Fightin’ Words: How old is too old for trick or treating?

Teenager = Too old

Anna Palmer
Anna Palmer

Trick or treating. Ahh, yes, an activity many of us have fond memories of. Deciding what might carry the most candy (pillow cases were always a   top choice), selecting the prime houses to hit, scavenging together the coolest costume and finally feasting for weeks on the fruits of your labor.     At times it may be hard to let go of these sweet traditions, but trick or treating is one that must die a harsh death.

Let me tell you, there is nothing more annoying than a 15-year-old kid bragging about how they’re never too old to trick or treat, and that they will do it until the day they die, and it’s their right as a human being… blah…blah…blah…

No, please, silence yourself.

If you are old enough to have survived puberty, you should not be out on the streets next to three and four year old children collecting candy from people that are only expecting three-foot tall princesses, superheroes and vampires knocking at their door.

It’s simply pathetic and saddening to see a soul with such potential wasting away on the streets with a plastic bag in hand scavenging for whatever their paws can get.

Let’s be real, approaching the door and shrieking, “Trick or Treat” eye level with the candy distributor and a voice a few octaves lower than most, does not create the same effect.

When you go trick or treating as a teenager, you’re taking away the experience for younger children who see it as an adventure and you’re missing out on the far more exciting adventures for yourself.

Of all things you could spend your night doing, you chose to drag yourself down a dark street in a ridiculous costume that no doubt, makes it increasingly difficult to walk, in the freezing night air all for the sake of a pile of candy?

There are certain communities that restrict children 12 and over to even come trick or treating. People become wary with older the kids show up at the door. Too many times have there been stories of attacks or crimes happening on Halloween night. Save yourself the skeptical, suspicious looks you will receive.

There are so many more adventurous activities you can engage in on Halloween. Just because you’re a teenager doesn’t mean you have to live up to the societal expectation of attending some drunken party.

Why not hide in a garbage can and pop out when the trick or treaters come? Or go skinny dipping in a duck pond? Or climb a water tower? Or camp out in the woods for the night?

Halloween does not need to be limited to trick or treating. It remains an activity for the younger generation.

You must move on from trick or treating. It may be a difficult, painful process with many tears. You may experience denial and pain but the fact is, it must come to an end. If that is an attempt to relive your childhood, you may need to reconsider several things.

It is one thing to remember childhood with fondness and another to actually relive it. Life moves on, we move on and you just have to deal with it. Trick or treating will not make you any younger or any more adorable in your little ghost costume or knight garb.

Allow trick or treating to become a fond memory in your mind. If you are an overaged trick or treater it’s time to let go. There are so many better things waiting for you in life.

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You’re never too old

Grace Amsden
Grace Amsden

“Aren’t you a bit old to be trick or treating?” she asked me with a snippy tone and a puzzled expression. “No,” I responded, becoming uncomfortable. It was freezing outside, but was beginning to feel as if the humid Florida heat was pumping into the air. I didn’t expect to be embarrassed on the spot just because I wasn’t six-years-old.

“Isn’t it for the little kids?” she continued. Her face seemed to be transforming into the blow up witch across the street. She hesitantly moved the candy bowl towards my reach. “It can be for all ages,” I replied in my defense, extending my weak hand as I took a lollipop.

The words played back in my mind. “Too old.” Though I was in high school, I’d seen plenty of older folks trick or treating.

The mindset for being too old for this holiday was created by other people’s standards and couldn’t be further from my own. Trick or treating is an occasion for celebration. People buy a costume, put on makeup, grab a sack to fill up with treats and then walk around neighborhoods in the evening to greet people at their home to  receive free candy. There’s no age limit for this once a year experience. No trip to a local store to buy candy can replicate that experience.

There are certain requirements, however, that late teens and older people should take into consideration if they decide to trick or treat. They must wear a costume. What’s the point if no imaginative effort was put into it? A sweatshirt and jeans shouldn’t be part of the bargain. This person is free loading without getting into the Halloween spirit. Not cool.

I do understand that people might be turned off by older trick or treaters because once in a while there will undoubtedly be troublemakers. Purposely scaring children for enjoyment, stealing candy or being just plain rude to others shouldn’t be tolerated. Sometimes, these troublemakers come to trick or treat past 9 p.m. It seems like the right cut off time. After that, it’s just disrespectful to the residents.

To hear that some places are going as far as banning people from trick or treating once a certain age is reached is outrageous. In Belleville, Ill, it’s a crime. If officers find someone over 12-years-old, they could face a $100 fine. The mayor of Belleville pushed for this because of the concerns voiced of “six foot tall” kids coming to their doors. The size of the trick or treater has nothing to do with their intent.

Trick or treating can be fun for anyone of any age and by all means, everyone should have the right participate. If a 50-year-old man in a Batman costume wants to hold out his bag for a treat, so be it. If he canvases the neighborhood by himself or with friends and family, well done. At heart, we all possess a bit of the child we once were. Keeping the optimistic spirit alive on the holidays is just what this is all about.

On a brighter note, sometimes people who have open hearts will provide treats exclusively for adults. I’ve witnessed through the years tables set up in which held apple cider and hot chocolate for adults. The people told the crowds that it was not just the young who are entitled to a Halloween surprise. Parents who went out with their children on a cold and rainy night deserved some fun and appreciation, too.

If you were wondering what happened after my encounter with the dispirited spirit, I continued down the block. My parents, who were with me, discussed what had happened. My dad took the lollipop and walked back to the woman’s home and told her that I was the kindest child she would ever meet.  He took the lollipop and said, “Oh, by the way, you can have your lollipop back.” He threw it back in the bowl and left one shame faced woman. Happy Halloween to you, too!

 

 

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Fightin’ Words: How old is too old for trick or treating?

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