it falls on a school night! "

What? Why shouldn't kids go out on a school night? Most are done here by 7-8. By 8 o'clock it's just the older kids anyway and they are few and far between. Most start around 4 here too.

I think it's stupid you should move the day just because it's a school night. It's never been a problem here or when I was in school.

Jessica Ali, I LOVE your post. I agree completely. =D

[deleted account]

What a misuse of power to create a law to regulate trick or treating. I don't think there is a "too old" for trick or treating. It has to do with the awesomeness of the costume. If they're not little, they better have a great costume or there will be no candy!

Becky - posted on 10/27/2010

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People give cash?? I want to go trick or treating at these people's houses!!
My friend and I went trick or treating our first year of university. We took her brother, who I think was about 12. We got some looks, but no one actually refused to give us candy. But that was the last time I went, until I had kids of course. We didn't get too many teens at our old place. I'm not sure what it'll be like here, I think there are more in the neighborhood. I don't mind, if, like others said, they put some effort into the costume. Or, of course, if they're with younger kids.
Now if adults came to the door without kids, I probably just wouldn't answer the door!

[deleted account]

As long as someone is willing to get dressed up PROPERLY and go knocking on doors, shouting, "TRICK OR TREAT" then I don't have a problem with it.

Pisses me off when teenagers come up to the door with a 5$ mask on and no costume JUST so they can get some candy. Put the effort in people or NO CANDY FOR YOU! *voice from the soup nazi on Seinfeld*

Jenn - posted on 10/27/2010

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I think to me the oldest should be when you are in grade 8 - and even that is pushing it. Most kids by that age didn't want to go out anymore when I was a kid.

[deleted account]

I don't think there needs to be a law but teenagers should not be trick or treating (unless with younger kids). I am a bit mean really, I only give the sweets to children in costume (not just a mask - unless they are really young) because if I am rewarding you then I expect a bit of effort.

I have turned people away for not being dressed up enough, being too old AND for coming too early, that annoys the hell out of me halloween is the 31st October do not go trick or treating on the 25th. Go on the 31st or the NEAREST saturday if it falls on a school night! Oh and it really annoys me when people give cash, that is part of the reason teenagers want to do it!

Jessica - posted on 10/27/2010

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I think I stopped when I was 13 and restarted when I my neice and nefew were 5 and 7 taking them out. Now that I have my daughter I will be taking her and my neice and nefew! I love trick or treating! :)

Amie - posted on 10/27/2010

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The only time I have ever felt intimidated is when I was a teenager myself. I was 17? I think. I answered the door for my mom to hand out candy and there was a drunk guy standing there dressed up as a bunny! I yelled for my mom and she gave him what for and called the cops. haha.

I don't mind teenagers, so long as they put effort into the costume. I've had ones show up in just a mask, I won't hand out candy for that alone. So they have to do something to earn it, a joke is fine or a song, something! LOL! The rest of the small kids spend at minimum a half hour getting ready, teenagers can too.

My sister actually went trick or treating last year, she was 16 then. She dressed up as a Geisha. She looked great but her and her friends felt weird about it so only went out for about 2 blocks. lol

[deleted account]

If you're young enough to dress up... you aren't too old. Some of the craziest, most creative costumes I see on Halloween are from the teenagers from my church (and/or their parents). I LOVE walking my kids down the street and seeing what people have come up w/ that year. :)

Johnny - posted on 10/26/2010

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If you show up with a good costume, I don't care how old you are. You could be 50. Doesn't bother me a bit. Last year I had a couple of 16 year olds with the best Kurt Cobain & Courtnay Love costumes. So creative and they must have been babies when that music was popular. I loved it. I even gave them extra candy.

Now, no matter what age you are, if you show up with a lame costume or I can barely tell that you are actually dressed up (just a fake mustache doesn't cut it!) then I'm likely to give you the stink eye and only 1 piece of candy.

[deleted account]

Trick or treating, door to door is for children. I know that sometimes we refer to our "children" (even the ones who are almost adults) as "children". But hey, I think the writer of the OP's article has a point. I dont' think there needs to be a law or anything written specifically for it. I mean, come on, it's Halloween. Kids are gonna "trick OR treat" that night. I think after around 12 or 13 it should be more about going to Halloween parties, instead of going door to door. Last year, my son's first time out, we walked an entire neighborhood behind a group of teenagers who (a lot of people had just set bowls of candy on the porch on some kind of "honor system") absolutely raided the candy and left my at the time 2 year old hanging with maybe a Sweet Tart or one Tootsie Roll Mini. I eventually said something to the kids. My husband was all worried about a confrontation. I walked ahead of our group, caught up to the older kids and laid it out for them. "Look, my son and his friend are only 2. You're hogging all the candy. Can you please either let us pass ahead of you or could you guys please maybe not take so much?" They let us ahead of them. They came back to us and poured tons of candy into our son's and our friend's daughter's candy pail. We were ok with that. As for a law though? No. There needs to be no more laws, especially about silly shit like Halloween, that can be handled rationally and hopefully, amicably. Kids (even older ones) aren't as dumb or stubborn as we sometimes think they are.

Bonnie - posted on 10/26/2010

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I think there is a line to be drawn yes. I don't feel it is fair if teenagers almost ready to graduate highschool or college kids went to door to door. I think it would be somewhat difficult to track something like this though. Some kids naturally look older than they are or are very tall for your age. So what would happen? Would every trick or treater have to carry id or their birth certificate on them? I think I personally was 15 years old when I stopped. I use to go with my brother who was 12 at the time. Before you know it they are going to start saying that 1 year olds can't go either because they obviously won't be eating the candy and it would be going to the parents and that's not fair.

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