In defense of t(w)een trick-or-treaters

by DaniGirl on October 30, 2014 · 8 comments

in Mothering without a licence

Oh hypocrisy, thy name is mother. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that any righteous judgement I make will promptly or eventually come back to bite me on the ass.

Once upon a year or two ago, I was firmly of the opinion that trick-or-treating was and should remain the domain of young children. The wee-est Harry Potters and Disney Princesses always got an extra treat on my porch, while roving bands of half-costumed teens got whatever my kids had rejected as unsavoury from their own sacks, and maybe a barely concealed scowl as well. Trick or treaters are supposed to be little kids, right?

In which the evil Lord Vader protects the innocent Frog Prince and half-Batmanned Bruce Wayne from the evil Mamarazzi

And then two things happened. First, my elementary school aged son started shaving, sprouted past five and a half feet tall and had his voice drop an octave or two. Second, I read this lovely article in the Huff Post (no, that’s not actually an oxymoron) called What You Need to Know About 6-Foot Trick-or-Treaters. It’s a sweet and insightful article, and you should read the whole thing now, because I’m about to totally spoil it for you by cutting and pasting my favourite bit, the conclusion:

That night I was reminded that parents are not the only ones who regret the passing years. A year earlier, for the first time, my son gave out candy instead of trick-or-treating. It was an OK experience, but not worth repeating. It’s much more fun to go trick-or-treating with a bunch of guys and if the neighbors are grumpy, it’s easier to laugh things off when you’re in a crowd.

So here’s what I can pass on, if you don’t have your own 15-year-old boy.

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go — nor how badly.

Give them big bars. Don’t tell them they’re too old. They already know that.

Let them pretend it just isn’t so.

I think this is both lovely and 100% true. We’ve been having discussions for the last year or two about how old is too old, and even last Halloween I thought maybe twelve years old might be our family threshold. I’m rethinking that now, though. If the boys want to keep trick or treating for a few more years, I’m not going to stop them.

Not least because then I’d have to buy my own candy stash! 😉

What do you think, bloggy peeps? Should there be an upper age limit on trick or treating?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara October 30, 2014 at 6:49 am

I’m okay with any age group showing up at my door as long as they are polite.

I went out Trick-or-Treating until I moved out of my parents house.

The only time that anyone got grief was if they were being rude and misbehaving.

I’m for all age groups. Plus this year, I get my own candy as the baby is only 6 months. 🙂

2 Lynn October 30, 2014 at 7:23 am

Aw, I totally teared up reading that Huff Post excerpt. MY BABIES. Our oldest is 11 1/2 and we’ve started to wonder too how long the trick or treat will continue, but there was no question in his mind he’d be going out this year, and I’m guessing next year is a shoo in, too. I used to feel the same as you – Halloween is for the wee ones! – but now I look at the older kids with fondness. As long as they don’t come ringing my doorbell past 8pm. 🙂

3 smothermother October 30, 2014 at 7:49 am

I was always of the notion that as long as they are dressed up, they will get something from me. But that Huff Post excerpt has changed my mind and made me a little teary-eyed as well. Who am I to spoil some good clean fun for kids of any age. This year I will happily give out to any kid that comes to my door, unbegrudgingly. As long as they are polite and friendly. And not pushing the little ones out of the way to get to the door. And not past 8pm. 🙂

4 Sara October 30, 2014 at 8:52 am

The fact that you even have to debate this right now is blowing my mind. I swear you were just posting cute little photos of the boys in their snuggly critter costumes!

I actually like having the older kids at my door… the majority of them are polite and say trick-or-treat and Happy Halloween in unison! If it weren’t for them, I would be left with too much candy for myself! I say… if they want to, let them.

5 TD October 30, 2014 at 11:53 am

My daughter is in grade 8, and thinks this is probably the last year she will go out, but who knows.

At the door, I figure anyone who has put together some sort of costume, has made an effort, so I give them treats. Maybe I would feel different if I was getting a ton of kids, but I have never gotten over 50 in either neighbourhood I have lived in.

6 Sarah McCormack October 31, 2014 at 9:15 am

love seeing the teens at our door, but in costume! just a mask/hat/ funny glasses…….. SOME-THING!!!!

7 Mary @ Parenthood October 31, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I went trick or treating for the first time in grade nine. Finally quit in university (but I was going with my kid sister who was too shy to go by herself). I’ll give out candy to anyone who shows up, but I think costumes should be mandatory. It takes very little effort to put on a basic costume

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