It’s the time of year when witches, goblins and a Princess Elsa (or 20) go door to door collecting treats from their neighbors. It’s fun to see the little ones in their adorable costumes enjoying a few sugary treats, but you always get quite a few older ghouls, goblins and angst-ridden teens (i.e., no costume at all). What do you do when “kids” with full beards come knocking at your door asking for candy? How old is too old for trick-or-treating?
A Difference of Opinion
In previous generations, many people stopped trick-or-treating between the ages of 12 and 13. Trick-or-treating well into high school ages violated the social contract. Halloween was considered a holiday for smaller kids to enjoy. If older children went trick-or-treating, they went as chaperones for younger siblings.
Today you see many older teens trick-or-treating (and sometimes even adults using a newborn baby in a costume to gather treats). People may be afraid to turn them away with no candy for fear of retribution (in the form of eggs and toilet paper on their lawns). Times have changed and parents may not see older teens trick-or-treating as taboo.
Which Generation is Right?
Who’s to say who is right in this argument? It boils down to a very personal decision. Here are some factors to consider:
- What age were you when you stopped trick-or-treating?
- What age are you comfortable with your kids trick-or-treating?
- How mature are your older kids?
- Is trick-or-treating better or worse than other activities your teens could be involved in?
- Could you interest your teens in other more productive ways to spend Halloween?
What Can Older Kids Do Instead of Trick-or-Treating?
If your kids absolutely love Halloween and are clinging to the tradition of trick-or-treating, there are other new traditions you can start (or they can participate in with their friends) to keep the holiday spirit alive. Here are a few ways your older kids can still have fun on Halloween night — without getting into trouble.
- Visit a local haunted house or trail. Older kids can handle scarier attractions, so this is the time to truly enjoy a good adrenaline rush. Take your older kids with you or let them go with a group of friends (depending on how old and mature they are). Teens will enjoy some independence and a good Halloween scare.
- Decorate together and hand out candy. Go all out with your Halloween decorations and let your older kids and teens participate. Plan out a little haunted trail in your yard for trick-or-treaters to explore. Let your older kid be a part of the fun by handing out candy (and make sure you give them some treats to enjoy so they don’t miss out on the sugar rush).
- Host a Halloween party. Allow your older child or teen to host a bash at your house or attend a (parent-supervised) party at a friend’s house. As kids get older, parties are more fun than trick-or-treating anyway. Allow them to have age-appropriate fun, get dressed up and enjoy the holiday.
- Chaperone smaller children. Older teens get a real treat when they get cash from babysitting jobs. If you have older children, offer them the opportunity to take younger siblings out so they can still enjoy the excitement of Halloween while making some extra spending money. If you don’t have younger children, encourage your teens to solicit babysitting work from the neighbors. Many adults would love to have the evening to relax and hand out candy at home. A teen babysitter will give parents a break and they may even throw in a few pieces of candy as payment to sweeten the deal.
At Sparkles! we offer age appropriate activities for all of our children. If you would like to know more about we handle Halloween, contact your child’s teacher or a staff member. We are here to support you and your child.